Dr. Drew Pinsky, the Celebrity Rehab / Loveline guy, is getting a lot of flack for his recent comments about Lindsay Lohan. (If you're reading this, doctor, you are welcome any time on our show to defend yourself live.) You can imagine with my hectic 4/20-week travel schedule (2,000 miles in 6 days with LA this weekend) when I'm scanning headlines on the BlackBerry, my brain's spam filters drop anything with "Lindsay Lohan" in the summary.
@DannyDanko: RT @SSDP Tell @drdrew that Planting Drugs to Frame People is NOT Acceptable! Sign the petition on facebook:http://bit.ly/9xkF3x
I put my phone down to enjoy the scenery. Soon it buzzed on my leg, which it does only when I'm getting a text message. But when I pick it up, I find it's not a text, but a direct message (DM for the g33ks) on Twitter... from Dr. Drew!
Dr. Drew: Please read before you pass judgment:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-drew-pinsky/if-i-were-lindsay-lohans_b_541648.html
7:20 PM Apr 17th
The board certified addiction specialist tells RadarOnline.com, "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."
Dr. Drew says it's highly unlikely that Lindsay will recognize she has a problem and go to rehab of her own accord, "I would say it's less than a 1% chance of her making the decision to go to rehab. I have said this many times before, I believe that Lindsay will make a wonderful sober person, someday, if she survives this. 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."
But I hadn't read this yet; I was just getting a direct message from Dr. Drew. I figured he was just watching his "mentions" on Twitter and auto-sending this to anyone who was propagating the Facebook petition. I clicked the link anyway and waited the very long time Huffington Post took to download as we cruised down US 101.
Addiction is a deadly disease. It is a brain disease that alters the brain's fundamental motivational drives such that thoughts, judgment and volition become severely distorted and actually serve the abnormal motivational priority of getting and using more drugs. Untreated severe addiction is more likely to kill a patient suffering with the condition than most cancers. Treated Breast Cancers, Prostate Cancer, most Lymphomas, and the vast majority of skin cancers, have a better prognosis than a treated addict. And yet addiction is the only disease I have to convince a patient that they have and more importantly convince the patient that without treatment his or her life is in danger.
...I spend my days trying to resurrect lives that have been devastated by this disease, devastation that might have been avoided had someone been sufficiently clear to have gone to the mat for this patient when they were younger and earlier in their disease. Family members have to be willing to go to any lengths and unfortunately this often means bringing about circumstances that restrict that individual's freedom.
...[W]hen I was asked as a father, if I were in Michael Lohan's position, what would I do to help my daughter, I am clear that I would go to any lengths to get her to and retain her in treatment. Bringing legal consequences to bear is often the only alternative. It would kill me but I would do it. Perhaps I surrendered my equanimity to a flight of journalistic excess by even suggesting that he plant drugs. But if I was in his position and I knew she was addicted (which I personally do not) and all else had failed, I suspect I would contemplate even this as a last resort.
Let me be clear I am not suggesting this as a routine intervention but we frequently enlist law enforcement when we have exhausted other measures. To those of you who reacted in outrage when I made this suggestion, I will remind you that millions of you watched the first season of Sober House when as difficult as it was for her, the house manager, Jennifer Gimenez, summoned police to contain Steven Adler. We then advocated for long-term treatment as an alternative to imprisonment; an enlightened judge granted this, and today as a result Steven is sober and thriving. Were it not for this intervention, as miserable as it was for Steven, I believe he would have soon succumbed to his addiction.
Of course, that's way more than 140 characters for Twitter. I tried DMing back to Dr. Drew, but he doesn't follow me so I can't. So my only option was to blast my tweet out to the entire Twitterverse as an "@reply" to @DrDrew:
RadicalRuss: OK @drdrew I read it. Judgment: using jail threat to bring you more clients is still wrong. Even if disease, it's no crime. I'm ACoA, BTW.
7:35 PM Apr 17th via UberTwitter
Dr. Drew: That's cool and I have no issue with NORML's position but as you see using the law helps me for those in dire straights
7:38 PM Apr 17th
Dr. Drew: Or straits that is
7:44 PM Apr 17th
But again, too much for Twitter, so I sent this:
RadicalRuss: Also @drdrew you can't guarantee "enlightened judge" 4 the non-Steven Adlers. Most you'd plant drugs on would get prison (aka "lousy rehab")
7:48 PM Apr 17th via UberTwitter
Dr. Drew: You'd be surprised we get mandated treatment all the time.BTW be clear I am not interested in bumming anyone's high.
7:50 PM Apr 17th
In response to Dr. Drew's "using the law helps me" tweet, I sent:
@drdrew Sure it helps, and so would a gun to their head. "Go to rehab, now!" Framing people for their own good is still wrong.
8:25 PM Apr 17th via UberTwitter
Dr. Drew: Are you a father?
8:26 PM Apr 17th
RadicalRuss: @drdrew No I am not a father but my dad was an addict. Him in prison would've ruined my life. He CHOSE rehab!
8:44 PM Apr 17th via UberTwitter
Dr. Drew: what if his disease was such that he could not choose and he died and someone could have gotten him in but didn't
8:51 PM Apr 17th
RadicalRuss: @drdrew It was. He was speed/booze addict on bridge about to suicide when I was 12. Sad if he'd died, but prison wouldn't have helped.
9:05 PM Apr 17th via UberTwitter
The old joke goes: "How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb has to want to change." I actually believe in drug treatment - it saved my dad's life - but I believe even more that taking drugs or being a drug addict is not a crime. People have a right to make their own decisions, even bad ones.
Follow Russ Belville on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RadicalRuss