Flea Shares His Struggle With Opioids In An Open Letter

The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist details his opiate addiction in an open letter for 'TIME.'
Queens, US

Flea shared details of his experience with opiate addiction in an open letter for TIME. As part of their series, "The Opioid Diaries," the Red Chili Peppers bassist recounts drugs as a constant in his life. Flea was completely candid about his experience, saying that drugs had always been around him and that he'd started using at a young age. "I started smoking weed when I was eleven, and then proceeded to snort, shoot, pop, smoke, drop, and dragon chase my way through my teens and twenties," Flea wrote in TIME.


Flea explains fatherhood was the only thing that put his addiction in check.

I saw three of my dearest friends die from drugs before they turned 26, and had some close calls myself. It was a powerful yearning to be a good father that eventually inspired a sense of self-preservation, and in 1993 at the age of 30 I finally got that drugs were destructive and robbing my life force. I cut them out forever.

He also acknowledged that the source of his drugs was not dealers on the street. Recalling a struggle he had with OxyContin after breaking his arm in a snowboarding accident, the bassist writes, "When I was a kid, my doctor would give me a butterscotch candy after a checkup. Now, they're handing out scripts."

He left a few words about how the pharmaceutical industry should monitor the abuse. "It's also equally obvious that part of any opioid prescription should include a follow-up, monitoring, and a clear solution and path of rehabilitation if anyone becomes addicted." Read the op-ed in full here.

Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.