Friday, November 23, 2012

Dr. Drew Pinsky, Authoritarian Asshole

    Dr. Drew is one of the most well-known faces of the numerous "addiction specialists".  As such he represents everything that is wrong with the drug treatment industry: coercing "treatment" against the patient's will, the use of the criminal justice system to force medical treatment and personal hypocrisy about his own drug use all while profiting handsomely from the "patients" he claims to care about.  No matter the outcome of the "treatment," the "addiction specialists" never fail to help themselves to their "patients" money, either directly or through insurance reimbursement.
     Dr Drew has weighed in on two high profile celebrities that use drugs.  Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.    Apparently Dr. Drew is concerned that Lohan likes to party until the early hours of the morning, and gosh she's probably having sex too.  Whatever you may think of Lohan, and I don't think much of her either as an actress or for some of the ignorant shit that comes out of her mouth, she is an adult who has the right to consume drugs if she damn well pleases.  Dr. Drew's approach is to frame her by planting illegal drugs in her car and then calling the police.
    You see Dr. Drew really cares about his victims. Losing your freedom, being charged with a crime, suffering the dehumanizing environment of a prison, living with a criminal record, entering "treatment" where "professionals" tell their "clients" how to live their lives, this is all for your own good.  He claims to be a healer catering to semi-famous clients, but is more interested in his own fame and imposing his own arbitrary system of morality on his "patients."  I call that being an authoritarian asshole.

Further Reading:

Dr. Drew Endorses Planting Evidence on Drug Users to Get Them Locked Up [Link]
The board certified addiction specialist tells, "If she were my daughter, I would pack her car full with illegal substances, send her on her way, call the police, and make sure she was arrested. I would make sure she was not allowed to get out of jail. I would then go to the judge  and make sure she was ordered to a minimum of a three year sobriety program." [Radar]
You see, Dr. Drew is really concerned about her safety:
"I absolutely wish no harm to her, but I just have a feeling that something awful is going to happen to her, like she is going to lose a limb. I hope Lindsay gets help before something terrible happens."
Something terrible? Like getting framed for a carload of drugs by your own family!? Maybe they don't cover this in medical school, Dr. Drew, but you should really make yourself aware of the fact that many people have been accidentally shot by drug cops, sexually assaulted in jail, and otherwise mercilessly screwed over by the criminal justice system in ways that you and your massive ego don't have the luxury of predicting. 
Planting drugs on anyone is a serious crime that could go wrong in more ways than you can possibly imagine. Anyone who endorses screwing around like this has no business practicing medicine, parenthood or friendship. You can get people killed with this sort of idiocy, and as much as it would reveal about the stupidity of the war on drugs, "Hollywood Starlet Shot in Face by SWAT Team" is a story no drug policy blogger wants to write.

Dr. Drew Pinsky's Authoritarian Approach to Charlie Sheen [Link]
In a recent video with, Dr. Drew Pinsky discusses Charlie Sheen (sprinkled with condescending head nods and ending in smug amusement because the fate of someone's life is such a funny subject): "Whether it's drug induced or drug withdrawal or whether he has bipolar disorder, I don't know but right now he's manic. That's an acute psychiatric emergency. Bipolar patients that are manic are more likely to kill themselves or hurt themselves than when they're depressed. So this is somebody who should be in the hospital."
Note that Dr. Drew Pinsky is calling for the involuntary medical incarceration of someone who has not violated the law. If he wasn't using medical terms to threaten someone's liberty and to dehumanize them by refusing to respond to what they are saying, we would call this "libel." But what is going on here is worse than slander because this kind of insensitive, uncaring, profit-oriented, social-control oriented behavior is destroying people's lives.
It troubles me that Dr. Drew Pinksy's kind are making claims that can strip a person of their freedom and justify dehumanizing them. This sort of authoritarianism is cruel and inhumane. The police are required to read a suspected criminal their Miranda Rights before they lock them up, but not Dr. Drew Pinsky's kind. They can call a person "manic," identify him or her as a risk to either themselves or society, and have them taken away. Having been a victim of this practice, I can tell you that once you're locked-up, your freedom is completely gone. You are at the absolute mercy of outside sources and forces about what goes into your body and whether you ever get out of that institution again or not. Choice is no longer yours. In Dr. Drew Pinsky's addiction-recovery-treatment world a person is guilty until proven innocent.
Let me state this loud and clear--there is a problem. People are suffering with addiction and they do need help. But the problem is not the people, like myself, who find fault with the treatment they are given. The problem is the treatment.

Did Dr. Drew Lie About His Drug Use? [Link]
Dr. Drew Pinsky frequently enjoyed cocaine while working at the LA radio station, KROQ, in the early 1980s. This was asserted by two of his former KROQ co-workers earlier this year in this article, “Dr. Drew’s Drug Shocker!”. This allegation is not shocking because at the time cocaine use was commonplace in the LA entertainment industry.
Dr. Drew has not addressed the KROQ allegation. The fact that the most celebrated addiction doctor in America may have lied about his cocaine use will pass unnoticed. Dishonesty has always been an approved strategy in the war on drugs. 
Dr. Drew's drug shocker! [Link]
In 1982, Drew hadn't even finished medical school when he met KROQ DJ Jim Trenton at a party. "I asked him to do this segment with me called Ask a Surgeon," Trenton tells Life & Style. "Listeners could call in and get answers to their romance and medical questions." The segment was such a hit, it soon evolved into Loveline -- which remains on the air to this day. 
While they spent their days helping listeners with their love, sex and health-related problems, Drew and Jim spent many of their nights partying away. Often, Trenton says, that included cocaine use. "He used to say to me, 'Jim, I love cocaine,'" Trenton notes. "He'd say that a lot -- that he loved coke." In fact, Trenton adds, Drew "did coke with a lot of different people, including myself, on numerous occasions." Joanna Swylde, who worked as an intern at KROQ at the time and partied with Drew and Trenton, confirms Trenton's claims. She tells Life & Style they even used to snort lines of cocaine off album covers in the control room at work. "We would do it during the breaks on the show," Swylde recalls. 
Although Drew used coke, "I don't think he was addicted to it," Trenton tells Life & Style. "He used it recreationally.


  1. totally agreed. interesting how his long time buddy Adam Corola (sp) is sometimes among the celebrities opined for pro legalization matters - as a supporter.

    Theres so many things wrong with this asswipe though it'd take a thesis to say half of it. The greater issue in my opinion is his audience that keeps him employed.

    I always found it infuriating that when coerced for one reason or another into the detoxs, rehabs, etc's of the world, a favorite past time for the patients was Dr. Drew's rehab shows and similar stuff.

    Then again, you know, those places are so fucked up its unbelievable, afterall, one minute you could be talking to someone, feeling like you and they are on the same level, maybe frustrated with the situation, discussing how great it would be if there were some opiates on hand, maybe even discussing some means to make opiates appear...then 10 minutes later the bastard has snitched off to staff about you. The next day, it all happens again. LOL.
    Twisted contradictions man, especially the detox's because of how brief a stay they generally are.... 4-12 day experiences straight out of the twilight zone.

    I bet it'd be a hit, leave a camera in the "community room/smoking room" of the detox and then the bedrooms. No Dr. Drew needed. We donot need to hear a ounce about the single parent mom staff members. Just leave the cameras there. It'd be a hit. Almost no production costs necessary - and no "celebrities" to pay off either. Profits for opiates!

  2. We do enjoy other people's misfortunes. It takes our minds off our own.

    Personally, I think anyone who chooses to go into the "addiction rehabilitation" profession must, as a condition of matriculation/licensure, become addicted to some drug and forced to go cold turkey not once, but at a minimum five times so that they develope a better understanding of what it's like for those of us in the real world, especially when we are herded into the criminal justice system because we tried to alleviate our suffering ourselves because licensed professionals couldn't/wouldn't do it for us. Detoxing sucks. Detoxing on a cold, dirty jail/prison floor while being beaten and raped double-sucks, (no pun intended).

    These arrogant $h!t-phucks are part of the problem, not the solution.


    1. The addiction/rehab profession is complicated. There are good, well-meaning people out there. Some, like Dr. Gabor Mate are actually helping a lot of people. There are also people who are well intentioned, but horribly misinformed, an foster abuse in order for addicts to "hit bottom". Then there are those like "Dr." Drew, profiteers piggybacking on the drug war gravytrain. Check out my other post on "Dr." Drew, it includes a link to a story that suggests Drew's methods may actually be killing his patients.

      The cold-turkey prison detox is a human rights violation. In the UK addicts must be detoxed, it is considered cruel and unusual to force them to cold turkey. True criminals such as rapists, murderers, white collar criminals are not tortured upon entering jail. And an unmedicated, cold cell detox should be considered torture.

  3. Oh....BELIEVE me, I know all too well how cruel it is to allow one to detox in jail. Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt.

    1. Would that read:

      "I was tortured by my government for the victimless crime of self-medication and all I got was this T-shirt."

      Even from the perspective of ignoring the human pain and suffering, it still makes sense to medically detoxify addicts. Vomit and other bodily fluids pose a health hazard. People have died from opiate withdrawals, and the stress of the withdrawal can exacerbate other health conditions, such as a heart attack. Methadone is very cheap, much less so than treating a single heart attack. It would be more cost effective and humane to properly detox an addict.

      The cold turkey mistreatment is done to punish the addict above and beyond incarceration itself, because addicts are worse than mere criminals like rapists and murderers.

    2. MorePheen; Methadone is extremely addictive. You're just trading one drug for another. People can detox themselves, taking less and less of the drug they're addicted to as time goes on, phasing it out entirely. If you are ready to quit, you do not need to spend money on a rehab to do it. And methadone clinic are just a way to rope you into another money machine. It is cheap, yes, but not for the methadone client. The clinic pays pennies per dose, but the client will have to shell out about $15 a day, every day, plus other costs.And the moment you walk through the clinic doors, a short term bridge becomes a long term way of life.Suddenly it's all about getting your phase and increasing your dose, both of which require time, lots of it. Far more expensive than merely taking less and less of your drug of choice until you quit it entirely. But I don't suppose it much matters to someone who thinks addicts are worse than rapists and murderers. And if that was sarcasm, it lacks the sardonic edge a successful sarcastic remark requires.

    3. @Anonymous
      I would have thought that given the content of this article and my
      other posts the sarcasm of my comment about addicts being worse than rapists and murderers would be obvious. Since it evidently went over your head I'll be unambigous:

      I don't think people who use opiates should be criminalized, addict or
      not, for simply using drugs. The "cold-turkey" treatment that most people dependent on opiates experience when incarcerated, at least within the US, in many cases constitutes torture. Even people accused of the most heinous crimes are not tortured (at least not officially) when they are arrested. This is particularly egregious when the "criminal" is guilty of merely using drugs.

      As for methadone, clinics are very lucrative. When methadone is used as an addiction treatment it is subject to regulations way beyond those required of any other drug (when methadone is prescribed for pain it can be prescribed like any other opioid analgesic). It should be deregulated so doctors can prescribe it for addiction just like any other drug. Clinics would then focus on only the most chaotic cases needing daily supervision. Clinics should also have a low threshold,
      walk-in capability to dose anyone needing a day's fix so no one need commit a crime to not be dopesick.

      There may be some truth to the claim that you are switching one drug for another. This really isn't an issue if someone is stabilized. It is true that you can detox yourself by tapering your dose over time, but as anyone who understands addiction knows the problem is staying quit. Like the old joke goes: quitting heroin is easy, I've done it a hundred times! When people react well to methadone they are able to live completely normal lives, freed from the cycle of having to buy dope everyday and the time, energy and money that goes into that. For some people methadone is a lifeline to normality, despite its drawbacks.

  4. People like Drew Pinsky and "Dr. Phil" or Dr. Pill, as I like to call him, are dangerous. They sell a very convincing persona of a knowledgeable professional and give perfectly horrible advice. They are visible and important cogs in an enormous money making machine called rehab. I find it astounding that even though rehab centers very rarely work, people still fall for the promise, probably because such terrific guys like Drew and Phil are still pushing them. I mean, any time someone has to do a thing 3, 5, 7 times over, isn't that sort of a hint that the thing doesn't work? We are now seeing ads for rehabs that have their own failure worked in, in advance. They actually expect the client to relapse, building second and third rehab visits into the original plan. If it weren't so sad that people are wasting their money and being led on such a futile wild goose chase, it would almost be funny. The fact is, no rehab can "cure" an addict that isn't ready to quit. And sitting around talking for hours on end about your drug of choice isn't anything someone who truly wants to quit should do. I've quit heroine cold, a hefty ongoing habit, and about 16 years later, quit methadone the same way. No meetings, no rehab, no excuses. If you want to quit, you quit. Of course, there's no guarantee you'll stay clean forever, but you don't need to spend thousands of dollars at a rehab to find that out.

    1. Drew Pinsky is particularly dangerous because he ignores evidence-based practices and instead uses techniques known to fail. While no rehab can "cure" an addict, there are harm reduction measures that can mitigate most of the harms of addiction. Heroin maintenance is the penultimate harm reduction measure, eliminating almost all of the criminality, morbidity and mortality associated with heroin addiction.

      Going to rehab does have another purpose, it allows someone to undergo a social transformation from deviant to victim. Going through rehab can act as a sort of purification ritual, which is why politicians and celebrities always check in after a bust. The "dirty" drug user can be purified and come out "clean" in the eyes of society. In this view rehab doesn't have to actually work, its purpose is merely symbolic.

  5. I'm surprised that and all the s*** talking and all this blogging nobody has mentioned the use of ibogaine as a perfectly viable option to detox and methadone clinics across the world.

  6. if I wanted to detox now which I don't I would prefer to do it without a long and drawn out withdrawal processI mean who wants to go through that sort of pain I've done in prison I've tried to do it at home and it never ever works.

  7. please let me know what your thoughts are about ibogaine.

  8. thank you very much for this blog.