Cindy McCain and Me

Cindy McCain and Me

Like many postoperative patients, I received oxycodone (Percocet®) after surgery and I am taking hydrocodone (Vicodin®) while I recover at home.

Pain interferes with sleep and chores that aid recovery, but I’m aware of the habit-forming potential of these pain-fighting drugs, thanks in part to media coverage of celebrity drug addicts like Cindy McCain.

Cindy Helmsley McCain had operations on ruptured spinal discs in 1988 and 1989 and was recovering from these when the “Keating Five” controversy became public. Phoenix financier Charles Keating took over Lincoln Savings and Loan and used the S&L’s federally insured deposits for risky investments, including deals involving Mrs. McCain and her father. Mrs. McCain’s husband Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and four other lawmakers met with federal banking regulators to pressure them into postponing action against Lincoln S&L. The meeting became public and the scandal ended several political careers (though not Senator McCain’s).

Mrs. McCain says in her attempt to relieve the emotional ordeal of this scandal and her persistent physical pain she became addicted to Percocet® and Vicodin® in 1989, taking as many as 15 to 20 pills a day. Friends and acquaintances described her behavior as “erratic.” She took advantage of her position with a medical charity to obtain drugs and was not discovered until 1992. A friend at the charity informed her parents, who intervened, sending her for residential and outpatient therapy at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona (Elle McPherson, Ron Wood, Drew Barrymore, Whitney Houston, Kate Moss, and Michael Douglas are said to be clients). The employee who discovered the drug issue, described as “a friend,” was fired; he sued for wrongful termination and is said to have received a substantial out-of-court settlement.

There are some inconsistencies in accounts of Mrs. McCain’s rehabilitation regarding dates of residential rehab visits and the legal maneuvers that kept her criminal record clear. The legal conditions that would preclude Mrs. McCain’s felony drug charges are not in the public record. Someone else can look into that; I’m a convalescent.

I’m being very careful, following doctor’s orders about Vicodin®. I can’t even afford addiction to latté. I pay my own insurance, and it doesn’t include visits to rehab spas. I don’t have big-name legal firms on retainer, and I don’t own the exclusive Budweiser distribution contract for Phoenix, like Mrs. McCain does. That’s the straight truth.

Cindy McCain and Me


Update: Be sure to read 12 steps for Cindy.

mages by Mike Licht.
Top: “Cindy’s Recovery.” Download a copy here. Creative Commons license. Credit: Mike Licht,
Bottom: “Cindy’s Straight Malt Express.” Download a copy here. Creative Commons license. Credit: Mike Licht,

Percoset® is a Registered Trademark of Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. Vicodin® is a Registered Trademark of Abbott Laboratories. Tradenames and logos are used to avoid brand confusion.

10 Responses to “Cindy McCain and Me”

  1. Denise Burne Fein Says:

    You wrote that Cindy McCain’s parents intervened – sending her for residential and outpatient therapy at The Maeows in Wickenburg, Arizona (where other celebs and public figures such as Michael Douglas, Kate Moss, Whitney Houston, Ron Wood, Drew Barrymore, Elle MacPherson have been clients). Well, Cindy is a very lucky woman…at least from my perspective she is. She apparently made it through her rehab program at The Meadows of Wickenburg and returned home to her family/friends alive. My brother, Matt, Burne, was not so lucky. He died while an inpatient at The Meadows of Wickenburg. So did Denise Lee Dixon. If you’d like to read about their stories, please visit my website at

  2. 12 Steps for Cindy « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] forego focus on the difficult decisions facing our next leaders to wallow in gossip about the drug-abuse and legal tangles of Cindy McCain, beer millionaire, former cheerleader and rodeo […]

  3. outerpartypress Says:

    Great post.

  4. Number One Killer — Rx Drugs « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] I didn’t mention Cindy McCain once. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)12 Steps for CindyLegal Drugs Kill More Often […]

  5. Think LOGICALLY Says:

    Oh, how sad and tawdry. From the blonde bimbo trophy wife – to the narco-crazed rantings of drug-whore… How the mighty have fallen…

  6. Cindy’s Literary Let-Down « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] to get out in front of them by  publishing her memoirs in twelve chapters, with the one about her addiction to prescription drugs published in advance as a magazine […]

  7. kattz Says:

    Playboy, July 1999. — “Ms. McCain admitted stealing Percocet and Vicodin from the American Voluntary Medical Team, an organization that aids Third World countries. Percocet and Vicodin are schedule 2 drugs, in the same legal category as opium. Each pill theft carries a penalty of one year in prison and a monetary fine.” However, McCain did not face prosecution. She was allowed to enter a pretrial diversion program and escaped with no blemish to her record. Source: James Bovard, Prison Sentences of the Politically Connected.

  8. No-Talk Express — Re-Doubled « NotionsCapital Says:

    […] and his mob connections got him the stake for his beer fortune. Shred the chapter that describes your drug addiction, how you stole drugs from a children’s medical charity, and how you avoided felony charges by […]

  9. stilltrying Says:

    i can say that the meadows is one of the most amazing places on earth. i discovered myself there, and entered the most profound recovery.

  10. Mike Licht Says:

    stilltrying: As you can see from Denise Burne Fein’s comment above, not everyone is as confident in the Meadows.

    In the case of Cindy McCain, her stay at the Meadows was certainly more pleasant than the 11 years in prison her actions would have brought a less fortunate felon.

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