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Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:37 am

Going back to the original question, for many years we were lead to believe that Elvis was introduced to “narcotics” while in the Army. In Jonnita Brewer Barrett’s recent book 'Once Upon A Time: Elvis And Anita' there is a somewhat startling reference to pills as early as 1957 in the back of the car. I just finished reading also 'The Rebel And The King' by Allyson Adams where it is mentioned that Nick Adam’s brother who was a doctor making mention of how impressed he was with Elvis’ knowledge of pills, and their effects. Gene Smith’s ‘Elvis’ Man Friday’ also makes reference to pills – both the latter publications making reference to 1956. So, how, why and from whom? Could ‘speed’ / ‘slimming pills’ or ‘sleeping pills’ have came from Gladys?

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:33 am

Julian Grant wrote:Going back to the original question, for many years we were lead to believe that Elvis was introduced to “narcotics” while in the Army. In Jonnita Brewer Barrett’s recent book 'Once Upon A Time: Elvis And Anita' there is a somewhat startling reference to pills as early as 1957 in the back of the car. I just finished reading also 'The Rebel And The King' by Allyson Adams where it is mentioned that Nick Adam’s brother who was a doctor making mention of how impressed he was with Elvis’ knowledge of pills, and their effects. Gene Smith’s ‘Elvis’ Man Friday’ also makes reference to pills – both the latter publications making reference to 1956. So, how, why and from whom? Could ‘speed’ / ‘slimming pills’ or ‘sleeping pills’ have came from Gladys?


If one is to assume sources, why not Dewey Phillips, or some of the musicians who lived in town?

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:12 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:If one is to assume sources, why not Dewey Phillips, or some of the musicians who lived in town?


Yes, sure and a fair point.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:15 pm

Anita does make a point later in the book that Elvis was not a heavy pill user around her implying that she didn't think it was a serious problem at the time.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:25 pm

As we all know for people who are not coping in their lives drugs can be a convenient get out of gaol card. We often forget that artists while often seeming to be on top of the world are often crippled inside with shyness and self-doubt. Pete Townshend recently said in an interview with Mojo:

It might surprise people to hear this, but the only guy I know that doesn't have any self-doubt is Sting. And we all find him difficult because of that. There are people I know pretty well - Mick, Paul Simon, David Bowie, Ray Davies - that would have no difficulty agreeing with me when I said there were times when I felt out of step and very lost. They felt it, too. They might not admit that in public, but I can.

I think it's an interesting insight and relevant to what may have been happening with Presley and a reason for the drug intake. Just because everyone says you are the King, doesn't necessarily mean that you believe it to be true, you might be still that kid in high school suffering daily indignities or whatever it was before you became the 'star'.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:29 am

She was with him 5 years from 1957 to summer 1962 so if she said so, maybe saw Elvis took pills in the 60's.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:54 am

EPA4368 wrote:We talked about missed opportunities by Parker but how about missed opportunities by us Elvis fans? One fan called in and had an idea, "Lets' all go to Graceland showing our support to fire the Colonel!" Only a few fans called in showing support for his idea. Little did we know, that idea could have saved Elvis' life!

Why should that have saved Elvis' life? His personal problems were deeper than that.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:48 am

Mike Eder wrote:Anita does make a point later in the book that Elvis was not a heavy pill user around her implying that she didn't think it was a serious problem at the time.


The pill mentions in Once Upon A Time: Elvis And Anita by Jonnita Brewer Barrett actually say a lot, by saying very little.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:19 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Mike Eder wrote:Anita does make a point later in the book that Elvis was not a heavy pill user around her implying that she didn't think it was a serious problem at the time.


The pill mentions in Once Upon A Time: Elvis And Anita by Jonnita Brewer Barrett actually say a lot, by saying very little.

What do you make of her 1957 memories of them in the grand scheme of things regarding Elvis eventual demise?

My thoughts is that it seemed a bit sad he already thought of them as a cure all, but it seemed to be at an experimental stage in 1957. In Careless Love I recall she said his personality was slightly different by their break up and that the pills were a part of that.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:05 pm

Xaykev wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:We talked about missed opportunities by Parker but how about missed opportunities by us Elvis fans? One fan called in and had an idea, "Lets' all go to Graceland showing our support to fire the Colonel!" Only a few fans called in showing support for his idea. Little did we know, that idea could have saved Elvis' life!

Why should that have saved Elvis' life? His personal problems were deeper than that.


I agree with fn2drive... Elvis didn't like what he was doing...

fn2drive wrote: Had he been passionate about following his own instincts, the self loathing and all that it brought could have been avoided. Said differently, he should have kicked Parker to the curb and taken the risks. After all it was always him alone out there upfront.


also agree with and Jokerlola... Elvis lacked confidence...

Jokerlola wrote: But it was a big risk (in his eyes) to potentially have to go back to being poor. Now we know that would have never happened but he didn't. He simply didn't have the confidence to take that kind of risk plus it's been rumored that Parker filled him with all kinds of stories that kept him scared and tied to him plus the fact that Parker always under paid himself so that Elvis always owed him a lot of money. Elvis knew he could sing but beyond that, he was lost.


Sometimes an event can cause change for the good and/or bad. Fans going to Graceland showing their support to fire the Colonel could have been what Elvis needed.

When Elvis passed away fans expressing shock and sorrow jammed phone lines for weeks. Believe me, plenty of blame went around for everyone especially towards front-runner Parker and then Vernon. But many fans were also sharing the blame as well, asking... "What could have we done different?"

You're right, going to Graceland showing our support to fire the Colonel might not have done any good, but it might have made the difference in the life and career of Elvis if we tried.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:38 am

monkboughtlunch wrote:
After being in great voice for TTWII in Aug 70, we see Presley make a bizarre impulsive trip to visit President Nixon in December to receive an special badge for his collection... Does this evidence suggest Presley really started unravelling in late 1970 (within months following the triumph of TTWII)? Is this when the narcotics (downers) abuse began? Or did it start later?


Anybody who steps out of the house and expects and then see's the president of the United States for a special agent at large badge has clearly been under the influence of some strong medication! If it wasn't for Nixon's vanity Elvis would have been denied access and we probably wouldn't have heard about this incident!

There is talk about Elvis having taking pot on occasion and LCD, however it seems Elvis waited until 1970 onward to start on the big stuff, it didn't take long for it to become obvious either. 1972 Elvis could look shocking one day and OK the next. During 'On Tour' there are some terrible pictures of Elvis where he looks washed out and puffy but when you compare the MSG Images two months later he looks amazing!

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:02 pm

I came across the 20/20 special on Youtube the other night, and took the time to transcribe the list of medications prescribed by Dr. Nick between January 20, 1977 and August 16, 1977.

320 Biphetamine
1263 Dexedrine
308 Dilaudid
50 cc Dilaudid (approx)
694 Amytal
12 vials Amytal
1530 Quaalude
746 Percodan
200 Placidyl
20 Demerol
3 vials Demerol (approx)

Keep in mind, this only represents what Dr. Nick prescribed during the period in question. We know that Elvis visited Palm Springs on several occasions, and went to Las Vegas at least once. He saw several random doctors and dentists while on the road (claiming sore throat, toothaches, etc.) He saw Dr. Hofman the night before he died.

We're talking 209 days. It really is staggering. Dr. Nick, in his defense, claimed that the prescriptions were for the entire touring company. Yet, the dates of the prescriptions, in many cases, don't match up with the touring schedule (1/20, 1/27, 1/31, 3/25, 5/4, 5/14). Interestingly, there was very little prescribed in June, only 100 Quaalude and 300mg Cocaine Hydrochloride (a topical anesthetic).

Dr. Nick wrote a large number of prescriptions on August 15, which fits with the touring argument. But, he also prescribed on 5 dates in July.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:18 am

Elvis knew he was a powerful man. He didn't need to be on drugs to expect that if he called, President Nixon would receive him. He was right. And people rarely said no to him. Again Nixon is the same as everyone, taken by his charisma. I never saw Elvis getting his way as having anything to do with Nixon's vanity as much as Elvis using his charm and charisma to get what he wants, even from the President.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:32 am

That wasn't about Elvis being high with Nixon, it was about getting a badge for his collection. I have made my feelings known on this thread, so I won't repeat myself. I've never been shocked on how Elvis looked in On Tour. Not his best but word's away from his worse. During June-September Elvis looked great in 1972. Again look at what was going on in 1977 in the last post, that's where things are shocking. Elvis used something or another most of his adult life, but he never failed to meet his obligations all the way through 1972. That says a hell of a lot That he was heading in a bad place isn't in dispute, but the major life threatening problems came after Aloha and shouldn't be transposed to a early date. Also can anybody say Elvis didn't have a solid show in the early seventies that most performers couldn't aspire too? A few oldies were rushed OK, but his overall level of engagment was fine and the results through 1972 are often staggering.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:55 am

:D well said Mike totally agree. 8)

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:38 pm

Matt Ashton wrote:Anybody who steps out of the house and expects and then see's the president of the United States for a special agent at large badge has clearly been under the influence of some strong medication! If it wasn't for Nixon's vanity Elvis would have been denied access and we probably wouldn't have heard about this incident!



stevelecher wrote:Elvis knew he was a powerful man. He didn't need to be on drugs to expect that if he called, President Nixon would receive him. He was right. And people rarely said no to him. Again Nixon is the same as everyone, taken by his charisma. I never saw Elvis getting his way as having anything to do with Nixon's vanity as much as Elvis using his charm and charisma to get what he wants, even from the President.


Nixon didn't see Elvis because he was a fan or because of Elvis' charm, Elvis showed up at the White House having written a rambling letter on an airplane which Elvis presented at the White House gates! Nixon probably felt similar to those shocked at the 50's Elvis. Nixon thought Elvis could help him get in touch with the hippies that were causing him problems. If he thought Elvis could help only shows how out of touch with Elvis' audience he was in 1970.

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:34 pm

Even if the whole antourage of Elvis used those pills, it's still heavy. But unfortunately Elvis used an important percent of it. So Dr. Nick has not any excuse for it (his book is almost patethic to justify the huge quantities of prescription drugs)

Re: What year did Presley start abusing narcotics?

Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:14 am

Matt: Elvis got in to see Nixon because he was Elvis. I doubt he had any thoughts Elvis would help him with "hippies." Elvis would have gotten in no matter what the letter said. After he was in, the Elvis charm took over.