Swollen Members rapper Madchild says drug addiction nearly killed him

A Vancouver rapper said an addiction to painkillers cost him millions of dollars and nearly killed him.

Vancouver native says he was addicted to painkillers for four years

Swollen Members rapper Madchild says an addiction to painkillers nearly cost him his life. (Vivian Luk/CBC News)

In the wake of several suspected fentanyl-related deaths in Metro Vancouver, Swollen Members rapper Madchild is sharing his story of addiction and recovery, in the hopes it will prevent others from taking lethal drugs. 

The rapper, who is originally from Vancouver, told CBC News he lost more than $3 million and nearly died because of his addiction to painkillers. The addiction began during a show in Kelowna in 2006, he said.  

Madchild said his addiction to Percocet, a combination of acetaminophen and Oxycodone, started off "innocent."

"When you mix it with beer, it's a very euphoric feeling and I thought I had found the answer — something that was harmless but made me feel incredible," he said. 

But he went from taking painkillers a few times a week to as many as 20-80 a day, eventually costing him more than $3 million dollars over the course of four years. 

"No happy ending to trying painkillers"

"It seemed harmless and beats any other type of feeling at first," he said. "But there's no happy ending to trying painkillers."

"I not only lost everything, I got into debt. Without my family's help I wouldn't be here today."

He said the recent spate of overdoses linked to Fentanyl, which police say is often mixed with recreational street drugs because it's cheap and accessible, makes him angry. 

"It's tragic....there's no way to tell if it's real or not. The things that were called drugs back in the day are no longer that drug," he said.

"Putting that pill in your mouth is like gambling — like taking poison  it's going to kill you." 

Sober for four years 

Madchild, who now lives in West Hollywood, said he has been sober for four years now and feels 'grateful.' 

"I had to walk away from 99% of the people I was hanging out with to save my own life," he said. 

"Everyday is a gift." 

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