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Update on Lindsay Lohan; Is Being Fat Killing America`s Kids?
Aired May 11, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go. Interesting show tonight.
Childhood obesity. An in-your-face campaign against fat. Mario Lopez is here answering your questions about fit kids.
And wet houses. Should there be a place where alcoholics can drink themselves to death?
Plus, we`ve the latest on Lindsay Lohan, Whitney Houston, flooding in the South.
Then, online bullies, you beware. That story coming.
Let`s get started.
Guess what? Out-of-control celebrities -- shocking. We have some details about the alleged drug use that sent Whitney Houston back into treatment. It caught my attention, so I suspect you`ll be very shocked. I`m hard to shock.
First, Lindsay Lohan is sentenced to 120 days in jail, but she probably won`t spend any time actually behind bars. TMZ reports the sheriff`s department may let her serve her time under house arrest, which actually would help her. She pleaded no contest to stealing a necklace.
Take a look at this.
LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I respectful, and I`m taking it seriously.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t care that you`re Lindsay Lohan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsay Lohan will plead no contest to misdemeanor theft at a pretrial hearing tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her walking out of a jewelry store with a necklace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime News has just confirmed tonight that Lindsay Lohan decided to go to trial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsay Lohan could be back behind bars before sundown. As expected, a no contest plea for Lindsay Lohan in her jewelry theft case today. It is, in effect, a guilty plea, 120 days in jail. She will then have to serve 480 hours of community service.
PINSKY: The judge says she doesn`t believe the actress has a substance problem.
I don`t quite know where to start with this, Judge. In due respect, Your Honor, I don`t know where you did your residency, I don`t know where you did your clinical training. But I have 20 years of experience treating 10,000 addicts and alcoholics.
Lindsay Lohan is one of my peeps. She is one of my peeps. She really is.
Yes, she has significant psychiatric and psychological issues. But that is the second issue. That doesn`t cause the addiction. The addiction is a primary issue. And unless that is treated, this girl is going to die.
Now, putting a bracelet on her and putting her on house arrest will help her. But please don`t be rendering her psychiatric care and determining her clinical course of what her treatment should be. Please.
Lindsay, again, this girl needs our prayers, not our disdain. And I hope the judge will refer her to people that can treat her psychiatric issues and her addiction. They are separate and overlapping, but one doesn`t really so much cause the other. They are two separate conditions.
Joining me now is Dylan Howard, senior executive editor of "Star" magazine.
All right, Dylan. What happened in court today?
DYLAN HOWARD, SR. EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "STAR": Oh, man. I`m so mad.
PINSKY: I wish our judiciary would have a systematic way of approaching it, because addiction and alcoholism is the problem of our time. They are helpful to us. But when they have these varying different ways and blaming patients for being sick and punitive -- I don`t know.
Anyway, what`s going on in court?
HOWARD: Well, she dodged a huge bullet. There`s no doubt about that, Dr. Drew.
And just to pick up on what you said, this here is her probation report, which reveals that she actually tested positive after being released from rehab for alcohol use on February 8th. Now that must be concerning.
PINSKY: Well, she`s just treating her depression. She must be sad. She was just treating her psychiatric problems with alcohol.
HOWARD: That must be it.
PINSKY: There`s cocaine and speed in there, too. Shocking. Shocking. A drug addict on cocaine and speed. I`m shocked.
HOWARD: This must be concerning, that the judicial system is failing someone like Lindsay Lohan. She`s dodged a bullet.
PINSKY: Well, let`s face it, she`s a tough case. But yes, it is failing so far.
HOWARD: She will go under house arrest, 140-day jail sentence. Under house arrest, it will end up only being 14 days because of the California legal system at the moment, and the sheriff system. So, Lindsay Lohan, very much the victim -- the recipient of good lawyering today.
PINSKY: Well, I hope the house arrest helps her contain and structure, because she has had -- a few months ago she was in recovery and, magically, her psychiatric symptoms were better too.
Tell me about Whitney.
HOWARD: Well, Whitney Houston is receiving outpatient treatment at the moment. And my sources tell me that the reason behind this is a startling crack cocaine addiction. And my sources tell me at its height, she was spending $3,000 a week on using crack cocaine.
PINSKY: Well, that`s $12,000 a month. That`s a pretty good habit.
HOWARD: This hasn`t just snuck up Whitney Houston though. She has been under serious issues for some time.
She performed in February at a Clive Davis concert. There, people, onlookers were telling me that they had concern for her. She had a spectacular failure of a tour last year. She`s getting treatment at the moment, and there is genuine concern that one of the greatest singers of our generation may not be able to come back unless she gets the help she needs.
PINSKY: Well, she may die.
I mean, listen, guys, again, a reminder, addiction is a potentially commonly fatal condition. The prognosis for somebody, frankly, like Whitney, worse than for most cancer patients. Think about that. So getting outpatient treatment may not quite be enough.
I mean, a $12,000 a month cocaine habit, you want to go away and spend six months in a structured environment.
Dylan, thank you very much for the update. Appreciate it. We`ll have you back.
HOWARD: Thank you.
PINSKY: All right. So is being fat killing America`s kids? It might be, which is why there`s a growing call to action. Watch this, and then we`ll talk and we`ll have a special guest.
PINSKY (voice-over): Georgia`s kids are obese, one in five of those aged 10 to 17.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom, why am I fat?
PINSKY: The state has launched a campaign -- it`s controversial -- to fight fat. "Chubby just isn`t cute."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t have to be around the other kids because they always pick on me.
PINSKY: It`s outraged some people. One wrote, "I find it despicable to use children like that."
First lady Michelle Obama has been leading the nationwide charge for two years. And celebrities, including Beyonce, are on the health for kids bandwagon.
Child-star-turned-dance-star and TV host Mario Lopez has the latest entry in the fitness derby, making fit kids a family affair.
PINSKY: And my buddy Mario Lopez joins us. He, of course, the host of "Extra."
Mario, good to see you.
MARIO LOPEZ, HOST, "EXTRA": Always great to see you.
PINSKY: He is the ambassador to the Boys and Girls Club of America. His new book is called "Extra Lean Family."
Let`s get a picture of that book. There we go.
It`s a very useful book, Mario. And it`s about -- as I was saying, you and I talked about a minute ago. I`m a father of triplets, and during those first two years of child rearing, I probably gained 15, 20 pounds easy. I couldn`t pay attention, and I didn`t pay attention.
LOPEZ: I`m surprised, because after running for a few kids, that usually will be enough to keep you in shape.
PINSKY: You know what though? It`s so stressful, and this is what maybe you address in the book, is I started eating. Because you deal with emotions and stress by putting bad things in your mouth
LOPEZ: We definitely address that in the book. And let me be clear, Dr. Drew, it`s not a diet book, because I don`t believe in diets. Diets don`t work. People work. They just need the right information.
"Extra Lean Family" really does provide that information. And I`m proud of the way it came out.
My last book, "Extra Lean" focused on the individual. This book, "Extra Lean Family," focuses on the household.
And I`m a proud new dad, and I want to start my family off on the right foot when it comes to what they eat. And I want them to know that what they eat affects those closest to you.
PINSKY: By role modeling?
LOPEZ: By role modeling, because parents are the biggest examples. I don`t have to tell you that.
And the number one most important room in the house to me is the kitchen. So much takes place there.
For example, we also want to practice the lost art of the family dinner, because people don`t sit around the table and eat anymore and have conversations together. We want to get kids involved in the cooking process, whether that`s just chopping vegetables at first, for the older kids, or setting the table, washing lettuce, whatever the case may be. Kids need to understand what it takes to make a good meal, and they are going to learn how to cook by being there.
PINSKY: Well, a couple of personal questions. More babies?
PINSKY: More babies?
PINSKY: Good, because then you`ll have a big table full of people.
LOPEZ: Well, we`re trying.
PINSKY: Right now.
LOPEZ: So we`ll see.
PINSKY: Right now. Not at this second, but I mean you`re trying --
LOPEZ: Yes, not at the moment, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Rhoda (ph), our stage manager, get your mind out of there. Stop it. Stop it.
But the other thing is, I actually work with your trainer. Are you still working with Jimmy now?
LOPEZ: Jimmy Pena, yes. And as a matter of fact, he helped me with the book here. He`s on the cover. A great guy.
PINSKY: Great guy, great trainer. Intense.
LOPEZ: Intense. Extremely intense. He used to be the fitness instructor over at "Muscle and Fitness" magazine. And an expert in this field, and someone I really trust and someone who is a good friend. And we both love food.
I`m very passionate about food, and I want people to take a journey with food. It`s not about -- and I grew up where food is so important in my culture. It`s not about deprivation, and so many diets are about you can`t have this, you can`t have that. Most of the time you can`t have carbs, which is so bad, because it`s the body`s preferred source of fuel and energy.
And my rule is, you should have carbs, protein and fat at every meal. OK? I want people eating frequently throughout the day.
And most importantly, I want them practicing portion control, because we have become this big gulp society, all-you-can eat buffets and what have you. But if you are grazing all day, if you will, then you`re not going to get hungry, and you`ll have a little bit of fat in there, you`re going to keep burning that fat.
I liken it to a fire in a furnace. You stick one big, heavy log there, it`s going to take forever to burn. Right?
LOPEZ: But if you keep putting little pieces of wood to keep that fire burning, that`s your metabolism. It`s going to keep burning all the time.
PINSKY: And the fat will help satiate appetite, which is something I want to get into a little. Maybe we don`t have time for it today, but appetite management is something nobody ever talks about --
PINSKY: -- because we`re just into just gratifying all the time rather than learning to manage our appetites.
LOPEZ: We get into it in the book. And I`m so glad you brought that up, Doctor.
We get into it in the book. And another thing that we get into as well, we are very detailed with the grocery lists and the shopping lists. I`m a former inner city kid. I get it. I know what the three tacos for 99 cents is all about.
PINSKY: Well, that`s the point. That`s what I was going to say, it can be expensive to do this, but I think if you pay attention, it doesn`t have to be. Is that correct?
LOPEZ: It doesn`t have to be. And as a matter of fact, I find it less expensive to cook at home. And we talk very detailed about how to buy in volume and how to buy smart and how to feed the whole family, and how to be clever with your leftovers.
And again, this is -- we have got delicious Mexican food in there, all kinds of different desserts. But they all have a healthy spin to it, and they all involve the family. And it`s not just for the kids, but for the parents, too, because that`s where it starts.
Because the parents are leading by example. If you`re not putting the vegetables on your plate, or pushing them off to the side, then the kids aren`t going to do the same.
PINSKY: But there`s an interesting subtext in what you`re suggesting, which is that filling with the relationships may help manage the appetite, too. Is that accurate, that being in the presence of love and caring and nurturance and connectedness, that`s the way to eat so you`re not just filling the emptiness?
LOPEZ: Statistics show, too, that families that dine together, their kids do better in school. They have better relationships with their parents. And they are just overall more positive young people.
PINSKY: I would tell you what, wait until your kids hit high school. They get busy and the start running around.
But I look forward to eating with my kids whenever I can. It`s something you really miss when you don`t have, especially when you`re accustomed to doing it when they`re younger. And I hope they miss it, too.
So, the book is "Extra Lean Family." Here it is. I recommend it highly.
And one quick question on Jimmy. You don`t expect people to maintain the intensity of a Jimmy Pena training program in order to lose weight?
LOPEZ: This is not a training. There`s no exercise in here whatsoever. This is completely a food book.
PINSKY: Got it.
LOPEZ: This is all about food.
PINSKY: Nutrition and health.
LOPEZ: Nutrition and health.
PINSKY: Mario, thank you so much.
We`re going to have you back later for a special edition of the "On Call" segment. We`re going to talk about obesity in children and diet and that kind of stuff.
But up next, an expanding conversation with a familiar face from reality TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): The real housewife with a real story about eating disorders. You don`t want to miss her advice on battling food issues.
And later, a story that may enrage you, or perhaps just break your heart -- shelters that let chronic alcoholics drink to death. They say it`s humane, but you know I`ve got some thoughts.
PINSKY: All right. Now, she`s got money, looks, and newfound fame as the star of Bravo`s "Real Housewives of Orange County." But reality TV star Alexis Bellino has been hiding a secret. She has been battling bulimia and body issues for years.
Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXIS BELLINO, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY": I had an eating disorder. And an eating disorder is kind of like an alcoholic. Once you have one, you`re never completely healed.
I would go days without eating. I would make myself throw up if I had to. I mean, it was horrible. It was horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: She is absolutely right. And she is coming forward now and admitting that, seemingly, perfect and perfection is part of the problem with eating disorders. Perfect life, perfect body have come at a price.
Her interview with "Life & Style" hits newsstands on Friday.
You talk about this. Do you know when this disorder started for you?
BELLINO: Well, through therapy, I have found out it originated -- it`s always not what you are eating, but what`s eating you. And what was eating me was my parents` divorce that occurred when I was 12 years old.
And, you know, it didn`t really become, like, exemplified in me until college. And so it was a rough four or five years of my life.
PINSKY: So we`re kind of, you know, today on this program going across, talking about eating and obesity and healthy. And this is where it crosses the line into trouble if we`re too preoccupied with these things.
Did it start as body dysmorphia for you? You couldn`t see yourself as beautiful?
BELLINO: I think a few things were going on with me. I am a perfectionist, and I am a control -- I like to be in control at all times. And so I think that, happening to me when I was 12 years old, going through a divorce, made me feel like I wasn`t in control.
But then, you know, accompany that with being in college, and I gained a freshman not 15, but five or 10, and I felt uncomfortable with my body. And my girlfriend was doing it, and so I thought, well, you know, it was kind of one of those things where I just found myself falling into it and not really knowing how to get out of it.
PINSKY: So, talking about control, I mentioned to you off the air, I wanted you to particularly talk to the audience about how new this is for you.
BELLINO: This is 24 hours new with me coming out and actually vocalizing. I mean, my friends know, my husband knows. Your family knows. But it happened 10 years ago. But to be in a public platform speaking about it is a whole new -- it`s new.
PINSKY: How do you feel about it right now?
BELLINO: I mean, I`m a little nervous just because it`s something so -- I`m really showing a vulnerable side of me. And it`s sure not the prettiest disease to have. I mean, who wants to admit that they have made themselves throw up? But it`s reality, and I think it will help other women, which is the goal.
PINSKY: Great. Did you manifest sort of all cycles of bulimia? Would you binge and purge, and when you purged was it only vomiting?
BELLINO: Yes. And I don`t know what you mean only vomiting.
PINSKY: Laxatives, diuretics, diet pills?
BELLINO: I did it all.
PINSKY: You did all of it?
BELLINO: I did all of it.
PINSKY: How bad did that get?
BELLINO: I remember times when I would be so hungry, because I would also not like to eat a lot. And I remember we had this one restaurant up the road, and it was kind of our fun Sunday thing to do with my friends, and we would just all wake up slow and late, and a bunch of us would meet at this restaurant.
I think it was called Jimmy`s or Jimmy -- oh, imagine that -- Jimmy`s, and I`m married to Jim. But it was something like that.
PINSKY: There are no accidents.
BELLINO: Yes. Whoops.
But I would think, oh, my gosh, well, I need to take my laxative by noon if we`re going to eat at 1:00, so that if I eat then -- I mean, it`s just gross. It`s really -- but that`s real. I did it.
PINSKY: When you stopped the laxatives, did you get the legs swelling and all those side-effects?
BELLINO: No. I don`t think I damaged myself enough, thank God, that I reached that. I don`t know. I didn`t take them frequently enough. You know, once a week maybe.
PINSKY: So you didn`t really get going with the laxatives so much.
PINSKY: And you are in treatment now/ And how has that been? And tell people about that so they can understand what can be done about this.
BELLINO: Well, once you make it through the other side, it`s kind of like you look back and go, wow, that was such a rough time. But it`s able to happen. It can happen.
You need to go through psychoanalysis, you need to go through behavior modifications. You need to find out what it is that is the core of the problem and just become happier with yourself.
And I think that came with age, as well as my children and my husband. And I was married to my first husband for a year and a half, and he actually helped a lot too because I was already stopping it when I -- obviously, when I moved in with him, I wasn`t the one that could just go hide and do it. So I had to learn -- I had to make the choice I was going to stop this behavior.
PINSKY: What would your message be to women and particularly -- again, this is something that affects young women very commonly. What would your message be to them, people that -- let`s talk about it across the spectrum. That either, A, are starving themselves, depriving themselves, or, B, purging, or, C, just look in the mirror and are so harsh on themselves and so busy trying to be perfect?
Do you have a message for them?
BELLINO: It`s not -- you think it`s you, what you`re looking at, and you`re not happy with the way you look, or you`re starving yourself for some other reason. But there is a deep major personal issue going on with you. And the number one thing you have to do is get in treatment, because I don`t think there`s any way you can just master it on your own.
PINSKY: I want you to reiterate that, because as you know well, if somebody were to come up to you and say that to you when you were in that condition, you would just dismiss it.
BELLINO: I did. But, you know, my mom basically picked me up physically in college and said, "We are taking you to get help."
I wasn`t in the mental state to want to be in help at that time. And an eating disorder, it does happen over a period of time. It`s not just something that you wake up one day and go, oh, this is my last drink, like you can be with alcohol.
PINSKY: It progresses, yes.
BELLINO: You have to sit and eat three meals a day, so you`re around it. So you might stop for a month or two, and then do it again and then start again. But the point is, is you`ve got to get in therapy.
PINSKY: Alexis, thank you so much. A really important message. I hope you have success with spreading the word, and congratulations on your recovery.
BELLINO: Thank you.
PINSKY: Pretty cool.
Important discussion. Up next, your questions. And Mario joins me with giving you some of the answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Obesity and our kids -- solutions for concerned parents. I`m taking your calls on that straight ahead.
And later in the show, wet houses, places where low-bottom alcoholics are allowed to live and drink, even to the point of death. Is it harm reduction or just allowing people to give up?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome back to you and to Mario Lopez. There he is.
Now, childhood obesity has generated a lot of discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Let`s see what you`re calling about.
We`ll go right to the phones and talk to Amira from Pennsylvania.
You`re up first. Go ahead, Amira.
AMIRA, PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
I think we are almost cultivated to be emotional eaters. I just think it`s very easy for children to gravitate to food for a sense of comfort and security they feel is lacking in their household.
And Shirley from Tennessee, what are your thoughts?
SHIRLEY, TENNESSEE: Hi there.
I think that children eat like their family, eating out at unhealthy places, eating fat, sugar-laden foods and snacks at home, with too much TV and computer time and too little exercise.
PINSKY: Mario, I think we would agree with that.
LOPEZ: I totally agree.
Regarding Amira`s point, at first, kids are going to be kids. They are going to run to the pantry. They`re going to get their cookies and their chips. We have got to provide healthier alternatives for them, whether it`s carrot sticks or whether it`s some cucumbers chopped up with some fruits.
PINSKY: How realistic is that? I know my kids, when they were 5 years old, you showed them carrot sticks --
LOPEZ: Well, that`s why it`s important to start early.
LOPEZ: We talk about it in the book, Dr. Drew, in "Extra Lean Family" here, where you have to expose these kids to all different types of foods as early as possible. We`ve got to get their palates a little more sophisticated.
And you`ve got to try it a bunch of different ways, too. Maybe it might take a Splenda or two, or throw in a little cinnamon on it, but you`ve got to keep mixing it up to these kids and expose them to all different types of flavors.
And as far as the other point was concerned, yes, we`re at a generation now where kids are texting, they`re sitting in front of the TV. They`re playing with their computers. They`re not getting out there. I want kids out there breaking a sweat, whatever it is that may be, playing like we used to back in the day.
PINSKY: And that`s kicking the kids out of the house.
LOPEZ: Got to kick them out of the house. Exactly.
PINSKY: Another thing we don`t talk about that much is emotional -- our appetite management and how our emotions react to eating. I know when I get stressed, I eat more. You told me you stop eating.
LOPEZ: I do completely the opposite. I know you love your Dove bars.
PINSKY: No, no. I don`t love the Dove bars. What I said was, when my wife was pregnant with triplets, it was a high-risk pregnancy and we were in the hospital all the time. I remember sitting there at the nightstand eating little mini Dove bars.
LOPEZ: Right. Those are good.
PINSKY: I gained 20 pounds. What are you going to do?
LOPEZ: You know, those are fine here and there, right? But I do completely the opposite. And I don`t eat. I start thinking about it, I`ll get a little stressed, and the next thing I know I`m losing weight because I don`t eat.
PINSKY: So it`s important to understand our own appetite liabilities, let`s call it.
PINSKY: I have got a Facebook question. It is Diane. She says, "I`m finding it hard to get my 9-year-old to quit cold turkey on all sweets and carb snacks. What`s your advice?"
See, this is what I`m afraid where parents are going to go with this, is trying to eliminate all carbohydrates, which is exactly the wrong thing to do.
LOPEZ: That`s exactly the wrong thing to do, and we talk about that. And I mentioned earlier to you, carbs are the body`s preferred source of fuel and energy. And you need it.
PINSKY: Especially in kids. A kid is growing.
PINSKY: I mean, their metabolic demands are massive. That`s why they want to eat all that fatty, sugary food.
LOPEZ: But they end up being just empty calories. And have you ever tried to go without having any carbs? You can`t function. You can`t really think.
They are important. You have just got to know which ones are the right ones and how much.
PINSKY: One more Facebook question. It`s Christine (ph). She has this question: "What suggestions do you have for motivating families to become more active?"
This is, again, that same question.
I think kids are going to do what you`re doing, guys. You know, be active yourself. Work out yourself. But mostly, get the kids outside.
LOPEZ: Get the kids outside. Make them go play outside. Make them break a sweat, whatever it is they like to do. And not only that, they`re going to use that creative muscle and their imagination, which is always great for kids.
PINSKY: Mario, thank you so much. Good advice.
LOPEZ: Thank you so much, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Now, should an alcoholic be allowed to drink him or herself to death with comfort dignity? Well, this is what we`re going to talk about. They`re called wet houses. And if anyone with a drinking problem should live there.
We`ll go to the flood zone next also on DR. DREW.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLAS CAGE, ACTOR: I came here to drink myself to death.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): Remember when Nick Cage`s character set out to drink himself to death in "leaving Las Vegas"? What if there were an institution dedicated to letting people do that? There is. Straight ahead, we`re spotlighting this very controversial program that some say is actually humane.
And later, more vicious online bullying, but this time, it looks like there`s going to be justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): I hope so. The epic flow of flooding down south continues to threaten people and whole towns along the Mississippi River. Communities are emptying out as the water takes over in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana had this to say.
"After hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, as well as the oil spill, Louisiana can ill afford another large-scale disaster. Billions of dollars in property are at stake, not to mention the threat to human life."
Joining us now from, from, I think, it`s in Mississippi is CNN meteorologist, Rob Marciano, via Skype. Where are you, Rob, and what`s going on there?
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We`re in Tunica, Mississippi, Dr. Drew, and this is one of the harder hit areas that has seen some major flooding. One particular community near the river where over 200 homes completely inundated with flooding and those people completely displaced and in shelters. So, this -- as far as the number of victims and the people that have really felt the brunt of this historic flooding event, this is the spot where they`ve been hit the hardest.
PINSKY: And obviously, that`s bad enough, but I`m hearing that people are even fearful of worse things coming. Is that true?
MARCIANO: Well, certainly downstream. The river has crested here, but it`s going to be a slow go, and it will take five days just for it to go down one foot as the crest progresses downstream. So, (INAUDIBLE) is next, and then into Baton Rouge, and they`ll take some steps to open the spillways there, but, you know, after talking to some of the folks that were hit by this here, they`ve already been out of their homes for a solid two weeks, Drew.
This is such a slow-moving event. You know, and we`ve just been really covering hard core (ph) now for a few days, but these people have been living this disaster for a solid two weeks. And the floodwaters are nowhere near receded yet. And that will take another couple of weeks. And then, the cleanup effort, a lot of these folks will have nothing to go home to. So, it`s a slow-moving, arduously slow-moving painful event.
PINSKY: Rob, one last question. Are there concerns from a public health standpoint about, say, contaminated water? I can just imagine other things that might go bad here.
MARCIANO: Yes. You know, you don`t think about it when you see flooding pictures on TV, but there`s a lot of bad stuff in that water. Just from the stuff that`s been washed around as far as litter is concerned. I mean, you have drainage, pipes that aren`t draining very well, namely sewer lines, so, contamination in that regard. And then, honestly, critters that you don`t want to come in contact with, snakes, spiders, rats. They`re all in the water, and they want to get out.
So, they end up in areas that they normally wouldn`t be. So, there are, certainly, health concerns there. And then the mental health issue, certainly, of long-term event like this where you`re out of your home for a number of weeks, and then, eventually, going back to that area to find either your home unlivable or potentially completely gone.
PINSKY: And let`s remind people those critters. They aren`t just kinds nasty to be around, they have fleas and ticks and things that carry illness with them. Rob Marciano, thank you so much for the report. I do appreciate it.
That was a story about natural disasters destroying lives, but what about personal disasters? The millions of individual stories that go untold. OK. Now, what you`re about to hear right now is controversial. A home for alcoholics, a place where they can eat, sleep, and drink. A community that provides them, well, dignity and gets them off the street, but is this the right answer? We`re going to talk about that tonight, but first, here`s one man`s story.
BILL HOKENBERGER, PROGRAM MANAGER, ST. ANTHONY`S: This is where I keep my clothing and stuff.
CHRIS WELCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looks a lot like a college dormitory.
HOKENBERGER: This is the cafeteria here.
WELCH: But its residents are not students.
HOKENBERGER: This is a program that`s designed for chronic alcoholic men.
WELCH: This is not your typical halfway house.
HOKENBERGER: The difference is there is alcohol in the mix. And these are all men that have been through treatment numerous attempts. These are men that have lost their jobs due to alcohol, lost their housing due to alcohol, lost their relationships, lost their family, have really reached their rock bottom.
PINSKY: All right. Controversial issues. Joining me tonight, Chris Welch, he is the CNN correspondent who had originally covered this story. Also with me is William Moyers, he is vice president of Public Affairs at Hazelden Treatment Centers. He knows all about addiction from personal experience as well, as well as being involved with a very, very fine program at Hazelden. And Joe Gutierrez, he is a former tenant at the wet house in St. Paul, Minnesota. Chris, I want to start with you. What did you learn from reporting the story?
WELCH (on-camera): Well, we basically found out a little bit more about what this place is. We first heard about it by a couple of local stories in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. We thought this might be an interesting story to really dive deep into. We devoted a good couple of months. I took dozens of trips there with the cameras on, without a camera to really get to know the guys who live there and what this is all about.
And basically, you know, it`s a place where you heard in that piece, these are guys who were or, you know, and who would be again theoretically homeless. This is a place where they can drink. These guys have gone through treatment, some of them dozens of times. They say this is a place where these people who can`t be helped can live, make their own decisions.
PINSKY: Let me ask you. Do they see a professional first who makes a determination that this is an appropriate level of care for them? We haven`t even really determined whether this is care or not, but do they see a professional?
WELCH: Well, it`s basically comes down to the county, because this is a government, state, county funded program. So, it comes down to the county. And, you know, the selection process as far as how these men get picked to go in here, these men have been to detox hundreds of times. So, they keep the list of that. In terms of, you know, do they see a counselor, addiction counselor, not necessarily. It`s kind of a -- it`s a different kind of process.
PINSKY: It`s a social service. Joe, you were actually in this program. What kind of shape were you in when you got there? And how did you find -- what do you feel about the program?
JOE GUTIERREZ, FORMER WET HOUSE TENANT: Well, I`ll tell you what. I started -- when I got there, I was really a chronic alcoholic. I mean, I was drinking liters every day. And, when I got there, I didn`t know -- I didn`t really know about this place. I checked it out. It was a place to live. I was homeless. I had nowhere to go. I was at my rock bottom.
PINSKY: Did it help you?
GUTIERREZ: This was it for me.
PINSKY: Did it help you?
GUTIERREZ: Well, you know, in a way, it kind of did. Because in a way that I was actually watching myself through other people, and it was really getting me down just thinking about my life in particular. I was actually watching myself --
PINSKY: Joe, there`s a lot packed into what you just said there. So, you watching other people die of alcoholism had an impact on you, but is that a sufficient price for those other people to pay?
GUTIERREZ: No, it`s not. It`s not. It`s not. But unfortunately, these people have nowhere else to go. And I didn`t. And they don`t. And it`s just some place so they don`t have to be out there, you know, I mean picking them up dead on the street corners or anything else. At least, they have a place where they can have at least a little bit of last dignity to themselves, have a place to just call their home.
PINSKY: OK. OK.
GUTIERREZ: You know, that`s what I basically think.
PINSKY: OK, Joe. OK. I understand. William Moyers, we`ve got a few seconds here. Is that sort of social service and dignity a good or bad thing? And we`re going to pick this up after the commercial break. So, just what do you say to this?
WILLIAM MOYERS, V.P. PUBLIC AFFAIRS, HAZELDEN: Well, I think Joe is a prime example of why we shouldn`t give up on addicts and alcoholics, why we should give them opportunity to get well. We shouldn`t write anybody off. I think, in my role at Hazelden, I think, it`s important that we treat people with dignity and respect, and that our ultimate goal should be sobriety, should be abstinence.
I know this in my personal life as well as a recovering alcoholic who had to go through multiple treatments, but I find it hard to believe that this is really an issue of wet and dry. It`s more an issue, for me at least, in my role at Hazelden, is an issue of hopelessness versus hope. And I fear that these places are not what we need to do to foster hope in people to get well. Joe is the exception rather than the rule, and I`d like to see more people like Joe.
PINSKY: Well, and Joe had to watch other people die to have an impact on him. So, the ethics of that bother me. But, Joe, did you get any treatment there?
GUTIERREZ: No, but I was offered to go to this place. It`s up north. It`s called Lake Finola or something. There`s a place -- and a lot of these people do go there, and they do get dry for two to three months at a time, and then, they`re more welcome to come back if they can`t change their lives around.
PINSKY: Are you sober now?
GUTIERREZ: Yes, I am. And I`ve been sober for almost two years now.
GUTIERREZ: And the thing is, though, and listen to me, I know a lot of people die there, but there are 60 people that are supposed to be chronic alcoholics. And in the backyard, we`re allowed to drink. Every month when we get paid, if we`re all chronic and all this and really drinking a lot, only 10 people show up in the backyard at a time in the beginning of the month.
And I`m saying that we`re not out there running the streets, getting drunk, you know, we have a place so we can stay out of the people`s -- we won`t bother nobody. You know, we`re kind of just have our last little -- I don`t know if you want to call it last hurrah or whatever, but we`re offered place other than that, too. And there`s other places. We`re just -- you know, it`s a little bit of dignity so we won`t feel left out in the streets.
PINSKY: OK. Thank you, Joe. I`m glad you`re sober. And, we`ll be back with more on this story. There`s certainly a whole lot more to say about it. So, take a look at this first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOKENBERGER: Sad as it is, I`m grateful to say that people do have the choice to die in a bed, instead of on the street.
PINSKY (voice-over): A place to die? Is that what we really want?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK LOTT, WET HOUSE RESIDENT: It`s clean, comfortable, safe. I`d be in a bad position without a place like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): We`re back talking about controversial so-called wet houses. That man you just saw actually died after living in a wet house. That happened just last week. With me still is Chris Welch, CNN correspondent who has covered the story and William Moyers, vice president of Public Affairs at Hazelden Treatment Center. I don`t know why I have trouble getting that out, but, by the way, William, I would just say it clearly that if people want the highest quality treatment, I fully endorse Hazelden.
They have sort of -- when somebody says where`s the best place in the country to go, that`s where I send them. And Joe Gutierrez, a former tenant who lived in a wet house in St. Paul, Minnesota. Now, Chris, I want to ask you a question. Again, just to clarify these things, hospice, if this were a hospice, the goal would be death with dignity. So, people dying would be a desired outcome.
WELCH: And that is one of their goals.
PINSKY: So long as it happens with dignity. OK. So, they have some hospice objectives, but there`s also something called harm avoidance which I want to get into it a bit, which is where clinicians, clinical people offer people substances as a way of reducing the harmful behaviors associated with addiction. Is that their primary goal?
WELCH: That is not going on. The only way they`re getting alcohol is by going out and buying it and bringing it there, and they`re not being -- basically, they`re not being managed with their alcohol.
PINSKY: But they`re, at least, being encouraged to --
WELCH: Not encouraged, but, you know, you live in a place like this. This is what goes on. Now, it is surprising that a lot of these guys will go days, weeks, some months without drinking, but this gives them a place to be able to stay and not get kicked out on the street when they relapse.
PINSKY: So, William, it brings up this issue of harm avoidance that you and I talked about. And I want to frame this for the audience, which harm avoidance is, again, it`s something that has become an option in the treatment of addiction.
And you should be aware that people like me, who advocate abstinence and 12-step and those sorts of return to a flourishing life and full health, which I see as miracles every day, without drugs and alcohol, people that advocate that are sort of considered like old-fashioned and dinosaurs and the new approach is harm avoidance, where people are given medicines of opiates, anti-anxiety medicines, in this case, alcohol. William, where do you ring in on this issue?
MOYERS: Well, I think harm avoidance is just an easier, softer way to avoid the fundamental issue which is addiction is a disease. It`s a chronic illness, and it kills people if they don`t recover fully from it. And we, at Hazelden, have always practiced this. We may be accused of being a dinosaur or being from the old school as you noted, but the reality is that our modality of treatment does work.
And taking addicts and alcoholics and bringing them where we treat the mind, the body, and the spirit, and a treatment modality that includes complete abstinence and recovery is really the way that works.
PINSKY: I find it interesting, William, that the people that advocate various kinds of -- or again this called replacement therapies where doctor gives medicines that are similar or the same as the one that people have been addicted to that those same doctors, if they got addiction, if a doctor gets addiction, there`s one and only one treatment option and that is abstinence.
MOYERS: That`s right.
PINSKY: Why is it OK to treat our patients differently than the standard we have for ourselves as physicians?
MOYERS: Well, that`s a good question, and I would hope you could answer that question better than, perhaps, than I could because you are a doc and you understand the issue, but I do find that it`s perplexing that we see the damage caused by addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and yet, when it comes to meeting the problem head on, we know that to solve the problem, we have to remove that substance from that person`s life.
So, that it impacts not just them but the community around them. And anything less than complete abstinence, while maybe no bull in its cost is not really effective in terms of good drug policy and good treatment.
PINSKY: Let me point out to my audience as a very controversial issue or two which is getting an addict into sober recovery takes a lot of energy and a lot of resources and a lot of time. And insurance companies kind of like when people just get the medicine and go into outpatient treatment. And so, there`s all kinds of forces at work here that undermine really bringing people back to a flourishing existence. I imagine you were not so pretty when you were in your disease. And now look at you.
MOYERS: Well, I hope I`ve cleaned up a little bit since then, doctor, but I was one of those who could have easily lived in the wet house, although, mine was a crack house in Atlanta back in 1994. And had I been given the option of staying in a crack house or coming out and finding recovery through personal responsibility and long-term treatment, I would have probably stayed in the crack house in my addiction.
PINSKY: That`s really interesting. So, again, it`s the consequences that bring people to treatment very often. And maybe, these wet houses reduce the consequences. I`m interested in Joe to sort of wrap up a bit here, Joe. Somehow, you found your way, though, from this service into recovery. How did that work?
GUTIERREZ: You know what? I was just -- every morning I woke up at 3:30 in the morning needing a drink, sicker than -- you don`t even know. I mean, I wish I had a hangover, OK? Put it that way. I didn`t have a hangover. So, I mean, just one day, I had half of gallon about -- I`d say 3/4 of a half gallon in the bag, and one Sunday I decided to quit. Well, my body couldn`t handle that.
And I fell down, had a seizure, and ended up in the hospital. I got out, just came back to St. Anthony`s, and I had another one. So, they gave me anti-seizure pills. And I just -- from that point on, I said no more drinking, you know? I was just tired and done with it.
PINSKY: All right. So for Joe, it sounds like he hit a bottom. He found a place to live, which was St. Anthony`s, and was interested in recovery. Is that about right, Chris?
WELCH: Yes, yes. And once he had the seizure, it scared him enough to basically want to get help. And St. Anthony gave him a place to live for months while he wasn`t drinking.
PINSKY: Let me just address something. For those who consider that this might be enabling behavior, consider this comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOKENBERGER: I don`t feel this is an enabling at all. This is a harm reduction model that if anything these guys are cutting back on the amount of alcohol, that they are drinking coming in the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Well, I`m actually glad that we played that clip, because that`s actually -- in spite of reading a lot about what the program does and not anybody heard -- I heard anybody say explicitly it`s a harm reduction model, so there you go. And right in the same town with (INAUDIBLE) crazy.
MOYERS: Well, it`s interesting and it`s ironic because there are thousands and thousands of people who recover all across this country particularly in the twin cities, and they recovered by staying abstinent and taking responsibility and learning to pick up the tools of recovery that are critical. And anything less than that is facilitating or closing the door, if you will, on the option that these men and women would have in terms of finding complete abstinence.
PINSKY: Well, thank you, William. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Joe. Interesting conversation.
A teenager has been arrested for ranking his female classmates according to looks and sexual behavior. I`m going to tell you more about that and what I think about it next.
JOY BEHAR, HOST OF "JOY BEHAR SHOW": Hey, Drew. Check out my show tonight. I have the very funny Chelsea Handler on. You know, she says she never apologizes for jokes. I guess, she doesn`t realize that by taking responsibility for our actions, we help rid ourselves of a theme-robbing self-reproach. I`ve read Freud, OK? You`re not the only one interested in psychology, Drew.
PINSKY: Huh? Oh, just remember this, Joy. Chelsea loves vodka. OK. Now, a quick follow-up on our segment on bath salts. Now, yesterday, people seemed to get a little confused. I was talking about a substance that is very similar to MDMA, ecstasy, and amphetamine that people are able to get legally in gas stations and head shops. Basically, it looks like this. you know, just a white powder. I was not talking about bath salts bath salts that you get at the various bath and beyond stores or whatnot.
These are actually things that people if they snort will be in serious trouble. This is a medication. I shouldn`t say medication. This is a substance if people are getting in their hands on that causes paranoia and addiction, and we talked to one of those patients yesterday. It`s a sad story. So, it`s called bath salts. It`s not the same as a bath salt. OK.
Now, I`m about to go off on bullies, too, so listen to this. A 17- year-old former student at Oak Park and River Forest High School near Chicago was arrested just yesterday. He allegedly -- once again, we`re hearing about this -- ranked 50 of his female classmates for their sexual characteristics and alleged sexual behaviors and posted it all on Facebook. Hundreds of copies were apparently printed and distributed through the school during lunch, and the administration finally stepped in. The student withdrew from school soon after the incident occurred in January.
Here`s a portion of the school`s statement tonight. "The sad and troubling experience prompted the school to have a very targeted and deliberate discussion with the OPRS students, faculty, and families about the consequences and impact of bullying, cyber bullying, and sexual harassment, and about the remedies and supports available to those victimized by illegal and hurtful behaviors."
Now, here`s why this story is good. The school is going to review their outreach programs, and most importantly, reinforce the message that kids need to respect everybody. You know, remember, I mentioned when we talked about cyber bullying before, there are five types. There`s the power hungry cyber bullying, which I think this is an example of. There are inadvertent cyber bullies, people just happened to do it accidentally or sort of about of an impulse, revenge of the nerd, so-called, the vengeful angels, people that`s feel justified in doing it.
And the category called the mean girl category. People that do this as sort of a collective, a group, the mean girls do it together, and all of it is sad. It`s all pathetic. The internet has become an environment for bullies to act out anonymously and without consequences. Here`s our job, not to -- first of all, as parents to monitor what our kids are doing and to make sure it`s not our kids doing because it could be. Secondly, not to sit on our hands and to start taking action.
I applaud the school for stepping up and addressing it directly, but really, do I have to keep reporting on cyber bullying every day? Are we going to have to have laws? Is the big brother going to have to step in before we learn to live a civil life together? Just because there`s an anonymous delivery system doesn`t mean we have to be using it. It`s not OK.
It`s been interesting show tonight. I want to thank Mario Lopez for joining me. I hope you learned something. A lot of interesting stuff. Diet, eating disorders, harm avoidance, and addiction. Very important stuff. So please, just keep the conversation going. I want to thank you for watching, and I will see you next time.