Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dr. Drew Pinsky: Why is he given a free pass?

It seems to be fairly common knowledge that most of the celebrity/publicity whore/radio/tv doctors you see and hear are for the most part just talking heads that make a living out of giving quick advice and talking about being a doctor more than actually being one. People have long shrugged off any chance of Dr. Laura being a legitimate source of health or psychiatric information, and everyone by now knows that Dr. Phil isn't a licensed psychologist. But very rarely do you ever hear criticism of the "all-knowing" Dr. Drew Pinsky.

We here at People Liking People used to listen to Dr. Drew along with Adam Carolla on LoveLine back in the 90s. We'd hear him covering topics ranging from puberty, drug use, relationship problems, sexual health, physical disorders, the effects of child abuse and just about everything in between that callers would ask about. It was hard to tell exactly where his expertise lie because he seemed to profess a thorough knowledge on just about everything. We did enjoy the show, which Adam Carolla made a lot more entertaining by his presence, but we started to wonder, just how qualified is this Dr. Drew to make all these quick judgments in just about every topic? Everyone has a specialty, I don't believe someone can have all the answers on every subject. So when someone appears to do just that, we tend to think they might be blowing a bit of smoke about how professional their advice is.

Dr. Drew has enjoyed a long and successful career with Loveline, being the go-to expert for talk shows, and now VH1's hit show "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew". It's this latest drug rehabilitation show that has begun to illustrate the limitations of the respected doctor. Earlier this month former bass player for Alice In Chains Mike Starr died of an overdose from a mix of methadone and anxiety meds. A year ago Mike Starr had appeared on Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab show and became one of the show's success stories. While we certainly can't blame Dr. Drew for Starr's death, it does make one question the effectiveness of Dr. Drew and his Pasadena Recovery Center where the show is filmed. Just how much of this is showbiz and how much is actual treatment, and actual medical advice? And that question should be applied to Dr. Drew's career as a whole, not just this latest stint. It could be that his actual expertise and treatment is subpar and has been all along, it's just now more noticeable because the stakes are much higher and someone semi-famous has died after his treatment.

We can't help but wonder why all other television/radio doctors are dismissed for what they are, yet Dr. Drew continues with barely any criticism. Will Mike's Starr's death finally wake people up to the fact that you simple can't treat someone fully during a week or 2 show? Or fix a psychiatric problem is a couple of minutes? Why are we treating all of these serious problems like a circus act? It may have been fun for a while but when people start dying it's time to rethink what we're doing.

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