‘Clueless’ actress Stacey Dash reveals secret painkiller addiction: ‘I was taking 18-20 pills a day’

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Stacey Dash has revealed her "deepest, darkest secret": a decade-long addiction to opioids.

The Clueless actress turned conservative pundit commentator appeared on Thursday's Dr. Oz Show, where she revealed her private struggle. She is now five-years sober.

“I was taking 18-20 pills a day,” Dash, now 54, admitted.

Host Dr. Mehmet Oz clarified “18-20 Vicodin a day," referring to the drug which is a combination of an opioid pain reliever (hydrocodone) and a non-opioid pain reliever (acetaminophen) used to treat severe pain. He then added, "That's expensive." 

The woman who played Dionne Davenport in the iconic movie replied, “Yeah, I lost everything.”

Dash detailed extensive childhood trauma, including exposure to drugs and domestic violence, according to E! News

Dash said her parents were both addicts, her dad to heroin. She was molested at age 4. She first tried drugs at 8. At 16, her mother gave her cocaine.

All of her trauma caught up with her and, at 17, she attempted suicide. One of her earliest relationships, in her young 20s, was abusive. She said her partner "beat me so bad I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks." He once broke her arm.

Dash then got sober and stayed that way for 20 years, including for the making of 1995's Clueless. (Her character was in high school, but she was 28 when she played the role.)

In her 40s, she was prescribed Vicodin to help with pain from fibroid cysts — and became addicted. 

"I'm not blaming doctors at all because it was my choice to take more," she said. "It was my choice to take that extra one even though I wasn't in pain."

She said, "The Vicodin filled that hole inside of me. It filled that anger. It calmed that anger down. It slowed my brain down. It gave me the ease so that I could deal with life. That's how I became addicted. It's no one's fault but my own."

She estimates she spent $5,000 to $10,000 a month on drugs. Eventually, they made her very sick, she said, adding, "[my] kidneys were so infected that my blood was septic, and my organs were shutting down." She was hospitalized for three weeks, receiving a full blood transfusion.

"That's what stopped me. I almost died," she said.

After being released from the hospital, she called her sister and told her she needed help. Eight hours later, an intervention specialist arrived at her home and she was flown to Utah for rehab. However, it took time for the extent of her addiction to soak in.

"It wasn't until the last 10 days that I said, 'Oh, snap. I'm an addict,'" she said.

Today, she still struggles, sometimes waking up and saying, "'I want to do something bad." However, she works through it and leans on her faith.

"I just celebrated five years of sobriety," she said. "I'm clean, five years. And in this five years, my blessing — the greatest blessing is that not only have I been able to be honest with myself and become a better person."

Over the last few years, Dash has been known for sharing her headline-making political views as a Fox News pundit. She also attempted to run for congress in California, as a Republican, before dropping out. Then, in a surprise move earlier this year, she denounced Donald Trump and distanced herself from Fox News. She said she was changed by the Capitol riots.

"I've lived my life being angry, which is what I was on Fox News," she said. 

In 2019, Dash was arrested for domestic violence amid a dispute with her husband. The charges were dropped, and the couple separated in 2020.

Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Contact Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727). Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

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