Lisa Marie Presley Writes About Painkiller Addiction, Opioid Crisis

By Bryan Le 06/10/19

The daughter of music legend Elvis Presley opened up about her struggles with opioids.

Lisa Marie Presley at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX in Hollywood, USA on May 7, 2015.
Presley wants to help eliminate the stigma surrounding addiction and its treatment. Starstock |

Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, wrote about going public with her struggles with painkiller abuse in a foreword for the new book, The United States of Opioids: A Prescription for Liberating a Nation in Pain by Harry Nelson.

In the foreword, Presley tells the story of the first time she spoke publicly about her experiences with addiction.

Last August, Presley was on Today to promote Where No One Stands Alone, a gospel compilation album featuring archival recordings of Elvis’ vocals with new instrumentals and mixing. When the interview took a turn towards the topic of addiction, Presley did not shy away.

“I'm not perfect. My father wasn't perfect, no one's perfect. It's what you do with it after you learn and then you try to help others with it,” said Presley, referring to her father’s famous substance abuse problems.

On the show, she also revealed what life was like prior to finding recovery.

“I was not happy,” she said. “And by the way, the struggle and addiction for me started when I was 45 years old. It wasn’t like it was happening all my life. I have a therapist and she was like, ‘You’re a miracle. I don’t know how you’re still alive.’”

Presley chose to open up in hopes of helping others, she revealed in her foreword.

“I had never openly spoken in public about my own addiction to opioids and painkillers,” she revealed. “I wasn't sure that I was ready to share on such a personal topic.”

Her own problems with painkillers began in 2008 when she was prescribed opioids while recovering from having her twin daughters, Vivienne and Finley. Her substance abuse problems began earlier than that, and she credits Scientology for getting her clean after a big, final bender.

“I was on a 72-hour bender,” she said. “Cocaine, sedatives, pot and drinking—all at the same time. I never got my hands on heroin, but it’s not like I wouldn’t have taken it. I just couldn’t be sober. I don’t know how I lived through it.”

She eventually found recovery and hopes that stigma will be abolished.

"It is time for us to say goodbye to shame about addiction… Across America and the world, people are dying in mind-boggling numbers because of opioid and other drug overdoses,” wrote Presley in the foreword. “Many more people are suffering silently, addicted to opioids and other substances. I am writing this in the hope that I can play a small part in focusing attention on this terrible crisis.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter