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Dr. Drew defends 'Celebrity Rehab' after Mindy McCready's death

February 19, 2013|By Christie D'Zurilla
  • Dr. Drew Pinsky worked with Mindy McCready on the third season of "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew."
Dr. Drew Pinsky worked with Mindy McCready on the third season of "Celebrity… (Chris Pizzello / Associated…)

In the wake of Mindy McCready's apparent suicide on Sunday in Arkansas, Dr. Drew Pinsky of "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew" was defending the show Tuesday and explaining how things can go wrong with addiction treatment.

In a call-in appearance on "The View," the famous addiction doc mentioned his last phone call with McCready and shed light on why she might have left court-ordered rehab after only a couple of days. He said she was doing well until the death of her boyfriend, David Wilson, in January. Losing the father of her younger son left her "severely shattered," Pinsky said, and her friends were contacting him, urging him to call her.

"So I called her, and she was in trouble," he said. "She was really struggling. She knew it. We discussed the fact that she needed to be hospitalized and head to a psychiatric hospital, but she was so mortified about the stigma and judgment of the public and the press that it really took some convincing."

McCready's previous exploits and misfortunes have been subject matter on this blog and many other media outlets, with her personal life overshadowing the release of her comeback album, "I'm Still Here," in 2010.

"She eventually did go to the hospital, which is where she should have stayed. But unfortunately, and I really do believe it is because of this same fear of stigmatization, she left prematurely, and that's when things really unraveled. She then lost custody of her children, and that was the last straw."

And what about that McCready was the third person, out of nine cast members, to die since being on the third season of "Celebrity Rehab," which premiered in early 2010? ("Real World" alum Joey Kovar died of an overdose in 2012, as did former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr in 2011.)

"In a weird way I wish I could claim more responsibility for this. The reality is, though, I haven't seen Mindy, say, in years. I've talked to her occasionally, and we've been friendly, but I've not been her doctor in years," Pinsky said. "I wish some of them would stay with us.

"Some of them do, and some of them are sober, but some go on their own way and cut their own path. And I wish I could be more responsible for them."

He emphasized that without ongoing participation in treatment, a person struggling with advanced addiction has a poor prognosis. Two other "Celebrity Rehab" cast members, Jeff Conaway and Rodney King, also have passed since appearing on the show.

Still, Pinsky said, he's received about 10 supportive e-mails and text messages since Sunday, including one from Heidi Fleiss in which she said the show was the best thing she'd ever done for herself.

"I thought, wow, we're doing something right."

McCready died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on Sunday afternoon, on the porch of her home in Heber Springs, Ark., where Wilson died last month. She killed her late boyfriend's dog before pulling the trigger again on herself, police said. Her sons, ages 6 and 9 months, were not at the house. 

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