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Update on Whitney Houston`s Death
Aired February 15, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Here we go, breaking news, Whitney Houston`s final hours, reports of heavy drinking, chaos, and a mystery man with her in the last days. And Houston`s spotlight now shines on the thing that may have killed her. I am tackling prescription drug abuse and addiction. Plus, breaking the cycle. How do children of addicts escape their parent`s fate? You`ll meet one who did. Let`s get started.
So here I am again, and tonight we are live and I`m hoping to continue to get people to understand this topic, which is something that I have been struggling with on behalf of my patients for a decade and a half, something like that. It`s something I obviously get very excited about. I`ve been criticized for being too aggressive, the presuming things. I`ve been dealing with this for a long, long, long time. And I know a little bit about it, and it`s important and I kind of see this as the health problem of our time, if not certainly one of the most important and it`s taking away our best and brightest.
Now, tonight authorities subpoena Whitney`s doctor, plus breaking news, we have new inside information about the final hours for Whitney Houston. A source said she was seen drinking heavily before she died, which would make sense.
And I`m delighted to welcome to our stage, Nancy Grace. She`s with me live in Hollywood. But we`re going to take a brief look at the latest then get back to Nancy and me.
PINSKY (voice-over): New tonight, the L.A. coroner subpoenas Whitney Houston`s prescriptions. Investigators are closing in on the pharmacies that filled her prescriptions. And this breaking news, a source tells CNN, Whitney was drunk the days heeding up to her death. And consuming alcohol at the Beverly Hilton hotel pool. She reportedly complained to the bartender that her cocktails were being quote, "watered down." Who was the male companion apparently seeing drinking with her in her final days?
Houston will be memorialized Saturday at the same church where she first showcased her voice decades ago. Her funeral will be private, but a single camera will be allowed inside so fans may watch.
PINSKY: So again, we are here live tonight and Nancy joins me.
Nancy, I really appreciate you being here. This is the first time we`ve been together since "Dancing with the Stars" has concluded. And we have not discussed this case yet. And I know you have strong feelings about it.
Let me address the doctor shopping issue here, do you think that`s the problem, that`s what led to her demise?
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST, NANCY GRACE HOST: Well, I don`t think it was doctor shopping in the traditional sense of doctor shopping. I`m hearing reports that the prescription medication in her hotel room, in her body, had her name on it. She was not using aliases to try to get pills from a lot of doctors and a lot of jurisdiction. She was using her name. That doesn`t mean she was using multiple doctors to get -- was not using multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions, which boils down to the same result.
PINSKY: The same result. This is my point. I do not believe she was doctor shopping, you concluded she was not doctor shopping. My thing is, today you don`t need to doctor shop, because look, she had three penzodyme (ph) in medications, allegedly, in her bathroom, valium, a coldezaphan (ph), xanax, a short acting version of valium and lorazepam, a long reacting version of valium.
There s -- I asked Sanjay Gupta this today in Anderson Cooper, there is not a condition on earth you should be having those three medications and I`m of the opinion that no addict should ever be given any one of those ever.
So, don`t we have a big problem with 1500, you know, 100 people a day dying of prescription drug abuse, don`t you see this as a big problem as I do?
GRACE: Yes, I see it as a huge problem, and what I don`t understand is why doctors -- look, it was not a secret. Whitney Houston had discussed it publicly that she had used drugs. I mean, what were these doctors, hiding under a rock?
GRACE: To give her this? And it can stem into investigations like Michael Jackson`s, like Anna Nicole Smith.
PINSKY: Do you think it`s going to, do you think it should, how about that?
GRACE: Depends what the toxicology reports reveal.
PINSKY: Hang on a second. We have now reports -- Don lemon`s going to come on the show later, in fact, after you have to leave. And he`s going to tell us this latest report she was seen consuming quite a bit of alcohol. If you consume that alcohol --
GRACE: Headline for you, that`s not a felony.
PINSKY: None of it is a felony. You`re looking through the legal prism. I`m looking through the addiction prism which is that woman`s life is in danger. Not only is she endangered because she is drinking, because she is chronic drug addict, failed treatment three times. Treated just last May, should not be around alcohol. If seen, she should be hauled into treatment.
I mean, if possible, you give that person benzodyapreme she`s going to stop breathing.
GRACE: Yes. And the reality is that the natural reaction of your eyes, we went under water, we would choke breathing it in and jump out of the water. But she couldn`t. Why is the question.
But the reality is, I took a lot of heat for talking about an investigation was coming down, well, it is. This is the truth. We were right on Monday night when we said that, but I think a lot of people are misinformed and simply don`t understand the system when you go to the coroner`s office and the medical examiner`s office, an autopsy is performed because they don`t know what happens. Natural cause, accident, or foul play.
PINSKY: It`s funny. Both of us brought in the death certificate, here it is. It says deferred, meaning there was nothing at the autopsy that showed cause of death.
GRACE: Such as heart attack or organ failure.
PINSKY: So it means -- I`m going to add the score up. I guess you and I were criticized on "the view" this morning or yesterday morning or something for jumping to conclusions, is that what they were arguing with us about?
GRACE: I don`t know. I was working at that time. I didn`t get to watch "the view."
PINSKY: Pow. Message received. But the fact is that I`m an addictionologist, OK. And if one of my patients had died with pills in the room, seen drinking with the deferred autopsy result, there would be no doubt in my mind what the results are going to be. It is going to be drug- related death.
Now, I don`t care how much span in her system, drugs contributed to the demise, in my opinion, I may be wrong.
GRACE: They say, Dr. Drew, it`s not heart attack, internal organ failure, death by drowning. That would be on there.
PINSKY: That`s right.
GRACE: That`s not on there.
PINSKY: So, we`re waiting for toxicology.
GRACE: Now, what do you think about this, Dr. Drew, what if there was, for instance, a heart attack and they are waiting on toxicology results to tell us that`s why she had the heart attack?
PINSKY: That would have made sense also, that certainly happens, and even if they said coronary artery disease, (inaudible), I would still bet they were going to find a positive toxicology, I would.
The thing that drives me absolutely out of my mind, Nancy, and it`s why I`m getting very aggressive on this program. I have seen to be yelling all the time from my position here. That the people around her didn`t realize how profoundly - how much her life was in danger when they all went she looked great, she was out toasting with champagne. That`s a woman that failed drug treatment three times, believe me in drug treatment they were not saying moderate your alcohol use, abstinence, you`re going to die if you keep drinking. I guarantee that she heard it that a thousand times. And why people around her didn`t know that, didn`t pull her in kills me and why people I try to communicate this to can`t quite get their head around it.
GRACE: They are star struck. It`s not just that, Dr. Drew. In ordinary families like mine and your next door neighbor and your families, everybody knows someone knows with an addiction problem and everyone`s so fearful. They are afraid if you confront them then they`ll reject you and you`ll never be able to reach them again.
PINSKY: Right. And that to me, to back away from that confrontation because of fear of your own hurt feelings, you`re not caring enough about that person.
GRACE: She wasn`t just drinking. In the days - in that morning, apparently, she was talking about how they were watering down her drinks at the pool and getting very upset about it.
PINSKY: Yes, that`s right. No dull reported that --
GRACE: What do you think, some waiter is going to say, Ms. Houston, I read in the Enquirer you have a drug problem. I really don`t you shouldn`t drink. That is not going to happen.
PINSKY: Well, may be God is there is a male companion that -- there she is right there, that was at the pool apparently at the Beverly Hilton hotel. And maybe the male companion was trying to control her consumption. Maybe that was it.
I`m going to throw to something here where Oprah - where Whitney Houston spoke to Oprah Winfrey about the death of Michael Jackson. And I want you to hear this because it is kind err. Check this out from Harpo.
WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER, ACTRESS: I knew he was on painkillers at one time. I didn`t know how far and how deep it was.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Yes.
HOUSTON: I just remember doing the anniversary special, 30th anniversary, and I remember looking at Michael. I remember looking at myself.
WINFREY: That`s when you were so bone thin, you were frail.
HOUSTON: I was, yes, I was getting scared.
WINFREY: Looking at him?
HOUSTON: Yes. I could see myself going, no, I don`t want this to be like this. This can`t happen, not both of us, Mike. I mean, there was other thing that we shared.
WINFREY: You were doing your own drugs at the time, right, that`s why you were so thin, right?
HOUSTON: Yes, but I mean, but there were things that were happening emotionally to me. I was worried.
WINFREY: For him?
HOUSTON: Yes, worried for me, the marriage thing, a lot of things going on. Mike and I were very close.
PINSKY: This just, Nancy, is so sad. I want people to know that to my eye is a sober Whitney Houston. Think how different that is from what you saw the pictures of her out before the Grammys. It`s just -- it`s just breaks my heart.
GRACE: Well, it does. I was about to say, it`s heart breaking, and you`re looking for the right word, and when you`re faced with this, you want to do something in your way, I want to do something in my way, which is find out the truth. I want to find out what doctors prescribed those drugs for her, was it the same doctor?
GRACE: Was somebody laying out her pills, you know, people have the pill things they`ll set them out.
PINSKY: Who was that? I`m with you. All right, Nancy. I`ll keep very close touch with you about this, because I want to know too. Because how else are we going to stop this if we don`t make an example?
I thought Conrad Murray would get through. I thought that would change the trend a little bit, clearly not. How many more? How many more people are we going to have to lose? How many more treasures are going to be taken from us?
Nancy Grace, thank you so much. Obviously, host of "Nancy Grace." I will have you in here whenever you like to join us.
GRACE: Thank you, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: And we will stand firm against Whitney and "the view" ladies, OK?
Coming up, more on Whitney`s final days and later, we are going to talk about Whitney`s daughter, Bobbi Kristina. She apparently told Oprah she was incredibly proud of her mom, but did the child become the mom, the caretaker in the end? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBI KRISTINA BROWN, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S DAUGHTER: Words can`t explain how proud I am of her, really. I`ve been there with her, you know, through everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: I`m here with CNN anchor, Don Lemon. He broke the news tonight that Whitney -- Whitney was seen drinking in the final hours at the Beverly Hilton hotel.
Don, I want to bring you in here, just tell the viewers exactly what you heard, what you`re reporting on.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Not only seen drinking by a very credible source, but seen drinking consuming, considerable amount of alcohol in the days before her death earlier than 10:00 a.m. in the morning, sometimes 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. and overheard by other guests in the hotel who became concerned, Whitney was saying out loud, my drinks are being watered down, you`re putting too much ice in my drinks. She was doing somersaults in the pool and in the pool area.
PINSKY: And there was a guy with her, some a man or this female there? What if he was watering the drinks down, is it possible he was trying to control all his?
LEMON: I think when the drinks came, she was complaining that they weren`t strong, I sense. That`s what it was, that`s the bottom line.
PINSKY: And so, here she was - that`s a picture of her at the hotel we`re showing right now. So, this is something sad. This is really a very sad tale.
LEMON: It is a very sad tale, but many people will look at it as a negative conversation and you`re focusing on the negative. This is a positive conversation, people need to know -- you know this as a doctor. You need to know the behavior, and addiction people are really just in denial about it a lot.
PINSKY: The bottom line is, seen somebody like that, failed treatment before, take them right away. I got to get to my panel, sit back here.
But first, I want you to look at Whitney in better days as we should remember her. Thank you, Don.
(WHITNEY HOUSTON`S VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
PINSKY: And again, we are live tonight. And you`re looking there at you tube video of Whitney Houston as a teenager singing. I don`t think that`s what that was, is that her singing in a choir?
Be it as it may, when I`m looking at tonight is footage of her that stands out in bold relief against of what we see in these final days and somebody should have noticed that.
I`m joined by senior executive editor of radaronline.com, Dylan Howard, model and actress, also recovering addict, Jennifer Jimenez. She is also a spokesperson for clean center. And Whitney`s friend, recording artist Nicci Gilbert.
Now Nicci, you were there with her Thursday night. Did you see this behavior being reported by Don?
NICCI GILBERT, RECORDING ARTIST, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S FRIEND: You know, we are really talking about this Thursday night, and I understand exactly why, because we lost someone very near and dear, but I just have to keep going back to the fact that on Thursday night, what I saw, and let me stand, again, On the Record and say I was not toasting champagne with Whitney Houston.
PINSKY: She was. I heard a bunch of people report that.
GILBERT: You know, we were all having a good time, champagne was flowing, I was not monitoring anybody`s champagne at all. I drank water and juice and that was sort of the extent of it for me.
PINSKY: Dylan, you heard something different?
DYLAN HOWARD, SENIOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RADARONLINE.COM: Be that as it may, Stacey Francis, the woman that she was in sit in to a confrontation with on Thursday night went to night club. Wait and spoke to a British newspaper today and I wanted to read you this, Dr. Drew, she said that "Whitney was out of control. She put her hand in my face. She was screaming at me and called me a b-i-t-c-h. She just went crazy like Jekyll and Hyde. I turned to look at her, she pushed my forehead and I turned my face away. I grabbed here and I said please don`t do this, you`re everything to me." She then went on to say that Whitney went on to down shots of tequila.
JENNIFER JIMENEZ, MODEL, ACTRESS: You said something so key here, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it`s so typical in addicts.
PINSKY: Well Jennifer, Jennifer. You talked to it last night about our history together. I`ve seen you behave like that.
PINSKY: When you were using -- I bet you have no recollection of it, virtually no recollection. You have some?
JIMENEZ: I remember chairs being thrown, I remember, you know, being angry, kicking and screaming.
PINSKY: Could people have taken you aside and say we need you to go to meetings? We got to get you back at the treatment?
PINSKY: No, I actually went to meetings high.
GILBERT: And I just want to add to what Stacey Francis said to the tabloids, there were probably 700 to a thousand people. We were sitting in VIP. I was maybe two or three coach sofas away from her.
Of all the people that were at this event, my question is, didn`t show up on anybody`s cell phone camera. If there was an education, and Whitney just lost her mind and win ham. Don`t you think of all the people that were there watching her sitting in VIP having a good time, don`t you think there would be one bit of cell phone footage somewhere showing Whitney Houston getting into an altercation with another woman?
HOWARD: I agree with you, I think that`s a fair argument. But at the same, it would be disingenuous about this that we`re praising her final moments and not looking at the root of the problem here. And I do say that for three months beforehand, sources telling us at "Today" that Whitney had fallen off the wagon. Indeed, I can tell you this, at a nightclub on January 2 here in Hollywood, called playhouse, she was drinking champagne and cognac. People say that she actually fell off the wagon significantly after months of sobriety in 2011.
PINSKY: Jennifer, how do we get people to understand the moment she picked up that glass and was toasting, she was --
JIMENEZ: She lost choice.
PINSKY: She was on her way.
JIMENEZ: You lose choice. The minute you take that first drink or first drug, you`re no longer in control. You have free -- the freedom of choice is gone. And how do we do that? There`s so many different ways you can get better and that you can stay better.
PINSKY: But when you`re in that state -- I have people who light see - I only got ten seconds left.
JIMENEZ: (Inaudible). I mean, you can be adamant, you can stop enabling, and enabling is seriously like the key here.
PINSKY: There we go. I`ve got much more to all of this coming up. I`m also going to be taking your questions and calls about abuse of prescription.
Plus, Whitney`s good mother, Aretha Franklin slated to sing at her funeral, but will Bobby Brown be banned? we are going to talk about some allegations and maybe some Houston family drama up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOBBY BROWN, SINGER, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S EX-HUSBAND: I would like to say, I love you, Whitney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And tonight we have new information about Whitney Houston`s final days and her funeral on Saturday. We know the man who married Whitney and Bobby Brown, gospel singer, Marvin (Inaudible) will give the eulogy. The queen of soul, Whitney`s god mother, Aretha Franklin will sing a tribute.
But will Bobby Brown be there, her ex-husband?
Back with me is senior executive editor of radaronline.com, Dylan Howard.
Dylan, any information, update on Bobby - I seems like to be sad for his daughter if he can`t go to this thing.
HOWARD: Well, the issues you see is then back to 2003 when Bobby Brown was charged with misdemeanor battery associated with battle confrontation with Whitney Houston just a few years later she filed for divorce. It`s the sticking point in his relationship with her surviving family members. They don`t want him to go to the funeral. Of course, as her daughter to get there, 18-year-old, Bobbi Kristina. He wants to be there to support her.
As of yesterday though, after flying back from middle America and performing on Saturday night, he had not seen his daughter, a daughter who has been plagued by --
PINSKY: Wait a minute, since the death of Whitney. Bobby has not been with his daughter?
HOWARD: Family members said to have been precluding him from being able to see his daughter.
PINSKY: OK. So, there`s somebody was getting in the way of it. It wasn`t just his --
HOWARD: No, he wants to see her, but he`s being prevented.
PINSKY: I heard the grandmother is figuring very prominently, which may be the salvation for this girl.
HOWARD: There`s one way to describe it. It was a toxic marriage that these two had.
PINSKY: We saw it, we saw it on TV, it was on a reality show, terrible.
HOWARD: Dotted with drug use and dotted with domestic violence and the legacy of that still shines very brightly to this day.
PINSKY: And you said in the days leading up to her death, there were multiple physician visits, doctor visits.
HOWARD: Yes. one of this information today, Dr, Drew, that Whitney Houston obtained it, a doctor. I don`t know if it was the same doctor, but a doctor three times over a period of eight days.
PINSKY: So, three physician visits. We know, one of them was an ear, nose, and throat doctor.
HOWARD: According to an "X-Factor" contestant who said that she was there at the time that it was a throat doctor.
PINSKY: I think he is kind going On the Record because he did not give her anything.
PINSKY: But, whether or not, if all three visits were him, we do not know.
HOWARD: So, this was - and the last visit was 48 hours before she was found dead. Of course, that is now the focus of this death probe, the coroner`s investigation today launching subpoenas for doctors and physicians and pharmacists to establish who gave what and when to Whitney.
PINSKY: Let`s talk for a second about people we can save, that we can learn from this. I mean, Demi Moore is a narrow brush, same outcome. And she went - I heard to circle lodge, it was an excellent treatment program, she didn`t stay?
HOWARD: Very conflicting reports. We understood she went to circle lodge. Then there are other reports that she went to a facility by Deepak Chopra, run by Deepak Chopra. That, we don`t know where she is. Her reps have been silent where she is and with good reason to be silent.
PINSKY: But, here is someone who will die as well unless she gets in the program thoroughly. It`s thoroughly involved --
HOWARD: She`s not immune to what these legends suffered, Britney Murphy, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston.
PINSKY: I made a list. I made a list, Dylan, the list of the recent deaths, look how long the list is. You know who was not on here were two of couple of my patients, Jeff Conway and Mike Star, who I begged not to see doctors.
Mike Star, I spoke to him two weeks before he was dead. He said he had backed me and I said please, sees a physical therapy, see a cardiologist (ph). Bo not goes to a doctor. Two weeks later he was dead but with opiates at his bedside.
HOWARD: You know, I hinted at this before. We, as a mediocre, are being criticized for almost dancing on the grave of Whitney Houston by having this conversation. I think this conversation has to be had.
PINSKY: I agree with you. Listen, I`m very passionate about this. I have been fighting this trend for many years. Dylan, thank you for that update.
Next up, I`m going to take your questions and calls live. This is live, live tonight, about this issue that matters to me, it should matter to you. It`s a common problem. If you want to know more about my concerns, I`m kind of angry about too regarding this problem, go on over to hlnTV.com. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): The spotlight in the Whitney Houston investigation shines on the thing that may have killed her, prescription drug abuse. From Hollywood to hometown America, it is killing our friends, parents, and our kids. But there is a solution that could save the people you love.
And later, what about Whitney`s daughter? How does a parent`s addiction impact a child? I`m talking to someone who escaped the cycle of addiction in her family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): All right. Welcome back. Now, I`m very excited about this little segment. As I said, we are live, live. We`re going to take a live phone calls, and your Facebook and Twitter, whatever else might come our way. I want to open with this little piece of information, a little fact away, that 100 people in our country died today and each and every day from prescription drug overdoses.
Most of them, again, prescription drugs, some of them may be illicit drugs, most prescription drugs. In the past 24 hours, check this out, more than 2,500, that is 2,500 children age 12 to 17 will misuse a painkiller illicitly for the first time. 2,500 kids a day. Do you think that`s OK? Do we have a problem here? The data is stunning.
Again, the deaths from prescription drug overdose, accidental, it`s not intentional overdose, people aren`t trying to kill themselves, exceeds cocaine and heroin combined. It is more likely to cause death than accidents for young people. Right. So, this whole thing has caused a lot of questions and comments about this issue.
So, let`s look at the bottom of your screen here for some of the stats. We`re going to continue to put this in perspective. I kind of see it as the problem of our time, medical problem of our time. Let`s go to the phones. Mindy`s on the line from Las Vegas, Nevada. Hey, Mindy.
MINDY, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey there.
MINDY: Hi. How are you?
PINSKY: I`m good. What can I do for you?
MINDY: I actually -- I have quite a few family members who are addicted to prescribed pills, and it actually -- my dad died of an accidental drug overdose when I was 18 --
PINSKY: I am so, so sorry. So sorry. You can really relate to her daughter, yes.
MINDY: Yes. Absolutely. We were the same age. Yes. It was real hard. And after he passed away, myself, I got addicted to prescription pills.
PINSKY: Oh, boy.
MINDY: Yes. But luckily, I got through it, and you know, I really blame the doctors, I really do. Because the doctors, they don`t spend time with the patients anymore. They -- they just, you know, write the prescription and leave them, let them go.
PINSKY: You`re right, my dear, a couple of things. I blame the system, because the system encourages doctors to just be prescribers rather to spend time building the relationship. When I`m treating addiction, it is hard work, and it takes time. And you have to stand firm with that person.
You have to be there with them while they go through these very painful experiences as opposed to just go and, you`re right, you`re anxious, you have a leg pain, I`ll take care of you, here`s your med, on you go.
And by the way, the happiest patients on earth, when you give an addict painkillers, you know, Mindy, you know, your Dad I`m sure worked doctors, you know? I`m sure you did too. You know, you came back and told them you never felt better and stuff, but it`s incumbent upon us as physicians to know that you have addiction and give you appropriate referral. Are you sober now?
MINDY: Yes, I am.
PINSKY: God bless you. Congratulations. Well done. Thank you for bringing that up. I`m going to get to an e-mail now from someone anonymous who is a psych nurse. She says, "I`m a psych nurse. Some doctors who prescribe Suboxzone believe addicts have anxiety, which they do, and gave script for benzos to help. If you didn`t agree, you were told you were cruel."
That`s what people say about me, that I`m cruel for not treating their anxiety and pain which goes away, by the way, when we treat their addiction. Stop, please, I want to keep reading her piece there.
"Trying to teach the patient any other method usually failed," not necessarily, "but I hope they`ll eventually realize what we discussed. These doctors truly believed they were helping," which is, in fact, something, I think, people to keep in mind, that the physicians that are doing -- prescribing this, they are not mean spirited or trying to harm someone. They want to help.
They think they`re helping. They just don`t understand addiction. And that`s why I get so excited about this. That`s why I`m trying to get this word out here, that if you have addiction if you`ve ever been like Whitney, you failed treatment a few times and you are drinking or your doctor is giving you pills, go back to treatment. That`s all I`m saying.
I`ve got Linda from Texas. Linda, go on ahead.
LINDA, TEXAS: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Linda.
LINDA: What my doctor does to control drug abuse should be followed by all doctors, in my opinion. I see a rheumatologist for RA, Dr. Phillip Waller in Houston.
LINDA: And I do take pain meds, but I take them responsibly, I have to add. However, --
PINSKY: But you`re not an addict. You see? It`s not about responsible -- Jennifer Gimenez said something very important back here in my panel. She said, you lose control. You lose the option at that point of being in control if you`re an addict. And by the way, I agree with you. I agree with you my dear.
I think that -- I think it`s Linda. That`s Linda. I agree with you that the drug testing and the careful monitoring when you`re in complex situations where people need pain meds and may or may not be addicted have to be so, so rigorously monitored and a lot of people don`t have resources for that kind of thing. So, I`m glad for you and hope your rheumatoid arthritis is in remission, is it doing OK?
LINDA: Well, you know, back and forth, but he gives you a drug test when you go to his office.
PINSKY: Good. You`re in drug test. That`s the only objective test we have for addiction. That`s all we got. We`ve got nothing else. I got a Facebook -- thank you for calling, my dear. This is from robin. "I`m sick to death of everyone in the media blaming and pointing fingers everywhere but where it belongs? It belongs squarely with the addict. I`m not ignorant to the disease of addiction. I have 40 years of sobriety from heroin and speed."
Well, you know, I can`t really argue with that, because that is a very hard core opinion, frankly, and, it`s a tough opinion. It`s one as a physician, I can`t take. I can`t blame the patient, even though, yes, they have some responsible. Here`s the way I say it. They`re not responsible for their condition, they`re responsible for their recovery.
And I think you would agree with me on that. And I know recovering people can be very hard core about it. And, keep going, because need you in there fighting on behalf of the people that are willing to get the message.
Another e-mail from Theresa. "I am heart broken myself." Oh, boy. This -- oh, my gosh! "My son died on Saturday. He just got his prescription meds in the mail from his doctor. The coroner believes it was an accident. I know it wasn`t on purpose. Our family is heartbroken." Oh, my goodness, these stories.
Just letting you know, I`m sure you do, things are bad out here in the Midwest too. I mean, everybody, come on. I mean, this is Theresa. That`s why we`re doing this story. That`s why I get so excited about this story. I have to hear these stories all the time. And as I said a few minutes ago with Dylan, my patients who have addiction, when they die, die of prescription drug death.
I`ve literally begged them -- now, this is where the responsibility lies with the addict, begged them not to see doctors. They go in to say, I`m an addict, but I got back pain. I can`t sleep. And not understanding the implication, Mike Starr, I begged him. I begged him. Two weeks later, he was dead, back pain. Saw a doctor, that`s it.
Kathy on the line from Oregon. Go ahead, Kathy.
KATHY, OREGON: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Kathy. Thanks for calling.
KATHY: Yes. You`re welcome. I have a daughter who was on Vicodin for six or seven years. And she went to a methadone clinic for several more years. She got a job, got insurance. They put her on (INAUDIBLE). She ran out of insurance, and now, she`s getting methadone off the streets.
PINSKY: Oh, boy.
KATHY: And I, myself, worked at a treatment center, and I don`t think that we believe in methadone.
PINSKY: Yes, but I don`t want to take issue with various treatment approaches, it`s pretty complicated. You know, methadone for some people is life saving, let`s face it. It is put as (ph) hell to get off of that stuff. It`s very difficult. I couldn`t practice medicine on methadone. It impairs you. So, I don`t like it if somebody has a potential of returning to a flourishing life with abstinence.
But, the bigger issue that you bring up here is that there are no resources for the treatment of addiction. There are no real resources to do the time consuming work of struggling with people with this condition. And they can be difficult. They can be pain in the butt, let`s face it. You`ve worked in it, right, you worked in the field.
So, -- but you`ve got to know what`s on the other side for these people, that there`s a glorious recovery there for them if you`re willing to fight for it and not just prescribe it. It breaks my heart. I really appreciate the call.
Should I do one more Facebook? OK. This is Beth Ann. She says, "Some of us really need our meds. My doctor is vigilant, but I worry what would happen if they outlawed even legal distribution."
Here`s what I want you to know. That will not happen. It is not what I`m talking about here. I am not advocating that people suffer. Pain medicines, when they are appropriately used and carefully monitored, these are one of the greatest advances in the history of medicine. The great advances of medicine is vaccination, sanitation, and we can reduce suffering. We can reduce suffering.
The problem is, and this is the part that gets missed, it`s so gratifying to reduce suffering as a physician that you don`t pay attention to that other side. You have to pay vigilant attention to triggering something else and then know what to do once you`ve triggered addiction. You got to get that person help, and what`s chronic like in Whitney`s case, it needs extensive help.
It needs months or maybe even years of daily supportive care. And again, Whitney Houston had resources for that. I wonder how many people out there even have resources to do what they need, and that`s another gigantic problem that I just hope will raise awareness of tonight and really talk about this.
OK. Up next, there are troubling reports that Whitney Houston was partying, as we`ve heard now. Dylan reported it, Don Lemon reported it, but she was partying -- again, partying is code for using, with her teen daughter, Bobbi Kristina, in the days preceding her death. We`re going to talk about the children of addicts when we come back, so stay on with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER: I make too much money to ever smoke crack, let`s get that straight, OK, we don`t do crack. We don`t do that. Crack is whack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was Whitney Houston with ABC`s Diane Sawyer in 2002. Sadly, that phrase "crack is whack" has become synonymous with Whitney. The behavior of addicts impacts everyone around them, but most profoundly, oftentimes, their children.
In 2009, and I want you all to look at this, this interview, I think this is the one we saw earlier, this is a sober Whitney in my mind as compared to 2002 where she didn`t quite look sober to me. She talked to -- Oprah talked to Whitney about her tumultuous relationship with Bobby Brown, drugs, and the bitter separation that left their daughter in the middle. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: Do you feel that she, even doing that, taking her out of the house, that she saw too much, she heard too much, experienced too much?
HOUSTON: She saw enough. Spitting in the face was enough. She said mom, did he spit in your face? And I looked in her eyes and she looked in mine, and I said yes, but it`s all right. She said, no, it`s not. It`s not mommy. It`s not all right. I just said, if you can do me a favor, just do this for mommy. I`m going to put my trust in God and you put your trust in me. You may not understand it now, but just trust me. I`m not letting you go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Yes, everybody, tune your eye and your instinct to what you`re seeing there. That is a sober Whitney Houston as compared to even that 2002 interview or what we`ve seen in these videos we`re watching of the days leading up to her death.
Joining me is Nicci Gilbert, a friend of Whitney Houston and also knew Bobbi Kristina quite well. (INAUDIBLE) chronicled growing up with addicted parents and her "New York Times" best-seller book, "Braking Night." And Melanie Bromley is the L.A. bureau chief for "Us Weekly." Her magazine is reporting that Whitney spent her final days in, what`s being called, a manic round of hard partying with Bobbi Kristina in tow. Melanie, can you tell me about that?
MELANIE BROMLEY, LOS ANGELES BUREAU CHIEF, US WEEKLY: Well, the reporting that we`ve had in is just that on the Thursday night before the Saturday that she was partying with Bobbi Kristina --
PINSKY: There`s a code there, partying. Does that mean using substances? What does that mean, partying, little hat on and party favors?
BROMLEY: Well, what we have printed is doing shots of tequila with her daughter.
PINSKY: OK. Now, why isn`t there a legal problem with that? She`s an 18-year-old, right, not a 21-year-old.
BROMLEY: Yes, there is. And then, also, on the Friday night, the two of them were in the hotel bar together as well.
PINSKY: So -- go ahead. I just want to make clear that the Hilton hotel will have security footage of them serving a minor? I think they`ve got some explaining to do.
NICCI GILBERT, WAS WITH WHITNEY TWO NIGHTS BEFORE HER DEATH: I`d like to see that too. And also, like they had -- where is this information coming from? She was in the bathtub with her daughter. I mean, I think, you know, we keep rehashing sort of -- all of the -- the turn of events from the last few nights. Where was that individual that we`ve been talking about, Dr. drew --
PINSKY: The one fighting?
GILBERT: Well, no. Not that individual, that was fighting. That individual, that imaginary individual that the label or whoever the people are who said Whitney Houston, why don`t you come on down and have a good time during the Grammys. We understand that there may be an issue. So, I`m thinking that maybe a sponsor --
PINSKY: So, that might have been --
GILBERT: I`m suggesting that.
PINSKY: But somebody told her to come to the hotel, you mean? Why aren`t they stepping forward?
GILBERT: Oh, what I`m saying is that people have the information that she was in the tub with her daughter, why didn`t those people, whoever they are so intimately involved in that situation, have someone there at that time?
PINSKY: I agree with you. I`m totally with you on that.
GILBERT: I mean, you know, that`s the whole thing. We have to have someone there. What about the sponsorship? You know, you know, we`ve known she did an interview with Oprah Winfrey a very long time ago.
Why isn`t there a sponsor there constantly, consistently so that it doesn`t become the job of her friends, so that it doesn`t or her daughter or here parents, someone there who is specifically assigned to look out for Whitney Houston.
PINSKY: I absolutely agree with you.
BROMLEY: And what we`ve been told from sources is that their relationship was very much less of a mother/daughter but more of a kind of friendship. You know, Bobbi Kristina loved her mother.
PINSKY: Nicci saw them. Is that what you saw?
GILBERT: Yes. No, I didn`t see a relationship that was a friendship. I saw a very loving mother/daughter relationship. I think to say that --
PINSKY: You saw her being a mom.
GILBERT: I saw her being a mom. To say that -- I saw her looking out for her daughter. When you go into a club and there are a thousand extra people, she`s making sure, she`s looking back to make sure Bobbi Kristina is OK.
PINSKY: She`s being a mom.
GILBERT: She`s being a mom. So, to say that she wasn`t being a mom and Bobbi Kristina was --
PINSKY: All right. Hold on, guys. I`m glad you said that. Now, Liz, you lived with addicted parents, and I imagine you had experiences where you were parentalized, where you were serving the function of parent. What`s your perspective on all this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, definitely, and I appreciate so much that you say she was being a mom, because I think what`s missing from this conversation so often is seeing somebody who happens to be addicted to drugs as a human being, as a person who loves their child as a parent, even the word drug addict makes me sick.
I think about it. It`s a human being with a disease called drug addiction, and my perspective on that is that we need to think about this. Everyone`s trying to assign blame. Everyone`s fiery and angry, and snarky, and like jackals (ph) about gossip with this. This is a tragedy.
And this woman, this mother had a disease. And I think we need to back up and see it from that perspective. Everything else to move from there. We wouldn`t treat somebody with cancer this way. You see what I mean?
PINSKY: I absolutely agree with you, Liz. I mean, this is -- and people just don`t get their head around the fact that this is a brain disease. It`s a chronic illness, requires daily management, and it has relapse associated with it, and during those relapses, there`s no telling how somebody can behave. You have something to say, Melanie?
BROMLEY: I was just going to say, though, her daughter, who also publicly has the same gene.
PINSKY: Possibly, 50 percent probability, I`d say.
BROMLEY: To be around that behavior, what is it showing the daughter?
GILBERT: Obviously, it`s a very sad situation across the board, but again, we keep talking about, like we did with Michael Jackson, God rest his soul. We keep talking about the nights before, the days leading up to the death. When are we going to start having real conversations when they come in the door?
You have a glam squad, you have a make-up artist, you have a hairstylist, you have this team of people that will answer your every prayer. Where is the person who is counseling you? Where is the person like Dr. Drew, and I think you should lead the charge, saying to the future artists, hey, wait a minute, where are you mentally.
PINSKY: Here I am again Nicci, seem to give you a standing ovation every night, and I`m doing it again.
GILBERT: Thank you.
PINSKY: You`re singing to the choir here. It`s all stuff that I love what you`re saying, but let`s just think about it this way. We`ve got for instance, poor Demi Moore out there in treatment, she left treatment. I just heard from Dylan tonight. She`s now at somewhere else. I mean, there`s one we can save, but we have to get them into the program.
They have to embrace this as a part of their life. They have to commit to it, and sometimes, they won`t do it. That is their responsibility. When they won`t do the treatment, that`s where I hold the addicts accountable. I have to go to break, ladies. Thank you so much. Melanie, Nicci, Liz, thank you. I really appreciate your guys` comments.
You all stay with us. We`re going to try to wrap this up when we get back.
PINSKY: When Whitney Houston separated from Bobby Brown in 2006, she told Oprah that conflict arising from their mutual drug use, which indeed, they were both using, was what led to their breakup. Houston also talked about comforting her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, during that time. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOUSTON: I said, if you can do me a favor, do this for mommy. I`m going to put my trust in God, you put your trust in me. You may not understand it now, but just trust me. I`m not letting you go. I`m not letting you go. I will hold on to you with my dear life. Just trust me. We will get up out of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Joining me now to try to put a little coat on this, Jennifer Gimenez. She appeared with me on VH1 "Celebrity Rehab." She`s also a spokesperson at the Clean Center. Jennifer, I wanted someone here at the end who has been where Whitney was and one of the lucky ones to make it out and flourish. What is your take on this? What do we do with this? How do we make sense of all this?
JENNIFER GIMENEZ, FORMER SUBSTANCE ABUSER: I mean, you know, I got to tell you, I`m so passionate about recovery. Without recovery, I have nothing.
PINSKY: You would be dead, too.
GIMENEZ: I would be dead. You know, I mean, I was a hopeless case. You know, some of us prove people wrong. And I beat the odds, and I`m lucky for just today. And I have a lot of yesterdays combined in a row now.
PINSKY: Thank God.
GIMENEZ: Thank God, but only because I have worked hard, and there is people that didn`t give, you know, co-sign my BS, basically, and they stopped enabling me and they told me to sit down and shut up and to listen to what, you know, they have to say. And I would say, well, my thinking is, and they`re like your thinking got you here.
PINSKY: When your thinking was affected by the drugs you were taking, and even when you come off the drugs for 12 months or so, it`s still affecting your thinking.
PINSKY: And by the way, to some extent affects your thinking today.
GIMENEZ: Absolutely. And that`s why I still run things by. I have a group. I call them my towers. They`re my confidants. I run things by people. I don`t make decisions just on my own anymore. You know, I don`t have to do this alone --
PINSKY: Because your brain is now the influence of this thing we call addiction even though you`re not using.
GIMENEZ: I still think I would lie to you if I said that I didn`t ever think about drinking or using, especially not using. But, you know, I want to say like, I stopped learning to cope a long time ago. You know, and a lot of us, addicts, in recovery and out there using, we don`t have coping skills.
And that`s just a fact, you know? And it`s like -- it says, like, oh, maybe you can have another drink. You know, I can`t imagine never drinking another glass of champagne again ever, not just for today I don`t have to.
PINSKY: Some my recovering friends and patients told me the love, the connection, the drive to use is more powerful than almost any other, let`s called it love in your life. Not that you don`t love your family or you don`t love your job, but it just has a priority, drugs and alcohol.
GIMENEZ: It allowed me to get up in the morning. It gave me reason to want to do something and like get out of bed to go use again. I mean, it told me that without it, I have nothing.
PINSKY: You couldn`t survive. You have nothing.
GIMENEZ: And you used to tell me that as well, but you there`s people out there that are struggling, and you know what the sad thing is is that America, the nation, the world --
PINSKY: I`m going to stop you. Here`s the sad thing, there`s a woman alongside of you in those pictures that is no longer with us, and that`s a treasure and that`s a sad thing. And what really got to me tonight, I got just a few seconds, but seeing her sober, we saw her sober. You and I both agreed in that Oprah interview, there was a sober Whitney and what a glorious person.
GIMENEZ: And there`s another parent -- I do want to tell you, some of us do recover. I know my mom, she sees me sober. And people, there`s a lot of people out there like that. And there`s a lot of people dying, and I just hope that people just stop enabling everybody.
PINSKY: Stop and listen. That`s what we hope tonight. You just take this all in, think about it, raise your awareness about these things, keep watching, I`ll keep tackling. We`ll see you next time.