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High-profile and hooked

Nicole Richie

Richie was arrested in 2006 for driving under the influence of the painkiller Vicodin. She claimed the medication was for menstrual cramps and after her arrest said: "I kept making bad decisions or mistake after mistake after mistake."

Jack Osbourne

Osbourne was treated for addiction to the opioid OxyContin in 2003 while his sister Kelly was treated for a similar dependency a year later. Father Ozzy said at the time: "It's a family illness. It's in the genes."

Jamie Lee Curtis

Star of True Lies and A Fish Called Wanda, Curtis fought a five-year battle with painkillers that threatened to destroy her career and marriage. She beat her addiction in 1998.

Rush Limbaugh

US political commentatorLimbaugh's addiction was exposed in 2003 by the National Enquirer and he admitted all on his radio show: "I need to tell you... that part of what you have heard and read is correct: I am addicted to prescription pain medication."

Courtney Love

Courtney Love has never confirmed an addiction to painkillers but the former lead singer of Hole and former wife of the late Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain was charged in 2003 for possession of painkillers OxyContin and the semi-synthetic opioid hydrocodone.

Michael Jackson

Jackson's addiction to painkillers caused the cancellation of his worldwide tour in 1993. He claimed the stress of persistent charges of child-molestation fuelled his addiction: "I was humiliated, embarrassed, hurt and suffering great pain in my heart," he said in a 1993 statement.

Anna Nicole Smith

The inquest into the death of glamour model Anna Nicole Smith in 2007 ruled out an overdose, but she had a history of painkiller addiction which, she claimed, began when her 89-year-old millionaire husband, J Howard Marshall II fell ill and died.


The King's death in 1977 raised questions after it emerged he'd been receiving a concoction of prescription medicines from his doctor. Investigations found Presley took more than 19,000 doses of medication in the last two-and-a-half years of his life.


The rapper liked to mix his painkillers with ecstasy and rum, according to one "friend". But Eminem has cleaned up. "Hailie's [his daughter] birth was a wake-up call. She made me get in gear," he said in 2003.

Cindy McCain

McCain, wife of Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain, claimed that emotional stress caused her addiction to painkillers Percocet and Vicodin in the late 1980s; she even stole medicines from a charitable foundation she had created: "I was an addict. That's why," she told CNN when asked about the theft.