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Corinne Blames Pills and Partying in ‘Paradise’

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By Grace Kelley

 

This summer, the production of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise came to a screeching halt when it came to light that two participants, Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, had engaged in sexual behavior. Both parties were deemed too intoxicated to give consent. Blame for the incident went in several directions, but in an interview with Chris Harrison on Tuesday night, Olympios offered a new explanation: mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.

 

Demario Jackson

“The first day, unfortunately, I don’t remember much of,” Olympios said. “I definitely over-drank. I did. I was also on some medication that you’re not supposed to drink on that I didn’t know. And, you know, the combination of the two, it’s not a good combination.”

Harrison told Olympios that she seemed “normal” during the incident, to which Olympios said, “It can look like you’re totally present and you’re totally there [. . .] your mind is not anywhere near. It impairs your judgment. It completely imbalances you.”

Addiction specialist Dr. Indra Cidambi said it’s “not improbable” that Olympios acted that way. “It is possible to continue your social interactions, although you may be slurring or slow in your reactions, while you are blacked out.” And even though both Jackson and Olympios have admitted to being intoxicated during the incident, Olympios is more susceptible to a mix of prescription drugs and alcohol due to how women’s bodies metabolize these substances. “Mixing alcohol [with prescription drugs] negatively impacts women more than men because their bodies have less water,” said Dr. Cidambi. “Therefore, alcohol concentration is higher in their bodies for the same amount of alcohol consumed.”

Unlike other substance abuse, though, mixing prescription drugs and alcohol usually happens accidentally rather than deliberately to chase a high. But Bachelor in Paradise’s set culture and Olympio’s ignorance about the effects of her prescription created a recipe for disaster. Other Bachelor in Paradise contestants reported a culture on the set of allowing people to get as inebriated as possible with little or no consequences. In response to the incident, producers imposed a “two drinks per hour” rule, but contestants found a way around that.

 




 

Contestant Robby Hayes told People magazine, “If it was two drinks an hour, we’d grab one at 3:50, one at 3:55, then [it was a] new hour at 4:00. We’d grab one at 4:00, and one at 4:05, then you have four drinks within 15 minutes.”

This type of substance abuse may be accidental, but it is common, not only because of the pervasiveness of alcohol but also people’s general indifference towards doctor recommendations about prescriptions. Olympios herself said she “didn’t know” she wasn’t supposed to mix her prescription with alcohol. Dr. Cidambi said, “Forty-two percent of adults who drink report using medications at the same time, probably because doctors advise against mixing alcohol with medications all the time.”

According to Dr. Cidambi, “The labels for many prescription drugs say not to mix them with alcohol, but even if the label doesn’t explicitly state this, as a general rule, one should not consume alcohol when on any type of medication.”

Signs of an ongoing substance abuse problem, be it with alcohol, prescription drugs, or both, include lack of interest in hobbies, family and friends, and work, preoccupation with procuring and consuming the substance, depression, and violent and/or erratic behavior. If you suspect that you or a loved one has a problem with mixing prescription drugs and alcohol, seek treatment.

Update:

Corinne and DeMario reunited for the first time since the controversy on August 30, enjoying a night out in West Hollywood with other former BIP cast members. “We’re just friends,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “We’re just moving on past the drama.”

Let’s hope drama free means not mixing pills and alcohol.

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