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Rush Limbaugh’s Relapse Nightmare

RUSH LIMBAUGH should be afraid, be very afraid — of relapsing!

The powerful allure of the heroin-like narcotic, Oxycontin, is so strong, he could easily fall back into the nightmarish world of drug abuse unless he is on guard 24/7, experts warn.

“The addictive pull of Oxycontin is so intensely powerful that getting and staying off of it can be a terrible struggle,” Dr. James Cocores, a top addiction specialist in Boca Raton, Fla., told The ENQUIRER.

“Daily life presents so many problems and temptations for the recovering addict that they can quickly lead to relapse if he is not on guard.

“For the first month or two out of treatment he must be almost paranoid about relapsing —” or it will happen.

“Even after a full year, a true addict is by no means out of the woods. Relapse can always occur.”

Rush, who was addicted for years and bought over 30,000 pills just between 2001 and 2002, admits that he tried detox twice before, but failed. Now, after five weeks in rehab, he’s been successful, but Dr. Cocores, who is not treating Limbaugh, says the worst thing that an addict can do is become complacent and think he’s got the drug licked.

“The biggest enemy is the feeling that everything is under control. That’s when a drug like Oxycontin can sneak up and smack you in the head,” he said. “It is one of the most difficult drugs to get off and stay off that I know of. In some ways it is actually harder to escape Oxycontin addiction than heroin.”

A former addict says beating Oxycontin was like being trapped in a real-life horror movie.

“When you stop you will be thrust into hell. Cold sweats . . . especially when trying to sleep. Feels like you have a 103-degree fever, and you can’t tell if you are hot or cold. Your skin is clammy and sweaty with goose bumps.

“Then there’s the depression —” mentally, the facade of happy and positive feelings are cut out from under you and you can only imagine how depressed you get.”

Dr. Robert Forman, a specialist in addiction at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says Oxycontin is one of the most difficult addictions to beat because it is one of the easiest to get hooked on. Unlike heroin, it isn’t injected.

“In many ways it is far easier to become addicted — it is a pleasant, harmless looking little pill,” said Dr. Forman, who is not treating the radio host. “But it is powerful and addiction to it is a lifelong illness.”

About 35 percent of the people who go into treatment for Oxycontin addiction, finish up using it again and cannot stay clean, say the experts.

“Everyday frustrations and irritations lead to thoughts of taking a little break, a little vacation,” explained Dr. Cocores. “If the addict is not on his guard, he is liable to take that little vacation  —” and then another and another until finally he never gets back.

“The actual experience of relapse itself is often like a horrible surreal nightmare for the addict  —” worse than they could possibly have imagined.

“This relapse experience can become so demoralizing and depressing that the addict just stops trying to escape.”