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The Doctor vs. The Man: Drew Pinsky on Lindsay Lohan

April 20, 2010

Mixing entertainment with sound, clinical procedure has to be tough.  If anyone should know how to do it, though, it is Dr. Drew Pinsky.  Pinsky has hosted Loveline, a call-in radio show on which he dispenses relationship and medical advice, since 1984.  A board-certified internist and addiction medicine specialist, he has branched out into several TV shows focusing on rehabilitation and general medical and psychological education.

Pinsky has enjoyed generally high regard for ably navigating the intersection of personal opinion and medicine, but a recent interview with Radar Online has sparked a debate over what is sound medical advice, and what is irresponsible speculation.  The article features Pinsky opining about Lindsay Lohan: “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.”  As one might imagine, this manner of intervention has resulted in some pretty heated commentary on both sides.  Critics have—correctly—lambasted Pinsky for suggesting something patently illegal.  For one, it is probably illegal to procure substances illegal enough to result in an arrest.  Also, Pinsky doesn’t say exactly to what he thinks Lohan is addicted.  Drugs?  Alcohol?  Partying?  Fame?  Fashion shows?  Not to trivialize what appears to be a young woman’s self-destruction, but when suggesting that someone be framed for her own good, it’s probably not a good idea to pull a Bill Frist on Lohan .  (In his defense, Pinsky does make clear in a follow-up essay that he is not treating Lohan and does not know if she is suffering from any addiction.)

What many critics are overlooking, though, is that Pinsky made it clear that he was speaking not as Dr. Drew but as Daddy Drew.  While Pinsky’s gainsayers have a point in that his gravitas makes it a bit likelier that some people might actually try his suggestion for the addict—real or perceived—in their own lives, it should be noted that Pinsky’s specialty is addiction.  In his response to the controversy over his comments, Pinsky speaks from 20 years of clinical experience to reiterate how serious addiction is and how difficult it can be to treat.  But the Good Doctor qualifies his statement only slightly, saying that intervention, even forceful and involuntary, may be the only way to break the cycle.

This is where the line blurs.  Such a statement may be good for TV, print, or radio, and it may be understandable when dealing with a loved one suffering from life-threatening addiction; but it is ethically troublesome when uttered by a medical professional.  Rightly or wrongly, though, as Pinsky the doctor and the man points out, it may be the last way to save a life.

  1. April 22, 2010 1:53 am

    So how many parents will think this is a good idea since it come from the famous Dr. Drew and end up with their kids in prison….or worse?

  2. copdropnroll permalink
    May 5, 2010 1:16 am

    Smoke Weed Everyday!!!!!!!!

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