Dan Johnson, Former Miami Dolphins Tight End, Admits He Took 1,000 Pain Pills a Month

For his ability to play through unbelievable amounts of pain, tight end Dan Johnson, who played seven years with the Dolphins in the '80s, was nicknamed "The King of Pain." He dealt with broken bones, knee injuries, and multiple back issues. Turns out, he was actually dealing with a serious addiction to pain pills, something a lot of South Floridians can relate to. Johnson tells ESPN he was "taking about 1,000 Vicodins a month."

Johnson was part of a recent study of former NFL players that found that not only has pain-pill abuse been rampant in the league for years but that many players leave the league with some hard-core addictions.

Johnson told ESPN that he contemplates suicide and that when he tells people about the number of pills he took, they don't believe him: "People go, 'That's impossible. That's crazy.' No, it's exactly what I was taking. I mean, believe me, I'd love to be off medications. That's my worry every day, to make sure I have medication."

For the study, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine surveyed 644 former NFL players who retired between the late 1970s and 2006. More than half -- 52 percent -- admitted to using pain pills during their playing days, with 71 percent of that group saying they misused the drugs during that time.

And the gift that keeps on giving? Fifteen percent of those who misused drugs during their playing days admit to still misusing the drugs to this day.

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Kirsten Clear
Kirsten Clear

Just a little info:  He never used painkillers during his career, it was his career ending back injury that brought about the addiction.  "The King of Pain" played drug free during his playing days.  


The real message is: We are failing on Drug War in our backyards and and NOT being accountable as Citizens and Physicians and as an Medical Organization to address this issue. "Oxycodone overdose was the cause of 1,185 state deaths in 2009, a 26 percent increase from the year before and a whopping 249 percent increase from 2005. Many many many more overdoses are caused by generic versions of Oxycontin, as well as other pills like Xanax, Vicodin, and others." From StPetersburg Times, July 2, 2010. "The CDC further reports that drug overdose deaths were second only to motor vehicle crash deaths among leading causes of unintentional injury death in 2007 in the US. “Among deaths attributed to drugs, the most common drug categories are cocaine, heroin and a type of prescription drug called opioid painkillers,” states the CDC.""Addiction to prescription painkillers — which kill thousands of Americans a year — has become a largely unrecognized epidemic, experts say. In fact, prescription drugs cause most of the more than 26,000 fatal overdoses each year, says Leonard Paulozzi of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." This message more focused on towards our elected officials to take some action and also general public and Physicians to put more pressure on them.

Write to Your Congressperson at U.S. House of Representatives web site: https://writerep.house.gov/wri... U.S. Senate http://www.senate.gov/general/... Find Your Legislator <http: <first="" and="" e-mail="" fallowing="" find="" florida="" for="" format="" http:="" legislators:="" name="" representatives="" search="" senators="" state="" them:="" to="" u.s.="" use="" www.flsenate.gov="" your="">.<last name="">@myfloridahouse.gov Click on FIND YOUR REPRESANTATIVE: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/... Florida Governor Rick Scott: http://www.flgov.com/contact-g...</last></http:>


Why is that funny? It doesn't seem funnier than a man who WORKS FOR THE CLINICS criticizing a reporter who thinks they should have more *effective* legislation.

And you didn't some of my questions, Mr. Sloan.

Is there a bigger pain clinic lobby in Florida than yours?

Do any of the clinics that advertise in New Times contribute to your lobby and/or your paycheck?

And who do you think made more money from pain clinics last year, the entire staff of New Times or you?

Please answer directly this time.


"Passei" Is this the Paul Sloan that heads a pain clinic lobby? The biggest one in Florida, right? And you're telling an altweekly writer you hope he sleeps well? Those clinics advertising in New Times, none of them contribute to your lobby and your paycheck?

Also, I read this site a lot and it seems to me Mooney isn't a big fan of these clinics. You on the other hand...


I would bet he found his Dr's/ clinic in New Times which reaps a finacial windfall from its beyond absurd pain clinic advertising. Mr. Mooney's paycheck comes from that windfall.

Sleep well Mr. Mooney!


Is There? Yes actually several, do some research for a change instead of relying on Mr. Mooney’s made up statements......gee Mr. Mooney love to see your source of that statement but we know you made it up....hey but it fit your story. Actually we are the smallest but not for long (we are growing rapidly) as we stand up to the zealots and witch hunt metality and we support good laws and regulations.

I have never received a single dollar of pay (they do pay part of my cell phone bill each month) from the Society since its inception two years ago, we are a IRS 501c(6) organization. I would imagine that some do advertise in the paper but don't know for sure.

I would believe that the entire staff of New Times made more that I did....most likely without a doubt.

When a newspaper realizes their is a problem and yet continues to accept page after page of advertising that goes above beyond the absurd so as to massively profit then they are part of the problem NOT part of the solution. Mr. Mooney does not deal in facts he runs a witch hunt and he profits from it as does his paper. Their complicity is undeniable

Now don't you fill small.


That "biggest" claim was one that was MADE UP by Mr. Mooney (he and Laforgia seem to have knack for winging it when facts don't work for their stories) as we are a small not for profit society. We have lobbied to bar felons from pain clinics and were successful at that as it is now law. We are currently lobbing to remove the cash loophole from any medical field so this problem does not happen somewhere else. We are great supporters of the Board of Medicines new “standards of care in pain management clinics” and participated in every workshop and hearing over the past 18 months…..funny how Mr. Mooney was never at one PUBLIC workshop. We are supporters of Sen. Dave Aronberg as the special counsel on pain clinics for the AG. And finally our exec director was the former pain clinic chief prosecutor for the dept of health.

Funny how Mr. Mooney takes on the pain clinic issue in a paper that makes windfall profits from its complicity in the issue.

Read for yourself as we put it in writing:




Name them. Then name the clinics that contribute to your organization. Why don't you ask them to stop advertising in New Times if the paper is so unethical? Do you ever get tired of talking out of both sides of your mouth?

Most importantly, have you ever had a relative overdose from pills that came from these clinics, Mr. Sloan? Because I have and I get the feeling people like Mooney are doing more to stop that from happening again than you. I appreciate you responding, now please prove me wrong.


Hey Joe,

here's an e-mail from city of Stuart who I worked with to put in place a tough pain clinic ordinance. There's more where that came from.....what is that Mooney has done?

Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:54 AMTo: Commissioners; O'Neil, Terry; Dekle, Murriah; Gandhi-Savdas, Pinal; Parker, Adrienne; Kilbride, Robert; Lyons, AliceCc: Paul SloanSubject: RE: Pain Clinics: New Rules Approved

Dear All:

For the past few days I have been working with Paul Sloan, Executive Director, Florida Society of Pain Management Providers, Inc., regarding our proposed “pain management clinic” ordinance. Paul has been clear, direct, thorough and very helpful with his timely assistance. It was Paul who first alerted us (indirectly) that last Saturday, the Florida Board of Medicine adopted new rules for pain clinics affecting MDs. Paul helped write these new rules. The rules aren’t final yet (they have a notice and challenge period under Chap 120, F.S.), but they are expected to become final within 90 days. There is a meeting of the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine this coming Friday to consider similar provisions. Meanwhile, the City’s zoning moratorium will expire on September 22 (eight days before the new state law on pain clinics takes effect). Based upon the timing, we need to adopt a suitable ordinance, even if it needs to be tweaked later. Paul Sloan has reviewed several iterations of the ordinance, and we have settled on the attached version, for now. I just want to acknowledge his invaluable assistance, and thank him for his quick help. Paul

Paul J. Nicoletti, City AttorneyFlorida Bar Board Certified in City, County & Local Government LawCity of Stuart121 SW Flagler AvenueStuart, FL 34994-2139


Sorry for your loss but so far all I have done is prove you wrong. If you would open your eyes you would see I have accomplished more to solve this problem in the past two years then any newspaper reported who sits behind their desk and prints nonsense or Monday morning quarterbacks.

I am responsible for every pain clinic moratorium enacted on the west coast of FL and have lobbied for the key items in legislation that will and already have made a difference.

You should be disgusted with Mooneys newspaper...I am.

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