Or drugs for cash.
Or drugs for cars.
Or drugs for jewelry.
Whichever example you want to use…they’re all the same.
Elvis had in his employ doctors and nurses (not all, but several) who provided drugs to him that were so far outside a curative protocol that they (the doctors and nurses) may just as well have dealt the drugs out of the trunk of Dr. Nichopoulos’s Mercedes (that Elvis probably paid for). While some people don’t seem to realize the staggering ethical violations that were at work in this arrangement (or they turn a blind eye to it), let’s remind the rest of us by looking at the wording we see in this January 1980 news article, which is sourcing testimony from the Nichopoulos trial. There are two keys sections. First, we have this:
“The doctor said he once wrote 10 prescriptions for himself, then gave the drugs − including 550 tablets − to Presley for use on a 1977 concert tour in Hawaii [note: this was probably the March vacation to Hawaii]. Nichopoulos said he thought it was the least he could do since the singer picked up travel expenses for him and his family.”
Everyone see that? To paraphrase Nichopoulos: “I provide drugs free of charge because Elvis pays for my vacations.” This is what Nichopoulos is admitting here, that in exchange for something of value, he provides the drugs gratis, without charge. But there is a charge, isn’t there?
Nichopoulos continued, “I felt if I charged him for the medication, his father [Vernon Presley] would blow a gasket.” So here, switching gears a bit, Nichopoulos is suggesting that he provides these drugs free of charge not because Elvis is paying for his vacations (which he had admitted), but because if he (Nichopoulos) billed Elvis for the drugs, Vernon Presley would “blow a gasket.” Well, this brings up an interesting question: Why would Vernon “blow a gasket” if Dr. Nichopoulos was prescribing necessary medications and then asking Vernon to pay the bills for these medications? Nothing wrong with that, right? In fact, though, Dr. Nichopoulos is admitting that his prescriptions were excessive and Vernon would question the number and frequency of these prescriptions (and thus, “blow a gasket”). Why didn’t Nichopoulos just tell Vernon that the pills were for everyone, as he claimed for so many years? The answer is obvious.
And what is one other purpose that writing a prescription to himself serves, if he then gives the drugs to Elvis? Not difficult to figure out.
Which brings us to our second key section:
“Nichopoulos insisted, however, that Presley did not take all the drugs given him. He said some were replaced with placebos − harmless non-medication pills − and that Presley’s employees and entourage dipped freely into his supply.”
There it is: Nichopoulos stated that the people around Elvis, his employees and his entourage, “dipped freely into his supply.”
Dipped freely into his supply.*
[* Note the word “supply.”]
Let’s also ask this important question (again): Are placebos really considered “harmless non-medication pills”? Sure, if used properly. Did Dr. Nichopoulos and his underlings use these placebos properly? No. And what about “replacing” pills that were already paid for? Why not just add the placebos to the available pills, as opposed to taking out a good pill, throwing it away, and replacing it? Simply, you don’t need to buy 10 pills and replace 9 with placebos; instead, you just buy one pill and add 9 placebos. It’s a total of 10 either way, but one way is far less expensive. Why was Nichopoulos replacing pills? Where did those replaced pills go?
A few more critical questions: If Dr. Nichopoulos was providing drugs in exchange for favors and things of value (whether this was acknowledged is immaterial), what about the other people in Elvis’s immediate orbit? How many of them chose to ignore the drug situation because they were receiving gifts of cash and cars and vacations and real estate and jewelry from Elvis? Did they also have an unwritten agreement with Elvis? “I’ll keep my mouth shut if you keep buying me things.” Was this the deal? Sure seems like it.
And what about the on-premises “nurse”? Dr. Nichopoulos was unethically receiving extravagant and expensive items from his patient, but surely the nurse wasn’t doing the same thing…was she…?