Mayer also helped Barrymore with a different problem. After a broken hip injury in 1936 combined with his arthritis, Barrymore was always in pain and by 1938 he was confined to a wheelchair. In order to cope with the pain Mayer provided Barrymore with cocaine ("L.B. gets me $400 worth of cocaine a day to ease my pain. I don’t know where he gets it. And I don't care. But I bless him every time it puts me to sleep.").
Barrymore remained a MGM contract player during his entire film career and was only occasionally loaned out to other studios.