Monsters and Critics / Dr. Damon Raskin

‘Celebrity Rehab’ with Dr. Drew Pinsky ends run, addiction specialist speaks out

July 5, 2013



Dr. Drew Pinsky’s track record for treating addicted celebrities on his VH1 reality show “Celebrity Rehab” was less than perfect He

announced that he was ending “Celebrity Rehab” because of the “heat” directed his way following the deaths of celebrities he treated.”Celebrity Rehab” aired for six seasons, from 2008 to 2012.

Pinsky, who was interviewed by Zach Sang and the Gang said he was “tired of taking all the heat” following the deaths of celebrities who had appeared on his VH1 shows “Celebrity Rehab” and spinoff series “Sober House.”

All in all, five celebrities who were booked talent on these shows died in the years following their appearances, despite Dr. Drew’s best intentions.

The dead include troubled country singer Mindy McCready, “Taxi” star Jeff Conaway, rocker Mike Starr, “Real World” star Joey Kovar and Rodney King. None of their deaths were ever linked directly to the show or to Dr. Pinsky but were related in different ways to their health compromised by their inability to get clean and sober.

“It’s very stressful and very intense for me,” Pinsky said about the criticism leveled at him following each death. “To have people questioning my motives and taking aim at me because people get sick and die because they have a life-threatening disease, and I take the blame? … Rodney King has a heart attack and I take blame for that?”

“I don’t have plans to do that again,” he said. “I’m tired of taking all the heat. It’s just ridiculous.”

In the radio interview, Dr. Drew defended his record of success in treating the celebrity patients who appeared on his shows. “It’s sad that we’re not doing more shows because people did get help,” he said. “A lot of people are sober because of ‘Celebrity Rehab’ who wouldn’t have been sober without it.”

Board certified internist Dr. Damon Raskin is also an addiction specialist for Cliffside Malibu (, and frequently comments on celebrity stories posted on M&C.

“This show was clearly not about helping patients get better, but about entertainment. Unfortunately, these were real people’s lives at stake who weren’t getting the proper care for their addictions. Part of successful addiction treatment involves confidential counseling to get to the root of the underlying issues that perpetuate the drug or alcohol use. This cannot be done on a television show such as this, says Dr. Raskin.