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How Opioids Were Widely Misunderstood By The Surfing Community

One of the most troubling aspects of the opioid crisis is the general lack of understanding surrounding the issue. This is most exemplified in our perception of the biggest culprit: Opioids themselves. From the surface, Oxycontin (or Oxycodone) seems like just another prescription drug, and that misperception has only amplified the crisis. Unfortunately, for so long, we’ve assumed that since they’re so easily obtainable from the doctor or the pharmacy, they can’t be too bad for us. Otherwise, why would doctors be prescribing them left and right?

RELATED: See Andy Irons: Kissed By God on Tour Worldwide

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, an opioid addiction specialist, explains how that’s not the case. In fact, there’s no distinction between these prescription painkillers and the narcotic heroin. Put plainly, they’re heroin pills. A study was done at Columbia University where heroin users were allowed to self-administer both in a blind taste test. The results found that the users didn’t perceive a difference between the two.

On top of his struggle with bipolar disorder, Andy Irons was also ensnared by a severe addiction to opioids. His friends had realized that his drug habits had changed him, but were unaware of how dangerous the situation really was. Most notable was the fact that Irons had stopped freesurfing in between competitions and at some points even struggled to keep composure when he participated in events. “Yeah. One in the morning, one at lunch, maybe, one at night,” explained Joel Parkinson, who witnessed Irons’ habits firsthand. “And I remember just going, ‘Man, those things are just deadly.’ And then, I guess, I didn't realize how far they'd spread. They were in pretty deep in Hawaii, so a lot of the boys...they were poisonous, those things,” said Parkinson, looking back out how the crisis plagued the surfing community.


If you suspect you or someone you know may be suffering from a bipolar disorder, please, contact the SAMHSA national helpline.

From The Series: Andy Irons: Raw Outtakes

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Video: Kite Surfer Rides Hurricane Florence
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Video: Kite Surfer Rides Hurricane Florence

Video: Kite Surfer Rides Hurricane Florence

Unless you’ve been living under a rock on the West Coast, you’ve seen that the Eastern Seaboard has been getting pummeled by Hurricane Florence (now Tropical Depression Florence). The record-breaking rain and winds led to a death toll of at least 18, and has left much of the area without power and under water. Of course, some locals felt the need to brave the elements in their own way, like this kite surfer in Nags Head, North Carolina. 

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Prepared to Have Your Mind Blown with John John Florence’s Edit
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Prepared to Have Your Mind Blown with John John Florence’s Edit

Prepared to Have Your Mind Blown with John John Florence’s Edit

John John Florence sure knows how to create a stir—even while he’s recovering from a knee injury. Since we’ve missed his presence on the tour, his latest edit will help fill the void until he’s back. The edit, both cinematic and breathtaking, showcases Florence’s incredible prowess on a board—I’m still replaying his aerials. We can’t wait to see you back at it John John.

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Producer Eric Christian Olsen on Heroes & Andy Irons: Kissed By God
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Producer Eric Christian Olsen on Heroes & Andy Irons: Kissed By God

Producer Eric Christian Olsen on Heroes & Andy Irons: Kissed By God

Andy Irons was a lifelong hero to Eric Christian Olsen, the Hollywood actor and executive producer of the film . In this clip from the world premiere, he reminds us why it's important to understand the full story of the lives of those we look up to. Many of Andy’s fans, and even many of his close friends and family, were not fully aware of his struggle with bipolar disorder and opioid addiction. Find Tickets to Andy Irons: Kissed by God Now On Tour Worldwide is a film about bipolar