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Controversy - Did Dr. Drew Cause Celebrity Deaths?

Updated on May 27, 2013

Dr. Drew


Celebrity Deaths

There was an article recently published (Dr. Drew: No More Celebrity Rehab After Cast Member Deaths; Lesley Savage, CBS News) saying that Dr. Drew Pinsky will no longer do “Celebrity Rehab.” He says he is through being blamed for the deaths of celebrities that have been on the show. Celebrities such as country singer Mindy McCready, riot victim Rodney King, television star Jeff Conaway, musician Mike Starr and reality star, Joey Kovar all died after being on the show. All died with drugs or alcohol in their systems. Critics say that Pinsky exploited these stars for monetary gain. He says he used their stardom to help others in the same situation.

Signs Of Addiction

  • Questioning
  • Defensiveness
  • Blaming
  • Secrets and Lies
  • Isolation
  • Changes in Social Groups
  • Changes in finances - too much money or not enough money
  • Odd phone calls or odd, unexplained trips outside the home

The Public As Enablers

If we, as the public, say that these addicts died because they were exploited by Dr. Drew, we are in fact, enabling them and other addicts. (Okay – so we can’t enable these particular stars anymore, but others like them…) We are giving addicts another excuse to use and abuse alcohol and drugs. “I used more drugs because I was exploited – and ended up worse off than I was before!” We are allowing addicts to continue to use without becoming responsible for their own actions. “It’s not my fault! I am only using because I was exploited!” We are continuing to support them in making unwise decisions. “It’s okay if I continue to use – the public will give me an excuse and feel sorry for me!”

What Do You Think?

Do you think that Dr. Drew Pinsky is responsible for celebrity deaths?

See results

I Was An Enabler

As the wife of a recovering addict, I had to learn the hard way that making excuses for an addict does the addict no good. It only makes things worse –not only for them, but for everyone that is around them. The problem only gets worse and when you make excuses for them, it tells them that they are doing the right thing. I know. I did this for three years. I made things worse. I can accept that fact. I wanted my husband to be happy – and he was happy when he was using. I let him use his excuses – and used them for him. “His back really hurts – he needs three times the prescribed amount of pain pills to take away the pain!” “He can’t come to the party – he’s “sick” (codeword for high or hung over or passed out.) I picked up drugs from his friends when his prescription was out so that he would not be in pain. I did all of this to “help” my husband. I thought I was doing what was right. But in reality, I was hurting him. I was making his drug habit worse than ever because I was making it okay. I was enabling his habit. And even with all that I did, I did not cause him to become an addict. I did not force him to take the drugs. I may have brought them to him – may have provided the excuses for him – but I could not force him to use the drugs. That was his choice and his choice alone. It took me many months to learn this. It took talking to therapists about because of the guilt I felt. But it’s just like I tell my students. No one can make you do anything.

Help For Addiction

If you or someone you know has an addiction problem get help as soon as you can. Here are some places to begin.

  • Addiction Hotline - (888) 421-9023
  • National Addiction Hotline - 1 - (866)-701-0102
  • Free Addiction Hotline - (877) 259 5634
  • Alcoholics Anonymous -

Celebrities Are To Be Blamed For Their Deaths

Even if Dr. Drew was providing drugs or alcohol for these stars who died too young - and he wasn’t – he would not be responsible for their deaths. He did not force these men and women to take these drugs or drink the alcohol that ended up taking their lives. He did not give them the drugs and alcohol that started their addiction – or that ended their addiction. He provided them with an opportunity to enter rehab on a reality television show to get help. They made the choice to come onto the show. It was their addiction to fame, as much as their drug of choice, that called them to the show. It wasn’t just Dr. Drew’s decision for them to do this. So why is he the one being blamed for their deaths?


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    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      David - my wonderful hubby - thanks for reading! I think in today's society it is ALWAYS easier to blame someone else - not just addicts or recovering addicts - but everyone...

    • profile image

      RDCampbell 4 years ago

      Dr. Drew did not prescribe any meds to those that died. Unfortunately for those that died, they succumbed to their addiction. I think he had zero responsibility for those deaths.

      As a recovering addict, (and your husband!) it is so much easier to blame someone than to take responsibility for your own actions.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      holistic-health - thanks for reading! I agree that he has fed into the fame addiction - but it was still the ultimate choice of the star to be on his show...and I honestly believe that in his way, Dr. Drew was trying to help...

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Christin - thanks for reading! I understand what you are saying - the addiction to reality TV was as bad as their other addictions. And maybe in that way all who were involved in the reality tv did in a small way contribute to their deaths...but it was ultimately their choice to be on the show and to do the drugs....

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 4 years ago from Midwest

      I don't blame him for their deaths because they make the choice to continue their addictions, but I do believe this show exploits people for profit, so although not directly responsible for the demise of these people, isn't there a time where as a society we get enough "reality" TV? If they are also addicted to fame, it would follow that they were in a way exploited to some degree. All "reality" TV exploits people and I can't understand the allure of it. I agree though, enough is enough with blaming other people. I've been around addicts all my life - and there is no one better at blaming everyone else for their problems than an addict.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I'm not familiar with this story, only what I have read interest situation; Dr Drew would have taken an oath to 'first do no harm,' as a doctor; so IF, he was providing drugs to known addicts which helped to hasten their deaths, I believe he should be held to question.

      However, I do agree with you. As adults, we are all responsible for our own action, in our society it has become much to easy to blame others for our shortcomings.

      The situation with your husband must have been incredible heart breaking and I hope you are both in a better place now.

      My best to you.


    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      stephanie - thanks for reading! I thing it is just easier to blame someone else for our problems nowadays - and society just makes it easier....

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      catgypsy - thanks for reading! It is easy to make excuses - it just makes life easier to go along with the problem - and then you realize that you become a part of the problem...then you have to change!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Frank - thanks for reading and for the vote! I agree that it makes no sense to blame those who try to help - but that's what is going on...

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      Sadly, some in society blame others for their shortcomings! Great hub, I was not aware that he was being blamed for celebrity deaths.

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 4 years ago from the South

      Great article. It is so easy to make excuses for addicts, but you finally realize it's their problem and that it IS a problem. It's courageous of you to have realized this, because you care and don't want to see them suffer, so it makes it hard to face the truth. Good job!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      People always search to blame.. I agree with billybuc it makes no sense to blame Dr. Drew or any doctor/ support group/ or gathering media that tried to help :) voted awesome my friend :)

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Bill - thanks for reading..It didn't make any sense to me, either! I'm glad you think I handled it well!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It makes no sense to blame Dr. Drew. As you know, I have some history here, and never during my twenty years of addiction did someone force me to drink. To blame anyone else would be ludicrous.

      You handled this well, LaDena! Great job!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Carly - Thanks for reading. Dr. Drew was on some talk show today saying that he would no longer do Celebrity Rehab because he didn't like being blamed for the deaths of celebrities that had been on the show. It struck a nerve!!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Very interesting hub. I did not know this happened. You did a great job covering why you feel Dr. Drew is not responsible.