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Celebrity Rehab deaths

Updated on February 25, 2013
Dr. Drew Pinsky
Dr. Drew Pinsky | Source

Is Celebrity Rehab to blame for deaths?

Celebrity Rehab:

The popular VH1 show Celebrity Rehab has been viewed by millions. It takes place in the Hollywood hills and was formed to treat and monitor celebrity addicts. When the celebrities are chosen to appear on the show, they are informed on what the show is about and the main goals of the program, so they are armed with information before the show begins taping.

Now, the problem is, since the show began in 2008 starring celebrity doctor, Dr. Drew Pinsky, 5 of the show's starts/patients have died. Three of which were all on Celebrity Rehab in the very same season. These numbers seem staggering, don't they?

Celebrity Rehab reunion
Celebrity Rehab reunion | Source

The 5 Celebrities we've lost

  • In March of 2011, Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr who appeared on Celebrity Rehabs 3rd season, died at age 44 of a drug overdose. He had been addicted to heroin and other drugs.
  • In May of 2011, Jeff Conoway from the television show Taxi, passed away of a drug overdose (complicated by pneumonia) after appearing on Celebrity Rehabs 2nd and 3rd seasons. He had been addicted to pain killers.
  • We all remember the police brutality case against Rodney King back in the 80's, right? After appearing on CR's season 2, Mr. King's death was ruled an accidental drowning, but the drugs cocaine, marijuana, PCP, and alcohol were found in his blood as well. He passed away at age 47.
  • Joey Kovar, who previously appeared on MTV's Real World, joined the cast of CR in its 3rd season. He later passed away at age 29, of opiate intoxication.
  • The most recent death on the show was the apparent suicide of Mindy McCready. She also appeared alongside Joey Kovar in the show's 3rd season. Investigators believed she died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Mindy had recently lost her boyfriend/father of her two youngest children to suicide as well.

Jeff Conoway on Celebrity Rehab
Jeff Conoway on Celebrity Rehab | Source

Do you believe these deaths are Dr. Drew's fault or the addicts fault?

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Is Dr. Drew to blame?

The news media and other social outlets are trying to point the finger at Dr. Drew Pinsky. They're saying that his addiction treatment program is somehow flawed or there's some type of conspiracy or neglect going on resulting in these horrible, tragic deaths.

I'm not accusing Dr. Drew himself, he seems to be a fantasic, well educated, compassionate human being and doctor who just wanted to help the celebrities get clean and sober. It seems in the world of stardom, these vices are just too common. Yes, he's using the media to entertain the idea and turning it into a three-ring-circus it seems, at times. But, I do not believe that he would've ever contributed, in any way, to a patients death whether it be a normal everyday citizen, or a celebrity.

What I do believe may have contributed to these deaths, is the drugs themselves, and the fame. Before actors become actors and actresses, it's all glitz and glamour and they suck up the attention because it must be an insanely beautiful feeling to have that type of recognition. But, they don't realize the downfalls of stardom. They're too damn busy preparing for this role and that role, or writing this record and that record. They drive from tv spot to commercials to photo shoots, and back and forth and again. Many of them cannot handle all the negative aspects of being famous. They turn to drugs and alcohol for the same reasons as a laymen would, but for them it can be much, much worse. They have dozens if not hundreds of resources to find drugs and alcohol, in order to keep their supply running 24/7 and they can usually keep their use on the down-low by having outsiders do the business for them. Where as a normal citizen trying to do drugs has many "off" days because their resources are few and far between, therefore their usage cannot usually be quieted unless they keep just a few dealers "on call" who they can trust, and in the real world, that's a rarity.

So, as a famous person, it's much more difficult to hide or calm an addiction without reprecussions. And also, not only are they affected by these issues in the Hollywood world, but as are their families. As I stated above, singer Mindy McCready's boyfriend/father of her youngest children had recently committed suicide. Now, I'm not a fly on their wall but I would definitely take the chance and say that the "fame" and "fortune" probably took a toll on him as well. She'd been ridiculed for several years for her outbursts and addict tirades on Celebrity Rehab. I'm sure the families of all of these victims suffered much more than we could imagine. Not only did they have to deal with their addicted family member, as you and I would, but they had the media on their asses, telling every little secret and story they could to make the victim look and feel worse.

My heart goes out to the families of all of these victims but I must be serious when I say that it is NOT Dr. Drew Pinsky, himself, to blame. The media in general should stop exploitation of anybody in this world when struggling with personal and emotional issues. Not just celebrities, everybody. Especially in a tight-rope situation like drug abuse. You cannot afford to play around with the emotions of people that are already fragile. Shame on VH1 for allowing this show to be aired and shame on the media for blaming Dr. Drew. I believe he does want to help, he just needs to find another means of doing so.

And let me just add that an addiction is an addiction. These folks more than likely would've ended up in these situations either way, so I do not want to blame the television shows, but show-biz itself can be the catalyst of many addictions.


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    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      David-I totally agree with you. I don't really think these people know what they're getting into totally. I mean, they're told the rules and they're given the basic information but as addicts I don't believe they're mentally capable of making the decision to do this on television. I just don't think they have the mental capacity to agree to such a thing 100%. I guess that's a little bit of back-tracking from what I said in the hub because I say that they're adults and they're all used to fame and attention already, but I wasn't thinking about the fact that they really are truly addicts and they're just like "us" when it comes to that subject. They really shouldn't be given the option. It should be done privately.

    • davidslol profile image


      6 years ago

      Informative hub. In my view, Recovery or the act of getting clean should be private without exploitation.

    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      Tammy I agree with some of what you're saying, definitely. Although we can't blame Dr. Drew and the show completely because like LauraD093 said, they're not reporting the many successes that the treatment center has had and also the celebrities know what they're getting into with the show. But I do agree this isn't something that should be televised. These are personal struggles that should stay private, but again like Laura said, many of them are trying to just get their faces seen on tv again. If I was dealing with these issues, I'd never want it televised or public. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      I agree with that totally Laura! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • LauraD093 profile image

      Laura Tykarski 

      6 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      I don't watch the show but I do believe that the statistics need to show also how many former patients and participates in the show maintained their sobriety (if only to be fair.) I personally believe that some of the celebrities don't have an honest desire to get clean and are using the show to re-start their careers or again be in the spot-light. Addiction kills and it shouldn't be show-cased as another show to watch for public entertainment. Recovery or the act of getting clean should be private without exploitation.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      6 years ago from North Carolina

      This is such a sad situation. I think these celebrities are being exploited so the show can get ratings. I don't think the focus is getting these people the help they need, but to entertain the masses. I think those who sit back and watch are just as guilty as Dr. Drew.

    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      Thanks Jeannie. I totally love Celebrity Rehab, the show. I mean, it is nice what Dr.Drew and the show are doing for these people and I love the success stories. But you're right, it's not the show's fault these people died. People die doing drugs every day for different reasons and they aren't blaming treatment centers for that. Thanks for reading.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 

      6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      It is sad that 5 members of the show have passed away, but not that surprising. All 5 people were extremely troubled and it is difficult to help people once they are that far gone. Great hub and very interesting!

    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      onegreen and Alecia--you're both right and I hope I made those opinions clear in my hub as well, I may need to tweak it a bit. The whole point of writing that hub was to say that addictions are addictions, these things would've probably happened either way, addiction is a monster. I didn't feel it fair to blame Dr. Drew at all because it's, after all, the ultimate responsibility of the user. Thanks for reading!!

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I think that celebrity doctors are something that unlike celebrity chefs cannot be taken at face value for their skills and expertise. This is especially true when they televise their efforts. Unlike food which can be manipulated and is inanimate, these doctors deal with real, fragile, and broken people. A 6-week filmed stay at a rehab will not cure lifelong issues of abandonment, abuse, molestation and heartache.

      While I think Dr. Drew did the best he could, ultimately I think it is up to the addict to turn their life around instead of relying on a miracle cure.

    • onegreenparachute profile image


      6 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      I have not watched the show but I don't believe these statistics are out of proportion. This is the way of addiction. People die every day because they cannot stop drinking or they cannot end their dependency on drugs. In AA we are told 3% of those willing to admit they are alcoholics will stay sober. Scary? You bet!!


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