It’s been in the news: Recovered drug addict Robert Downey Jr.’s son is in a rehab facility to treat the same drug abuse that his father struggled with for over a decade.
Age 20, Downey Jr.’s son, Indio, has always kept out of trouble, especially as far as celebrity children go, so it comes as no surprise that Indio and his father’s friends and fans are worried that this could be the start of a dangerous trend.
Prescription pill abuse and addiction
The public’s concern over the start of prescription pill abuse isn’t unfounded. An addiction to these medications is a serious and growing problem, both in the U.S. and in other developed nations. Consider this:
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16,500 Americans died from prescription painkiller overdose in 2011 — that’s triple the number of deaths in 1990.
- An estimated 100 Americans die from prescription pill overdose every day.
- More than 12 million Americans admit to abusing prescription painkillers, and about 5 million Americans suffer from chronic abuse.
- About 1.5 million American teens abuse prescription drugs.
- Since 2009, prescription pill overdose has accounted for more accidental deaths in the U.S. than auto crashes every year.
With high rates of addiction and overdose when abused, high street value and ease to acquire, it’s no wonder that these drugs have health officials sounding the alarm. In addition, withdrawal from these substances, especially the opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and hydrocodone, is a difficult process, causing muscle spasms, overall pain and severe flu-like symptoms. Like addiction to any other substance, an addiction to prescription drugs is a lifelong disease. Fortunately, however, addiction can be fully managed, especially if enough support is provided.
Robert Downey Jr.’s addiction story
Of course, Robert Downey Jr. is no stranger to celebrity prescription drug abuse. The actor spent the greater part of eight years battling with his drug addiction to prescription pills in addition to cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and alcohol. After what many would call a turbulent life early on, Robert Downey Jr.’s story is ultimately one of triumph.
As is the case with many drug addicts, Downey Jr. was introduced to drugs at an early age — in his case, the very young age of 6. Involved in the movie industry from childhood, it didn’t take long for the drug culture to permeate his life. The actor admits to being addicted to drugs by the time he was 8 years old.
“I would never tell you the worst things that have happened to me.”
Once a big name in acting during the 1980s, it didn’t take long for Downey Jr.’s drug abuse problem to reduce him to near bankruptcy and “scrubbing pizza pans in the kitchen of the L.A. County Jail,” according to the Daily Mail. Trapped in a destructive cycle of drug binges and jail time, Downey Jr. continued to struggle with his substance addiction for several years. It wasn’t until 2003, shortly after serving a 12-month jail sentence that Robert Downey Jr.’s life began to turn around. That was the year that he met his current wife, Susan Levin, whom he credits with giving him the support he needed to finally kick his drug habit.
Today, the actor is enjoying tremendous success as one of the film industry’s highest-paid male actors, as well as a proud husband and father to both Indio and his new son, Exton, born in February 2012.
A brighter future for Indio?
After witnessing his father lead such a rocky road in life due to drugs, it’s really no wonder Indio is taking such early action to overcome his prescription abuse. The young man checked himself into drug treatment after getting into the habit of taking prescription pills daily. While his family insists that his habit is not yet an addiction, Indio is nevertheless spending time in a holistic, natural facility using homeopathic therapies to help him overcome withdrawals.
Like his father, Indio has been enjoying a successful career early on. Currently, he plays in a rock band, called “The Seems,” that has been playing in a number of famous venues in L.A. and which has just signed a deal with Warner Bros. Indio continues to enjoy support from his family, including his father, with whom he shares “as good as a father and son relationship as I’ve ever seen,” according to a family friend.
Addiction to narcotic prescription medications is a lifelong disease, but Indio’s decision to act early will not only help him avoid the same early lifestyle as his father, but will also ensure that the young musician has the chance for a bright and successful career.