Pill Head
Joshua Lyon
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Buy *Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict* by Joshua Lyon online

Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict
Joshua Lyon
Hyperion
Paperback
288 pages
July 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The author, a professional journalist who has written for Interview, Conde Nast Traveler, V Life and Jane, found himself in the throes of a full-blown addiction to pain pills. He writes about an early acquaintance with drugs by the age of 13 when he had already tried ot, cocaine, whippets, Ecstasy, acid and mushrooms. There was a love affair with LSD while attending college and then in the summer of 2003, while writing for Jane magazine, his life tumbled down the drain. He wrote:

"I began receiving massive amounts of email spam offering up Valium, Xanax, and Vicodin with 'No prescription needed!' I kept hitting delete until the words actually sunk into my brain. It couldn't be that easy. My own physician wouldn't even prescribe a sleeping pill for a flight I had to take in the weeks immediately after 9/11. So, strictly in the name of journalistic curiosity, I convinced my editor to let me try to buy these pills online. I wanted to see if it was just a scam or if it really was that simple to get controlled substances without a doctor's prescription. Everyone in the office - particularly the fashion and art departments - loved the idea and seemed unusually eager to hear the results."
The results were that Lyon scored Xanax and Valium by simply filling out a form and emailing it in. Vicodin were slightly harder to score, but not much. After receiving the pills, he was simply going to flush them down the toilet. A co-worker asked him to promise that's what he'd do with them. Of course he didn't, and after taking three Vicodin, he was hooked.

The book trails along as Lyon falls deeper into addiction and depression. He alienates his friends, family and co-workers. Ultimately, he checks himself into rehab and ostensibly gets clean. This final chapter in the book is a bit confusing; it's difficult to tell whether he is totally clean or just cleaner. And he spends just a few pages talking about his own detoxing, which seems just a big disingenuous.

But it's an engaging book, scary in its realism and sad for the story it tells.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2011

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