Friday, May 27, 2011
Two years ago, I blogged about Dr. Drew being a hack, referencing his disturbing habit of "diagnosing" callers on the Loveline show within seconds of hearing their voices or exploiting patients on Celebrity Rehab while violating confidentiality clauses important to achieving sobriety and encouraging poor behavior amongst addicts instead of offering the treatment they needed.
Sadly, the situation has worsened. Two of Dr. Drew's former patients (both appeared on Celebrity Rehab) have died within the past few months: Alice In Chain's bassist Mike Starr and actor Jeff Conaway. Dr. Drew was quick to release a statement today on the passing of Conaway, disputing reports that the actor had died from an overdose by saying his death was caused by years of drug abuse (he was 60). Time will tell what the cause of death really was, but I certainly wouldn't take Dr. Drew's word for anything. These addicts were expected to 'put on a show' and be entertaining on television (bad antics = good ratings) instead of focus seriously on their treatment. Rocker Steven Tyler wrote a passage in his new book (Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?) discussing the show 'Celebrity Rehab' and sharing his anger with respect to how the show exploited his friend Steven Adler (of Guns N' Roses): "They wanted him to act out his own messed-up state when he entered rehab. It was ghoulish and unreal. They gave him 30 grand for the episode, he snorted it all, crashed his car, and he ended up in jail detox." Of the show itself, he mentions: "It didn't seem to me all that ethical using actual f**ked-up people like Steven Adler in a reality show, but who am I to say? Not to mention getting trashed celebrities to mime their own self-destructive nosedives which they then sensationalize on a melo-f**king-dramatic reality show, which so traumatizes them they end up in worse shape than ever - from the drugs they bought with the money from the show." The late DJ AM, who died of an overdose two years ago, was also a patient.
Sadly, Dr. Drew's patients are losing their lives and battles with addiction, a sad reminder of how unorthodox and completely unethical Dr. Drew's methods truly are. While it is true that many addicts relapse even when seeking treatment, one need not look further than an episode of Celebrity Rehab to understand the dangers and errors of his approach. Odd that a man who has written a book about celebrity narcissism not only promotes it on "Celebrity Rehab" but is also a prime example of it, finding his way on countless shows to break the Hippocratic Oath left and right by talking about not only his patients but also the lives of countless celebrities, commenting on their personal matters that are none of his business or concern, nor does he have the knowledge about their situations to comment as they aren't patients (just as he 'diagnosed' callers on Loveline based on a split-second call. That is NOT sound psychology, nor is it useful. Not only is this behavior not becoming a doctor, but Dr. Drew is so hungry for attention and fame he takes any opportunity to get on television to judge and exploit celebrities in trouble. This helps no one. He might as well join the cast of "The View" with all the trash-talking he engages in. (Remember when he diagnosed Joaquin Phoenix based on his infamous interview with Dave Letterman? Despite Joaquin playing a part in an elaborate hoax, Dr. Drew took the appearance seriously saying "Notice that his facial expressions are not still but rather one can see what we call flat suggesting a physiological alteration of his facial expressions due to his mental state. He was dysarthric, a specifically thick tongue that again is difficult if not impossible to mimic. And finally there was severe motor slowing which is a yet another feature of intoxication or a severe psychiatric condition such as depression." Er, wrong diagnosis, Doc. This example is a perfect demonstration of why no doctor can diagnose a stranger, nonetheless someone who isn't even a patient (nor is it ethical to tempt to do so).
I am sad that Dr. Drew is given so many TV shows and forums to express his warped priorities and opinions. He is no better than many of these television "doctors" who are more interested in attention than public service only he is far more dangerous than many as his name continues to be linked with tragedy for those under his care, as an enabler (not unlike the doctors charged in the death of Anna Nicole Smith or Dr. Murray whose inattention and mistakes led to Michael Jackson's passing). Dr. Drew may not be giving celebrities drugs, but he certainly isn't helping them get off of them when they turn to him for guidance and is enabling and encouraging bad behavior for his own reward. It is my sincere hope that the public wakes up to the dangers of doctors who suckle off of celebrities and place profits over humanity. Human life is sacred, these unfortunate individuals deserved better care.