Sunday, September 11, 2005

Justice Rehnquist's Drug Problem

Too bad more prescription drug abusers don't receive the leniency and support William Rehnquist did when he was addicted to painkillers.
And for the nine years between 1972 and the end of 1981, William Rehnquist consumed great quantities of the potent sedative-hypnotic Placidyl. So great was Rehnquist's Placidyl habit, dependency, or addiction—depending on how you regard long-term drug use—that by the last quarter of 1981 he began slurring his speech in public, became tongue-tied while pronouncing long words, and sometimes had trouble finishing his thoughts.

According to a Jan. 4, 1982, New York Times account, Rehnquist sought help with the drug in December 1981 because it no longer relieved his pain. He entered George Washington University Hospital on Dec. 27. According to the physician spokesman for the hospital he suffered "disturbances in mental clarity, characterized by distorted perceptions," as doctors weaned him off the drug.
As a wise person recently said to me, "We should all be Republicans; then we could get away with anything." For instance, when a Republican has a drug problem, it's merely chalked up to him being an over-achiever (or having engaged in past "youthful indiscretions"):
....When Rehnquist's drug problem became an issue during the 1986 confirmation hearings, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, defended Rehnquist in a Post story, saying he got into trouble with Placidyl because he was "a very compliant patient" who "followed the advice" of his doctors.