Earlier today, I posted my thoughts about the VH1 show, Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, and referenced cast member Duncan Roy’s Daily Beast piece titled, Is Dr. Drew a Phony? I called Dr. Drew for his take on Roy’s criticisms.
1) Roy claims in his piece that Dr. Drew “knows very little, or anything, about the precise science of sex addiction” and that he would “recycle Jill’s (the sex addiction therapist on the show) lines when he began to founder—and in the edited broadcasts, we see her thoughts and insights come out of Drew’s mouth. It comes as no surprise that Drew writes about narcissism because he genuinely wrestles with his own.”
Dr. Drew responds: “First, I love Duncan. He’s an amazing guy who did incredible work in treatment. And he brought up this same thing to me in treatment, so it’s not a surprise to hear him say it now. I told him at the time that I’m not an expert in sex addiction, that I don’t do sex addiction treatment every day. My expertise is with (substance abuse). I learned a lot about treating sex addiction while working on the show. Knowing that I’m not an expert on sex addiction, I surrounded myself with a team of people who were. I’m leading the team, I’m organizing the team, but I’m not the expert.”
In a telephone call with me this afternoon after I spoke with Dr. Drew, Roy added that what galled him the most is that Dr. Drew “had to be seen as the expert, even though he wasn’t. He can claim that he didn’t consider himself an expert, but he comes off as one on the show. Actually, it’s hard to know for sure how much of it was Drew, and how much was the cajoling of the show’s repellent producers. Drew told us after the show that he would never work on a show like this with those producers again.”
2) Roy claims that beauty queen Kari Ann, who is finally discharged in Episode 7 after failing to do much of anything in treatment other than sleep and verbally abuse the staff, “failed every one of the mandatory drug tests and yet was not thrown out of the Pasadena Recovery Center… Active drug users are not allowed to stay in rehab because they are actively using drugs! The excuse for the meth found in her pee was that she was also taking prescription medication that may have made her test positive. Jarringly, both Drew and Jill seemed complicit with the producers rather than with us, the patients.”
Dr. Drew responds: “Kari Ann was a terribly complicated case. We were doing everything we could. She came off as much more disruptive (on TV) than she did during treatment. You can argue that we gave her too many swings at the plate, but I was encouraged by the experts to give her more time and another chance. I was always suspicious that she was more of an addict than we knew, and that she might have been using speed. But she was also on Adderall, and that made her toxicology inconclusive about whether she was using.”
Another expert weighs in: Jody Pegram, the executive director of A Sober Way Home in Arizona (and one of the addicts I write about in my book, America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life) confirmed to me that the presence of Adderall makes a drug test for meth essentially useless. “One could argue that Kari Ann shouldn’t have been on Adderall with her history of drug use, but smart people disagree on that,” Pegram said.