Brett Favre describes his battle with painkiller addiction

AP

A week from today, Brett Favre will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But while we’ll be hearing a lot about his career highlights in the coming days, Favre spoke recently about his lowest moment as a football player.

Favre told Graham Bensinger that the prescription painkiller addiction he beat 20 years ago nearly took control of his life.

“I took 15 Vicodin at one time,” Favre said. “Two gave me an effect I liked. After a month, two didn’t do anything, so I’d take three . . . and then four and so on. . . . I knew that 15 was hard to come by. A month’s prescription is 30 pills or something, depending on what they prescribe for you, and I was going through that in two days. I would ask this guy for pills and that guy for pills, after a while I was going back around pretty quickly.”

Favre makes no excuses for his behavior at that time.

“I knew what I was doing — I knew that I didn’t necessarily need it but I sure liked the way it felt, and I knew it was wrong,” Favre said.

Eventually, Favre made the decision that he had to stop.

“I’d hit rock bottom and I said, I’m going to flush these down the toilet. I remember when I poured them in the toilet and it started to flush, I almost crawled into the toilet to go after them because I thought, ‘What in the world did you do?’ I was so dependent on them,” he said.

Favre says that he actually should have worked with a doctor to wean himself off the painkillers, and he probably harmed himself by how suddenly he stopped.

“I just went cold turkey,” he said. “That was the worst month. I shook every night, cold sweats, it was a constant battle.”

Favre believes his love of football is what pulled him through.

“The one constant through all that was football, and for me, it was a good place to escape,” he said. “It gave me a way to escape but also feel like I was actually doing something good.”

49 responses to “Brett Favre describes his battle with painkiller addiction

  1. I recently was prescribed Vicodin for kidney stones. I took one every six hours and a total of three. Two days later I was wanting more and didn’t need it. One week later I was still tempted like a strange recreational hunger pang.

    That stuff is chronically habit forming. It had to affect his performance.

  2. “you still will get kicked out of the league for smoking a plant.”
    ———————————–
    And, along with kicked out of the league, you could spend ten years in prison for possession of said plant. Expressing no opinion of the legality of said plant, for the NFL to tolerate an action which carries that legal penalty would be totally assinine. Suppose they were to allow ALL lawbreakers to play with no repurcussions? What would be the media response?

    The NFL will continue, as they must, to prohibit pot until such time as the Federal Govt lists it as a prohibited and illegal substance.

  3. NFL has strict policy against weed, refuses to acknowledge the medicinal benefits of marijuana, even non-psychoactive CBD strains that produce no “high”….Instead, they pass out painkillers like candy on Halloween. Get your ass off your shoulders, NFL…

  4. onermedboxer says:
    Jul 30, 2016 9:10 AM
    Hof-er addicted to pain meds and you still will get kicked out of the league for smoking a plant
    __________________________

    The terms of the CBA require complete confidentiality when it comes to the substance involved. So naturally it’s always leaked out by the player or his representatives that it was pot because no one cares about pot. If you really believe it’s always pot Bernie Madoff has a wonderful investment opportunity for you

  5. This new generation of men and their slavish devotion to pot. The grow up playing games on the Internet and looking at pictures of girls. They don’t know how to fight or romance. Turn into hipsters and liberals and vote for democrats and moderate Internet forums because they are special snowflakes

  6. He cheated. Pills are ok to get a competitive advantage but if you smoke a doobie, LMAO. The leagues integrity is unreal. Manning can have his wife get steroids so he can take him and there is the smallest investigation in the history of man. THE LEAGUE NEEDED FAVRE TO HAVE THOSE PAIN KILLERS. There would have been no Favre if not. At least not for half as long.

  7. Honest of Favre to admit he kept on gobbling the pills because he “enjoyed the feeling.”

  8. onermedboxer says:

    Hof-er addicted to pain meds and you still will get kicked out of the league for smoking a plant.
    =================================

    It’s not the drugs fault a HOFer got himself addicted. That’s like blaming a gun for someone shooting a person.

    Name some players who have been “kicked out of the league” for smoking a “plant”…………

  9. stevejjones says:
    Jul 30, 2016 10:00 AM

    This new generation of men and their slavish devotion to pot. The grow up playing games on the Internet and looking at pictures of girls. They don’t know how to fight or romance. Turn into hipsters and liberals and vote for democrats and moderate Internet forums because they are special snowflakes
    ——————————————————
    Amen. Then they preach tolerance while being intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.

  10. stevejjones says:
    Jul 30, 2016 10:00 AM

    This new generation of men and their slavish devotion to pot. The grow up playing games on the Internet and looking at pictures of girls. They don’t know how to fight or romance. Turn into hipsters and liberals and vote for democrats and moderate Internet forums because they are special snowflakes
    ___________________

    I was with you until you mentioned politics. If Captain Insano ever gains access to the nuclear codes you’ll need drugs to be able to sleep at night.

  11. CBD.

    That’s the actual painkilling compound in marijuana. It is not psychoactive, ie it does not get you high, and it is non-addictive.

    Yet the league is holding on with a death grip to its draconian policy that forces players to consume large amounts of highly addictive opiates.

    Goodell and his cronies are vile. They care zero about player safety unless its something the owners could be sued for. They must go !

  12. “This new generation of men and their slavish devotion to pot. The grow up playing games on the Internet and looking at pictures of girls. They don’t know how to fight or romance. Turn into hipsters and liberals and vote for democrats and moderate Internet forums because they are special snowflakes”

    The ignorance and stereotyping in that comment is stunning.

    If you think a lot of the conservatives you know don’t smoke you are wearing blinders.

    And tell me, how often do you consume alcohol? Because one could apply your logic and say if you drink all kinds of negative stereotypes could be applied.

  13. senatorblutarsky says:
    Jul 30, 2016 10:23 AM
    I was with you until you mentioned politics. If Captain Insano ever gains access to the nuclear codes you’ll need drugs to be able to sleep at night.
    ==================

    As opposed to how well we will all rest with Billary selling them to the Chinese? Our choice here is not going to be between a rock and a hard place so much as between the devil we know and the one we do not. To say most of us in the middle have a visceral fear of both of them is a mild understatement.

  14. The level of disgust I have for the judgmental comments here is without limitation. This is a man being honest about a disease. And a man who, against all odds, beat the disease. He should be commended. And the people who don’t quite have his strength should be helped. Who in hell do you people think you are?!

  15. I love how we need the guy to comment on whether he is contrite or aware that what he did was wrong. This is not a right and wrong issue. Let’s be pragmatic about this. Someone introduced him to the substance and it worked for him. It was a comprehensive life solution beyond pain. It posed problems for him because of the tolerance but he didn’t hurt anyone so — so what? People hurt each other all the time and we don’t ask them to log or admit all their wrongdoings.

    I’m happy for him that we was able to work his way back to independence but I have no problem with the fact that for as long as he could acquire it, he used it for the energy, optimism, and relief he needed -‘ for whatever reason he needed it. The rest of you ate just sanctimonious.

  16. Just because marijuana is illegal does not mean the NFL has to monitor the players for its use (the current CBA does, but the next one won’t). Should the NFL monitor all their lifestyle choices and put driving monitors in their cars? How far does that go? You have to let adults make choices that won’t give them a competitive advantage, or hurt me or mine. Live and let live.

  17. stevejjones says:
    Jul 30, 2016 10:00 AM
    This new generation of men and their slavish devotion to pot. The grow up playing games on the Internet and looking at pictures of girls. They don’t know how to fight or romance. Turn into hipsters and liberals and vote for democrats and moderate Internet forums because they are special snowflakes
    ////////////////////////////////////////

    I can fight and I can love and I would take Hillary over Trump 1,000 times if I could. Only a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal is unable or unwilling to understand why.

  18. Have you ever taken Vicodin? If not shut up! It does not make you play better football – absolutely ridiculous comments on here. I’ve taken them for serious back injury after car accident and they are extremely addicting. I even said luckily I don’t have any left after my 2 bottles – 60 pills were up.

  19. The NFL is too scared to mess with the Pharmaceutical companies. Here, have some more. Nobody distributing CBD has enough clout to make it legal. It comes down to finances. Like everything else “behind the scenes”. Everyone gets their cut. Dont be “Sheeple”

  20. “That was the worst month. I shook every night, cold sweats, it was a constant battle.”
    ——————————-
    This is a pretty accurate description of every rookie’s fist month in Green Bay. Some just wait it out and slowly acclimate to the boredom and others get over it by turning to comfort food. You can easily spot which is which.

  21. Regardless of what you think of socialist ideals, Bernie Sanders was dead right about “Big Pharma” and how they need to be shut down. My girlfriend is currently tapering off of a benzodiazepine she was prescribed her entire adult life and took only as prescribed. Some science-y stuff happens in your brain, and after a while, the anxiety it’s supposed to curb actually amplifies, plus caused crippling bouts of depression that she never had any signs of before the medication. Doctors are either uneducated about these effects, too proud or stubborn to acknowledge that they may have been wrong to prescribe these medicines, and many psychiatrists are actually receiving BONUSES in the amounts of tens, and even HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars from these companies for prescribing their products. Look into it, I’m not making this up.

    Anyway, the point is that now that she’s identified the problem, she can’t just quit them cold turkey, as much as she wants to, because she could suffer fatal seizures at worst, and at best, she could cause permanent harm to her brain and central nervous system. I’m a laid back guy, I don’t care about much of anything, so this is serious business to arouse this kind of passion from me. The taper is brutal on her. She would immediately throw up anything she ate or drank, even water. When she keeps food down, her stomach distends like she’s in a late-term pregnancy. She’s constantly in pain or suffering from crazy sensations and parasthesia that often prevents her from sleeping well, if at all. She got approved for medical marijuana and it has been a GAME-CHANGER. She started with high-CBD strains but has now found a specialist who makes her extracts of CBD and CBN, another non-psychoactive cannabinoid that helps with sleep. She can’t help the sensations that plague her while her brain and central nervous system heal themselves, but the CBD and CBN are the only reason she can eat, drink, and sleep. If you have an issue with that, you’re just not a decent human being.

    The NFL needs to wake up, and dare I even suggest that maybe Big Pharma has its hooks in them too. I don’t know, but I DO know that at very least they are very misguided in their approach to player care. I can’t for the life of me understand how you can see something like CBD that helps people and just scoff like “oh, they just want to get stoned.” They don’t get stoned, and even if they did, if it helps them, isn’t that better than ADDICTIVE, non-natural “remedies” like these painkillers? Meanwhile, these same people drink beer or wine or booze without a hint of irony, a substance with ZERO medicinal benefit and is to the contrary HARMFUL. But they pay for commercials during games, so I guess it’s all good, right?

  22. Come back to the NFL Brett!
    Still better than half the QB’s in the league.
    It’s sure has become boring without you!
    The NFL has become a snooze fest.

  23. Really MarkPacman? You’re saying Favre playing 300 straight games had nothing to do with taking massive amounts of pain pills??

    If he misses a few games, maybe they don’t make the playoffs and don’t make it to the two Super Bowls. Nice try. If Brady is a cheater, Favre is a cheater.

    *Super Bowl. Cheater

  24. onermedboxer says:
    Jul 30, 2016 9:10 AM
    Hof-er addicted to pain meds and you still will get kicked out of the league for smoking a plant.

    Favre didn’t wait to get caught – he came forward voluntarily and entered the treatment track of the league’s substance abuse policy.

    Learn the facts before you start drooling embarrassment on yourself.

  25. Having battled the same addiction I respect him for coming forward and admitting it and going thru that battle. What people failbto realize is that pain killer withdrawal is the same as heroin. It’s the same drug (opiates) just in pill form. The worst is that Dr’s will prescribe them for any reason and insurance companies will cover it. Then once your hooked and want to get clean only a certain amount of Drs can help you get the Meds you want at $250 a visit and then you have to pay another

  26. dolfinsneedsuh14 says:
    Jul 30, 2016 12:37 PM
    *tainted. Got a competitive advantage. Cheater
    No Super Bowls without a * for the Packers.

    —————————–

    Packers didn’t win a Superbowl until AFTER Favre came clean with the league and went to rehab. Sorry to burst your bubble. Right now only Brady(several), Manning(PEDs), and Brees(Bountygate) are the Superbowl winning cheaters that deserve an *

  27. This is the kind of story where I don’t read a single comment on the thread but just say I appreciate the brutal honesty and despite the retirement circus, I’ve always loved Brett Favre as a fan of the NFL.

  28. It’s a difficult drug to shake. Itonically, the health risks of painkillers is negligible. The only real risk is overdose, but if taken as prescribed, or if you learn your limitations with cautious titration, oxycodone for example has less risk to your health than acetaminophen and ibuorofen, both of which can seriously damage the liver, stomach, and kidneys if used chronically. And the painkillers unlike alcohol or street drugs do not impair judgement, consciousness, or reflexes. In fact a case can be made that these are actually enhanced. So the real problem is withdrawl, which feels like a 3 or 4 say flu with tachycardia and an intense feeling of sorrow and dread and that your life will never be whole or good again. But even that passes.

  29. And, along with kicked out of the league, you could spend ten years in prison for possession of said plant. Expressing no opinion of the legality of said plant, for the NFL to tolerate an action which carries that legal penalty would be totally assinine. Suppose they were to allow ALL lawbreakers to play with no repurcussions? What would be the media response?

    The NFL will continue, as they must, to prohibit pot until such time as the Federal Govt lists it as a prohibited and illegal substance.

    ————————

    Except there is no law saying you have to drug test your employees. Obviously the NFL wants and needs to test for PEDs but they don’t have to extend those same policies to marijuana. The UFC, for an example, won’t suspend you for recreational drugs, unless the fighter is shown to have been under the influence during a fight. (Or really close to it, I believe.) “Out of competition tests” only trigger consequences for PEDs.

    Also, expensive drug tests like the ones the NFL administers show levels. It would be just as easy for them to see if a guy had a 15 pill a day addiction or a joint once a week.

  30. I’d be happy to hand the nuclear codes over to a property developer with holdings in NY, Miami, Chicago, and LA. Pretty sure such a person won’t be out to start wars to prove she’s a man like that pantsuit wearing thighs rubbing together enabler.

  31. “Favre believes his love of football is what pulled him through.”

    I’ve learned to doubt every statement that begins with “Favre says,” Favre thinks,” or “Favre believes.”

    But in this case, I’m relieved. For a minute there I thought that it might be his self-respect or his love of his family that “pulled him through.” Thank God it was something really substantial and meaningful: his love of football!

  32. OK, opiates and their derivatives aren’t “performance enhancing” granted. Brett Favre owns the longest starting streak. I guarantee there’s a reason team doctors pass them out like candy.

  33. gofor2with3pointlead says:
    Jul 30, 2016 4:10 PM
    OK, opiates and their derivatives aren’t “performance enhancing” granted. Brett Favre owns the longest starting streak. I guarantee there’s a reason team doctors pass them out like candy.

    ———————————

    And that goes for every player, not just Favre. So it was an even playing field. Everybody was taking the like candy, Favre just went overboard and was one of the few to openly admit it. But I guarantee you pain killer abuse is more wide spread in the NFL than you think, especially in the early 90s.

  34. In addition gofor2with, Favre stopped taking pain meds early in his career when his starting streak was still below 50 games. Meaning he played 250 games without any pain meds whatsoever and kept the streak alive. That is utterly amazing. Thanks for pointing out how great Favre’s streak really is.

  35. stevejjones says:
    Jul 30, 2016 3:20 PM
    I’d be happy to hand the nuclear codes over to a property developer with holdings in NY, Miami, Chicago, and LA. Pretty sure such a person won’t be out to start wars to prove she’s a man like that pantsuit wearing thighs rubbing together enabler.
    //////////////////////////////////

    You likely are not aware his developments are primarily funded by very shady Russian oligarchs with close ties to Putin because American banks won’t touch him with a ten-foot pole.

    You don’t know this because you don’t want to know. Pick up a paper a few times in the weeks ahead. You might learn something.

  36. Very brave of Brett to say this now. Many people have addiction problems and could use a little assistance. We should let Kali help us. She could stop anything. Very compassionate.

  37. Every 18 minutes in America, someone OD’s on prescription pain meds. Prescription Pain Meds also largely contribute to 75% of all Heroin addiction in America. Legalize weed.

  38. Now the doctors are overreacting to the problem. I broke three ribs about four months ago. The doctor said it would take 6-8 weeks to recover, but I was only given 20 5mg Vicodin pills with no refills. I was already on blood thinners and the doctor knew it. I had to resort to taking a lot of aspirin and ibuprofen to stop the pain. You’re not supposed to take hardly any of those with blood thinners, but now the doctors are so scared of overprescribing pain killers that they are leaving us with a dangerous choice to make on pain relief.

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