Q&A panellist and rapper 360 released a confessional freestyle called "Sorry" to his 876,072 Facebook fans earlier this week, detailing his addiction to Nurofen Plus. It was heavy stuff, set to The xx's instrumental song "Intro".
In the days since, reactions from fans have ranged from celebratory (Fronted up like a man and owned your problems cunt!) to dubious (Try giving up methadone or morph, or even H, codeine is nothing compared to it). For the record, 360 explained his addiction didn't start with over-the-counter medicine, but with "a cocktail of prescription medication" mainly Endone, which is an oxycodone-based painkiller. Allegedly he was prescribed Endone after being injured in a go-carting accident, only to become addicted. He later switched to Nurofen when he was on tour and couldn't get enough Endone.
As a true man of people, 360 got onto the video's Facebook comments to offer personalised addiction advice. "For anyone who is going through addiction and don't know what to do about it. If you have family or really close friends, tell them what's going on, tell them exactly how bad you are, you need their support."
In a genuinely impressive move, 360 also followed the track up with directions to crucial support services. "If you're having thoughts of suicide, call lifeline 13 11 14 they are amazing."
Still, "Sorry" has left us with a few lingering questions. Namely, who gets addicted to Nurofen, and what does it do to your body? As in the past we turned to our mate Dr. Freddy Vista for help.
"Dependence tends to develop quite insidiously, over months of gradually escalating regular doses," he explained, defending 360's addiction as nothing unusual. "As with all opioid drugs, most people would form some level of dependence if they took this type of medication regularly for extended periods."
Each tablet of Nurofen Plus contains 12.8 mg of codeine phosphate, along with 200 mg of ibuprofen. As you know it's the codeine that's the trouble maker. Most western countries have restricted the sale of all drugs which contain codeine, leaving Australia as one of the last countries who will still dole it out over the counter. In 2015 the Therapeutic Goods Administration recommended that all codeine-based drugs should be made prescription only, but those changes––if accepted at all––won't come into effect until 2017.
Even with Nurofen available over the counter, scoring "90 pills daily" as 360 claimed would be a real challenge. Pharmacies regulate sales by grabbing photo ID, and limiting––at their own discretion––the number of pills they'll sell at a time. If 360 was eating upwards of two packets a day, he'd be doing some major pharmacy hopping. Interestingly 360 did note that "some pharmacies would let me buy six packets at a time."
So what did all that Nurofen do to his body? Dr. Freddy was really clear on this one: large doses of painkillers mess with your insides. "When codeine-dependent people take regular truckloads of Nurofen Plus they pretty reliably run into physical issues due to the high doses of ibuprofen, which can cause complications like renal failure, stomach ulcers, and anaemia, all due to gastrointestinal bleeding."
Yet despite the side effects codeine addictions are common, as made clear by the sheer number of people leaving empathising comments on 360's video. "Sorry" isn't a musical masterpiece but it's effectively created a message board for people to share stories of addiction. Any space where addicts aren't dehumanised is pretty beautiful, if only for its rarity.
But let's not get carried away. Given this all comes from a guy who implored girls who keep male mates in the friend zone to "just slip him a fucking cheeky little wristy," it's probably best to limit praise. He's bringing an important issue to light and offering savvy advice to people who might otherwise not listen, but 360 is still pretty far from a mentor.