10/10/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh announced to his radio listeners Friday that he is addicted to painkillers and will enter rehab to "once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me."
The statement comes just a week after Limbaugh resigned from ESPN over racially sensitive comments -- and was then linked in a Florida drug-trafficking probe for the prescription drug OxyContin and other painkillers.
"You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life," Limbaugh said on his syndicated show. "So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.
"Immediately following this broadcast, I am checking myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days," he added.
Limbaugh, 52, says he first started taking painkillers after his doctor prescribed them following spinal surgery. But he continued to experience "severe pain," and continued taking the painkillers. Limbaugh admits he previously tried to break the addiction -- and twice checked into rehab.
The trouble for Limbaugh started Oct. 1, when he quit his job as an ESPN football analyst after saying on the network's "Sunday NFL Countdown" that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."
Soon after, the National Enquirer published an interview with Wilma Cline, who worked as Limbaugh's maid and said she supplied him with thousands of pills -- including hydrocodone, Lorcet and OxyContin. Law enforcement sources confirmed that Limbaugh was being investigated by the Palm Beach County, Fla., state attorney's office.
Limbaugh -- who initially said he was unaware of the probe -- said Friday he could not fully comment on the investigation until it's complete. But he did add, "the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions."