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George Huguely Guilty of Second Degree Murder; L.A. Schools Child Sex Scandal: What`s Going On?; Max Adler: "Glee`s" Bullying Jock
Aired February 22, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, "ISSUES": Jane Velez-Mitchell here with Breaking News of verdict in the lacrosse murder case.
George Huguely, the first lacrosse star, found guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Yeardly Love, a fellow lacrosse player at the University of Virginia.
Now, a secondary murder means it was a non-premeditated killing according to the jury. He was also found guilty of grand larceny, but the shocker, he was found not guilty of a slew of other counts, including breaking and entering to commit larceny, breaking and entering and robbery, so we`re going to have complete coverage. Keep it here on HLN for the very latest.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Child sex predators in the classroom. What does the L.A. abuse scandal mean for your kids and your school district and how do we fix what seems to be a broken system?
Then from bully to victim, I`m talking to the actor at the center of "Glee`s" most dramatic episode to date.
Plus, some say rehab might have saved Whitney Houston, but how much do you really know about treatment? I`ll be speaking to someone who`s been there, Andy Dick.
Let`s get started.
Thanks for joining us.
Tonight, there`s new news in the Los Angeles teacher sex scandal. Another teacher has been implicated, which has me asking, you know, are the predators being protected and how do the accused continue to get jobs around children?
So we`re hearing about Berndt, who you see one of the gentlemen next to me in that picture, was paid during the time he`s being investigated, and then paid to go away. And then this latest case, George Hernandez was rehired as a substitute teacher after the schools apparently knew about serious allegations against him. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): L.A. schools and child sex abuse, system broken. One sickening allegation after another, most recently, George Hernandez, an elementary school substitute teacher, changes districts after his third child sex investigation. Police then find video they say shows him molesting a second grade girl and Hernandez flees to Mexico.
Mark Berndt, accused of photographing heinous bondage and sexual abuse of students in class, paid $40,000 to drop a lawsuit after being fired.
Martin Springer, accused of molesting a young girl moved to his class from Berndt`s after parents complained about creepy photos Berndt allegedly took of her.
What is going on here? Are they ignoring the problem, looking the other way, and even covering for child molesters? How do we turn our schools back into the place where kids are protected rather than abused?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Joining me tonight to discuss this, CNN Education Contributor, Dr. Steve Perry, he`s principal of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School.
And an attorney for 10 of the alleged victims of Brian Claypool - excuse me, Brian Claypool, you represent some of the victims out there, and particularly, this second grader that was apparently allegedly abused by Hernandez.
What`s on these tapes? Can you talk about it?
BRIAN CLAYPOOL, ATTORNEY FOR 10 ALLEGED VICTIMS: I haven`t seen the tapes themselves, with pertaining to Hernandez?
CLAYPOOL: Yes, I haven`t seen the tapes themselves, but I`m sure they were, you know, lurid tapes.
PINSKY: With him with a second grader, right?
PINSKY: And he was rehired by the school in spite of these serious allegations against him?
CLAYPOOL: It doesn`t surprise me. There`s an epidemic at the Los Angeles Unified School District. They fail to remove unfit teachers, who are a potential harm to kids. They just do not remove them.
PINSKY: How is that possible? That`s what I keep asking myself. How is -
You know, listen, I think we should have deep reverence for teachers. They are not paid enough. We don`t give them enough. I have great respect for them.
But I get this feeling that the legal structure, the encumbrances around teachers, whether it`s the union or the administrative structure or the California laws, something is preventing administrators from doing their jobs, it seems like to me.
CLAYPOOL: No question about it.
The teacher`s union in California is the second largest in the state. The contract between the Los Angeles Unified School District and the union is thousands of pages thick. Within that contract, there are a couple hundred pages that actually speak to the issue of how teachers can keep their jobs.
PINSKY: So even if they are accused of something outrageous, they still keep their jobs. Now, again, I can see both sides of this story.
I mean, people can start making erroneous allegations, you know, spurious allegations towards teachers, and those have happened, right? So teachers need to be protected on one hand. On the other, are we just seeing a union that`s gone to far? Is that what we`re talking about here?
CLAYPOOL: I think you have two problems. You have a union that`s gone too far, number one, and then you have a school district that`s more concerned about its image over the well-being of the kids.
PINSKY: Well, I heard today that a new - there`s a new administrator over L.A. Unified who had said this would have never happened under his watch because he`s instituted some changes, do you know what those changes are?
CLAYPOOL: Well, I believe he`s installed a new principal I think at one at Miramonte School.
CLAYPOOL: That might have been one of the changes. I think he removed most of the teachers from the school and brought -
PINSKY: But that`s sort of - that`s sort of, you know, procedural. I mean, it`s - I don`t know, it doesn`t change the substance of what has gone on and why it went on. Is he going to change the relationship with the students, the teachers union, do you think?
CLAYPOOL: Absolutely not. You have - it`s an epidemic. It`s an institutional problem that exists in this school district and probably happening nationwide. You`ve got to start with this contract between the union and the L.A. - the Los Angeles Unified School District.
PINSKY: Well, I want to go to Steve Perry, who is not in L.A. Unified. And you said this is a nationwide issue. Steve, what city and state are you in?
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Hartford, Connecticut.
PINSKY: Hartford, Connecticut. Can you appreciate what Mr. Claypool is talking about here? Does that resonate for you in any way?
PERRY: Oh, absolutely. What happens is through this process, this called due process, the teacher is, of course, presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and what happens is even if they were fired for cause, we as the recipient district wouldn`t know what the cause was.
So if I were to hire this guy and if he wasn`t - if it wasn`t a criminal offense but just something real creepy that the school district felt he shouldn`t be able to do anymore, then I as a receiving principal wouldn`t know.
PINSKY: Does that prevent you from doing your job?
PERRY: Nothing prevents me from doing my job. And that`s part of the problem here. I`m the first person to say that the unions are behind a lot of the foolishness that`s happening in our schools, however, this boils down to an administrator doing her or his job.
You see what`s going on inside the school. You can see, Drew, with - with real surety the certain posture that a faculty member takes when talking to a child that sometimes looks a little more familiar than it should. You can see things that they`re doing and you as the administration - administrator have to come in there and make decisions, pull that person aside and say listen, partner, I don`t know if that`s what you meant, but it didn`t look the way I want my teachers to look or my security officers to look, so you need to cut that out.
That alone is a shot across the bow to let everybody know that this stuff is not OK, and too often we as administrators are not very good leaders and not effective in our job. It`s very easy. I am among the first to say that the unions have made a heap of mess in our schools, but in this particular situation, the administrators have to come in and do their doggone job.
PINSKY: Brian, you want to respond on that?
CLAYPOOL: Yes. And Steve, there`s also a code of silence I know out here in Los Angeles among the teachers.
PERRY: You`re absolutely right.
CLAYPOOL: They will not - they will not speak up, and they tend to protect other teachers out here, and that`s a problem as well. And another big problem we have here is the failure to document personnel files. Like you were talking about, there`s a complaint lodged against a teacher, and the teacher`s not prosecuted. I know out here in the Miramonte scandal, they removed that complaint from Mr. Berndt`s personnel file.
PINSKY: You know, this used to be the way it was for physicians and that we set up these well-being committees that really first look out for the well-being of the physicians, things that were reported when there`s any hint of trouble and we step right in. And that code of silence was sort of broken down by a change in philosophy.
Like teachers that are misbehaving look at their well being is out of line, let`s pull them in and go, hey, you`ve got to do this or it`s going to become a disciplinary action.
Earlier today on KBC, police described how George Hernandez would tape kids while doing awful things in front of them. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received a complaint of indecent exposure that occurred on September 1st outside of - off campus at Gage Middle School (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was he doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t have specific information as to actually what occurred. He did allegedly expose himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Brian, you don`t represent Hernandez though, right?
CLAYPOOL: I do not represent Hernandez. I represent 10 kids and parents at Miramonte.
PINSKY: OK. How do this guy - how do you think he was able to go from one district to the next? Wouldn`t there be evaluations and reports?
CLAYPOOL: Here`s the problem, there`s a flat-out patent failure by administration at the Los Angeles Unified School District to monitor their teachers. They do not investigate the conduct of teachers. They don`t investigate the curriculum or monitor the curriculum that teachers are supposed to be teaching, and I think what it does is it fosters this environment where teachers like Hernandez can get away with this.
And I think what`s really sad in both Hernandez and the Miramonte scandal is we have to have a videotape of a child being allegedly molested -
PINSKY: Before you believe it.
CLAYPOOL: Right. Exactly. Or 600 photographs in the Miramonte.
PINSKY: Steve, you`re shaking your head yes, do you agree with this?
PERRY: He`s absolutely right. Kids tell the truth, folks. Kids tell the truth. Parents listen. Your kids are probably telling the truth. If they said something happened, it probably did.
And you know as well as I do, when you and I first talked about this, I said I`m 100 percent sure that there are other people in the school who knew what happened.
And so if I`m coming in as an administrator, the first thing I say is any teacher and all of you court order reporters (ph) who knows anything about this, you got either two roles in this, you either got to be a witness and you`re going to let me know, or you`re going to be an accomplice, but I promise you I`m going to make my way through the school and I`m going to find every single human being who knows anything about this.
And too many of us as educators are allowing the foolishness to occur because especially as it relates to some of these school districts, we don`t see those as our children, and because we don`t see them as our children, we don`t apply the same basic standard of care that we`d expect someone to apply to our kids, because we see them as somebody else`s kids.
PINSKY: Steve, I appreciate that. One last quick thing before I have to go. I want to show you what the "L.A. Times" reported about Mark Berndt. Apparently he was paid $40,000 to resign and the Accrediting Organization for Teachers said the district broke the law by waiting a year to inform them that it was in the process of dismissing that teacher.
So there we go again, Brian. That same issue we`re talking about. And it seems outrageous to an outsider looking in, but it doesn`t look so outrageous once you get inside and see what`s broken in there, I guess.
CLAYPOOL: It`s a complete abomination, in my opinion. And I think the kids are being placed second - secondary to the -
PINSKY: Well, that`s what Steve was saying -
PINSKY: -- that it`s not your kids, it doesn`t really - there`s not a motivation to change it.
CLAYPOOL: That`s right.
PINSKY: Brian, thank you. Steve, thank you.
Next, a popular star of the hit series "Glee," Max Adler`s closeted character tries to kill himself last night on "Glee." Viewer reactions have been intense. We`re going to address that topic and talk to somebody who`s actually lived this. Stay with us.
PINSKY: Actor Max Adler portrays high school student Dave Karofsky on the popular FOX series "Glee." His character - there he is - was introduced as a bullying jock who tormented a gay classmate, Kurt, but fans of "Glee" have since learned that his homophobia was perhaps fuelled by his own inner turmoil. Take a look at this.
KURT HUMMEL, PLAYED BY CHRIS COLFER, "GLEE": You are nothing but a scared little boy who can`t handle how extraordinarily ordinary you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Karofsky?
DAVE KAROFSKY, PLAYED BY MAX ADLER, "GLEE": Nick?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys hanging out for Valentine`s Day?
HUMMEL: No, no, we used to go to the same school. We just bumped into each other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s exactly what it looked like.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s terrible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get some help. Buddy, come on.
PINSKY: Oh, my goodness. Max Adler is with me now.
Also joining us, Zac Toomay, he struggled with coming out of the closet in high school. He himself captain of the swim team.
I`m going to start with Max, though. And Max, tell us, your character survives the suicide attempt last night?
MAX ADLER, ACTOR, "GLEE": Thankfully, he does survive. Yes, his father finds him in time, finds him hanging and resuscitates him and takes him to the hospital and -
PINSKY: It`s very powerful, intense, and reflective of something that really goes on in high schools.
ADLER: Yes, it really does mirror what`s happening now. To me, it`s an epidemic and it`s a disease.
You know, what`s happening is that I feel a lot of people aren`t talking about it and are kind of afraid to discuss it. I know school districts have told their teachers not to talk about it, you can`t say the word "gay," you can`t teach about homosexual poets or authors.
PINSKY: Certain school districts.
ADLER: In certain school districts.
And I just feel like, yes, what`s happening is that there`s this belief that if you`re gay you`re doing something wrong and which in turn leaves the bullies or the antagonists to believe that what they`re doing in bullying is right, because, you know, that they`re living in this normal life, but to me, there is no normal. I mean, everyone is an individual and everyone needs to express themselves.
PINSKY: So you as an actor, you`re grateful to be able to tell this story.
ADLER: Incredibly grateful. I couldn`t ask for a better role.
PINSKY: And Zac, you`re living this story. Is this kind of storytelling helping you think young people?
ZAC TOOMAY, H.S. SWIM TEAM CAPTAIN, CAME OUT IN HIGH SCHOOL: I definitely think it`s helping. The publicizing the struggle that gay teens go through every day is very helpful to every teen who watches it and every teen who hears about it and the parents who hear about it.
It just makes it known that there are so many issues behind being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, besides just the sexuality itself.
PINSKY: Right, right. Let`s keep looking at some of the footage from the show. And, after the failed suicide attempt by Max`s character, his gay nemesis, we`ll call him, but also -
PINSKY: His object of affection.
PINSKY: He apparently becomes the object of his affection. Kurt actually comes to your rescue a bit, right. So let`s watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAROFSKY: Why would you after the way I`ve treated you?
HUMMEL: It`s OK.
KAROFSKY: No, it`s not OK. It`s like you said on Valentine`s Day, I made your life a living hell for months, but when the same thing happened to me, I couldn`t even take it for a week.
I suppose a best friend telling me he never wants to talk to me again, my mom telling me that I have a disease, maybe I can be cured. I don`t know what to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, Max, the actor that plays Kurt, Chris Colfer, he, himself, has probably been through these kinds of struggles in high school. This must be a very powerful thing for him to represent.
ADLER: It is, and also to some of our writers and producers.
PINSKY: Are you going out with them? Are you guys sort of making an effort to go out and raise awareness and make this systematic?
ADLER: Oh, yes.
PINSKY: Not just telling the story, but actually getting on shows like this and talking about it?
ADLER: Correct. Yes. And we`ve all done "It Gets Better" videos, you know, the Trevor Project Event. I have other charity work with City Hearts, where it`s getting underprivileged kids into the arts and out of the streets, our work at Muscular Dystrophy Association (ph).
And by doing all these, I get to talk to a lot of the people and hear a lot of their stories and see their messages and it becomes very real.
PINSKY: Well, speaking of stories, Zac, I don`t know your story. Can you tell us to what extent you`ve had to deal with these sorts of things?
TOOMAY: Well, it ranges from a very - variety of sources. It can come from media. It can come from social normatives. It can come from parents. It can come from peers. I`ve had experiences ranging from what some people would call simple name-calling, all the way up to sexual assault, and these experiences are very detrimental to the - obviously, to any teen who is in high school. And no one wants to be called names or assaulted or anything in between.
PINSKY: Zac, other than - other tan people like Max raising awareness about these things, do you have anything you would say to a young person who`s dealing with these sorts of issues? Any sort of, you know, specifics they can do to get support?
TOOMAY: There is an organization that helped me out a lot called the Gay Straight Alliance Network. What they do is - their slogan pertains to youth empowerment, LGBT youth empowerment. And as soon as you get involved in the organization, there`s so much family or a family atmosphere within it that it`s - it becomes so easy for someone to gain confidence in one`s self and this other organization, like the Trevor Project and Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and so on.
PINSKY: Excellent. Well, we`re going to keep this conversation going.
Next up, Max is going to share with us an important message for gay students and the bullies. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAROFSKY: You said last week you wanted to be friends. I`d like that.
HUMMEL: Me, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADLER: Being who you are is what`s awesome, that`s what makes you special, interesting, fun to talk to, desirable, breaking the mold and just being you and being who you are is awesome and really rewarding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That is my guest and actor from "Glee," Max Adler. This is his "It Gets Better" public service announcement for the Trevor Project.
Max`s character, Dave Karofsky.
ADLER: Karofsky, yes, yes.
PINSKY: Karofsky tried to kill - I think it`s Karnofsky (ph) - tried to kill himself during last night`s episode and prompted a dialogue amongst his school administrators. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUE SYLVESTER, PLAYED BY JANE LYNCH: That helplessness, that feeling.
WILLIAM SCHUESTER, PLAYED BY MATTHEW MORRISON: Guys, we were all hard on Dave. We thought he was going to hurt Kurt. I just never thought he`d hurt himself.
PRINCIPAL FIGGINS, PLAYED BY IQBAL THEBA: It wasn`t our job to know.
EMMA PILSBURY, PLAYED BY JAYMA MAYS: Then who`s job was it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: This raises that really interesting issue of the bully becoming the victim and how very often the kids that are the bullies had - at least had been victimized at one time. What do you think we should do with all the bullying?
ADLER: It`s really a matter of talking about it and opening up a national which in turn will change people`s perspective and the perception of the whole thing.
As long as people speak up and express how they want to be and what they believe, we`re OK, but I feel like a lot of people strive to fit into a mold and -
PINSKY: Of course, high school, that`s that age of all you know is what your peers perceive of you even though - by the way, a message to all the high school kids out there, nobody in or around your friends or at your high school is thinking about you. They`re worried about themselves, as you worry about yourself.
By the way, adults do a lot of that, too.
ADLER: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) it never stops.
PINSKY: No, it doesn`t really ever stop, but it`s really bad during high school.
ADLER: Right. But the important message is that if one of those kids in the locker room had stood up for Karofsky -
ADLER: -- and had his back or if one of the teachers had, you know, gone against what society kind of pushes on them -
PINSKY: You`re right, it only takes one person. And I want to go to Zac, who`s again lived this. Zac, was there one person that stood up for you or do you have something in mind that we can learn from your own personal story?
TOOMAY: Well, the hard thing is when you`re - when you`re trying to hide it from yourself, it`s hard for somebody else to come out and say, wait, are you - are you gay? So, no, when I was - when I was in the closet, it was really hard.
Actually, nobody came out and tried to defend me when it came to some kind of issue because they didn`t know what there was to defend. But -
PINSKY: Do you have a message for other kids out there that may be quietly suffering?
TOOMAY: If you are quietly suffering, I really encourage you to tell somebody that you can sincerely trust, because I know and you know that they are going to accept you for who you are because they love you for who you are, and the more - once you tell that person, you kind of get this feeling of, oh, it`s OK, they understand who I am. It might be a little bit easier to tell the next person and the next and the next.
PINSKY: Yes. Thank you, Zac.
As Max says, it only takes one person to stand up and can change the directions, the trajectory of a life.
Thank you, Max as well. I appreciate this.
ADLER: Thank you.
PINSKY: "Glee" I remind everyone it airs every Tuesday night at 8:00 P.M. on FOX.
Coming up, I`m taking you inside a chemical dependency treatment facility, which you all sometimes call rehab. Why is it effective for some and not others? I`m joined by Andy Dick.
And I`m going to answer your questions about Rihanna and Chris Brown or anything else that`s on your mind. Head on over to HLNTV.com to contact me or comment or give us some calls. I want to hear from you, and we`re back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Could rehab have saved Whitney Houston? Coming up, we`ll talk about it with a man who knows what addiction and treatment are all about. Andy Dick has been in and out of rehab a dozen times. Why does treatment work for some and not for others? We`ll tell you what it involves and why it`s a life-long process.
But first, Rihanna and Chris, some of you loved the professional reunion, but what about their personal connection?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Now, we are getting inundated with your questions about Rihanna and Chris Brown. So, let`s get to some of them. This is Akemi, caller in California. Go on. Akemi
AKEMI, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I really just have a comment. I believe that Rihanna should really take a step back and remember that she`s become a spokesperson for victims of domestic violence all over the world.
AKEMI: And it`s because of her recent work with Chris Brown, she really placed herself in an unflattering position.
PINSKY: Well, Akemi, may I ask you, were you a victim of domestic violence yourself?
AKEMI: No, I have not, but, you know, I think she should really take a lesson from Tina Turner and move on and get away from Chris Brown.
PINSKY: Well, I think that it certainly muddies the water, doesn`t it, that she would get back with him. And I don`t want to say that it`s impossible for two people to get back together, and Chris allegedly has done a good job in treatment. He spent a year in a rehabilitation program for domestic violence perpetrators. So, I agree with you. For the young people out there, it would be nicer if she could set a clearer message, I agree with you.
We`ve got Barbara who writes, "Chris Brown has proven time and again he is immature and is part of the rage against women culture. One child may die because they thought if Rihanna can forgive, so can I. A terrible message for our kids." So, you`re really saying the same thing that Akemi said, our last caller, that it`s not so much worried about Rihanna, you`re worried about kids learning that this is OK to get back together, get back together.
And again, let`s point out to people that that is in the nature of these kinds of abusive relationships. They are uber intense. They actually -- people are in these relationships confuse love for intensity and they are sort of addictively drawn back into these things and they want to believe this idealized person, the guy who`s the perpetrator, when he said it`s only because I love you so much that I get so upset, nonsense.
Claudia in Oklahoma on the line, go ahead.
CLAUDIA, OKLAHOMA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Claudia.
CLAUDIA: I would like to know how I can keep my children from repeating our patterns of behavior when it comes to our addictions. My husband died a year ago to an overdose of prescriptions.
PINSKY: I`m so sorry.
CLAUDIA: And I, myself, that`s not my drug of choices, but I still have some issues in my own life.
CLAUDIA: And I`ve asked myself today, why can`t I get cleaned, and I thought about it, and I said it`s because I`m not applying my learned -- what I learned in treatment, my triggers and stressors.
PINSKY: Claudia, how about getting on your knees and going to a meeting twice a day and asking for help, just giving over to the process, because I`ll tell you what, when people want to know how they can prevent these things from happening to their kids, if they, themselves, either one of both the parents has addiction, the highest prediction of influencing your kids is your recovery.
You successfully in recovery can have a dramatic influence on the kids who seem to be going down the same path of addiction, and again, addiction is a biological disorder with a genetic basis. Not every kids get that genetic basis. You only about half the kids typically get it. Certain ethnicities a little more prevalent, but it`s just about half and half.
So, what about going to a meeting every day, getting a sponsor, going twice a day, just throwing yourself into this and knowing, even you can`t do it on behalf of yourself, you`re doing it on behalf of your kids.
Pauline on the line there. Pauline, you got a comment about veterans.
PAULINE: Yes, actually. If you look at military veterans are often overlooked in the whole public debate on prescription drug abuse.
PAULINE: Our vets from Iraq and Afghanistan are just suffering in record numbers from addiction and trauma.
PAULINE: And the addiction often comes from medical treatment from severe pain.
PINSKY: Well, or anxiety, too, both, or sleeplessness. Yes.
PAULINE: Also trauma and anxiety, V.A., Department of Veteran Care is just overwhelmed --
PINSKY: Well, Pauline, do you have a veteran in your family or do you work for V.A. or you have personal --
PAULINE: Well, actually, I work for a group called veterans healing initiative, and we raise funding and awareness for victim -- vets who are suffering from addiction.
PINSKY: It`s a massive problem. It`s a massive problem, both the PTSD, the post-traumatic stress from the trauma of being in a military operation and the addiction. Now, let`s talk about this, because trauma is what really puts rocket fuel into addiction. It doesn`t cause addiction, but somebody who has trauma, particularly, these kind of horrible things that young men and women have witness, it makes them unregulated.
They can`t deal with their emotions and they find their way to a substance or a doctor gives them a substance, as you`re saying, or they have some injury. They`re appropriately given a substance, then that takes over. That feels better. It motivates them to keep using it, and then, they throw the switch on the addiction. Now, they have two problems.
Now, they have addiction and trauma. And in my thing, I`ll tell you what, you know, it`s getting them enrolled in treatment. So many of them feel not understood. If I had a veteran in my family, I would encourage them to go to groups with other veterans. They don`t feel understood, unless, they`ve been in around people that have been in the circumstances they`ve been in.
Just like the addicts, the addicts stay together in groups, and you know, stay with one another as they can relate to the experience of having this disorder. So, somebody like that should probably be in two different programs, one the recovery from addiction, and two, a group recovering from PTSD, so they can share with their peers, but they resist it. They resist it just the way addicts resist it. So, the VA -- go ahead --
PAULINE: The stigma needs to be overcome in reaching out for help on both fronts.
PINSKY: I agree with you. And VA is trying. You got a hand to them, right? They`re trying. It`s just we just need to do better, right, wouldn`t you say, Pauline?
PAULINE: Absolutely. It`s a very real need.
PINSKY: Yes. Thank you for that call. And listen, thank you for helping the young men and women who have been of service to us.
Tina asks this question, "If addiction is genetic, why aren`t all members in a family addicted to something? I only know of one in my family who was an alcoholic." And again, it`s a gene that has to go down. You know, if somebody doesn`t pass the gene along, then it stops right there. That`s where it stops. And it`s only about a 50 percent probability that that gene will pass along at all.
And since we`re talking about this, we`re one gene. It`s probably a whole group of genes and the fact is that they`re varying degrees of intensity of this genetic predisposition. Some people their first drink, it explodes. Some people, they can drink a long time in their life. They have a trauma, as we`ve talked about, that escalates their drinking and that causes it to really trigger.
So, there`s varying different sort of expressions of this even though the potential roughly speaking about 50 percent that somebody`s going to inherit it. There are slight ethnic differences in that, some situations it`s 100 percent, but that`s kind of rare. I want to thank our callers today.
And what I want to do next is look at the day in a life of an addict in treatment. We`re going to take you into a treatment program to talk about the structure of the people go through. How do you know if you`re getting good treatment or if this is the kind of treatment that`s serious or fluffy or if my loved one is getting what they need? It`s a very highly structure day.
And I`m going to be joined by comedian, Andy Dick. He`s going to talk about his experience as a celebrity, as a recovering person, and his experience with treatment. He`s had a few. Stay with us.
PINSKY: This evening, everyone`s been talking about it, could treatment, could rehab have saved Whitney Houston`s life? But many people, when they have this conversation, don`t really know what they`re talking about. They don`t know what goes on inside a rehabilitation facility and how treatment really works. Now, if someone you know is addicted, what kind of help do they need? How do you know they`re getting the right kind of help and how do you know if a facility is doing what it needs to do? Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to do something. This is no way to live. I`m afraid, you know, I was going to die accidentally because of the heroin.
PINSKY (voice-over): Inside a day in the life of an addict in rehab. Most people know me for my role on VH1 "Celebrity Rehab."
(on-camera) People heal in close connection with others in experiences, emotional experiences that are shared.
(voice-over) (INAUDIBLE) Recovery Center is a real treatment facility. Celebrities get real treatment, not special treatment. The hardest part of treating a celebrity like Whitney Houston, whose most recent treatment was last May, is that it`s hard to keep them in treatment. Celebrities want to go back to their lives, back on tour, back to making money, and of course, people around them don`t want to lose any money.
Treatment is delicate. Patients are fragile. You need to be focused on nothing else but your recovery. I talked to the recovering addict, boxer, Oscar De La Hoya, about just that.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, TEN-TIME WORLD BOXING CHAMP: You have to work at it. You know, it`s a job. I mean, if you want to keep your job, you have to work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dear God!
PINSKY: The intense part you see on TV is just the beginning of the process. Detox is the first thing to do in rehab. Doctors give addicts medication to counter the effects the body goes through after drugs have left the system. When someone quits drugs cold turkey, the body goes into a kind of shock and it can sometimes be fatal.
As miserable as detox is, it`s actually the easiest part of the treatment process. The hardest part is staying sober. Structure is extremely important at a rehab faculty. Each patient has a strict schedule that looks something like this, get up at 7:30, eat, morning meditation, group process therapy, lunch, afternoon one-on-one with therapist and doctors, psychoeducation lectures, and other sorts of therapy and outings.
Patients participate in the 12-step program each and everyday after dinner. Twelve-step teaches addicts that there`s a higher power than themselves in their life. The power doesn`t have to be God, necessarily. It can be anything. It tells addicts they have to give up control and just have faith.
To be successful, a recovering addict must attend 12-step meetings everyday and contact their sponsor daily, potentially, for the rest of their lives just the way a diabetic must take insulin or an asthmatic must take inhalers. Rehab is not the end of the road, it is the beginning.
PINSKY (on-camera): Straight now to my guests to discuss this, Shelley Sprague, she was our resident technician on VH1 "Celebrity Rehab." She, herself, recovering addict. Also joined by Andy Dick, who is in recovery and has been in rehab multiple times. An Andy, that`s what I want to talk about. People look at rehab and go, oh, you have to go so many times, it didn`t work.
ANDY DICK, COMEDIAN: Multiple times, 12 to be exact, 12 times. Proud of it. Look, getting sober is easy. I`ve done it a thousand times. That`s just a joke I do. You said it didn`t work, is that what you said?
PINSKY: People who don`t understand treatment will look at that and go, oh, you see treatment doesn`t really work.
ANDY DICK: Well, it does. Look, the first time, and once again, 12 times for me, the very first time years ago, I think 15 years ago, I don`t think there was any other choice for me. I needed to go to a safe place.
I remember I was just thinking about it yesterday, I was thinking about how I took a chair and tried to throw it through a window. And I guess, they have this bullet-proof glass and it just bounced off and I looked like an idiot.
SHELLEY SPRAGUE, RESIDENT TECHNICIAN, WH1`S "CELEBRITY REHAB": I tried to jump through the window on my rehab.
ANDY DICK: Did you bounce off of it?
SPRAGUE: Yes, I did. My head was like --
PINSKY: How many times were you treated?
PINSKY: Three times.
SPRAGUE: Three times.
PINSKY: Yes. When you had it, does that include the relapse after surgery that one time?
SPRAGUE: That did not -- I did not go back to rehab after that.
PINSKY: But you had to get --
SPRAGUE: Yes. I had 15 months.
ANDY DICK: By then, probably, the program helped, right?
SPRAGUE: Well, I had tried to go to the program before I went to rehab. So, when I went to rehab, you know, the first time I went to rehab, I had no idea what they were talking about. I was not interested. I only wanted to get off heroin and crack. Everything else was fine.
PINSKY: Alcohol`s fine, pots fine.
SPRAGUE: Pills, everything, heroin and crack are the problem. And if I can`t get off these things -- and I`m sure they told me that`s not going to work, but I couldn`t hear it.
SPRAGUE: Because there was no way I could conceive of a life without doing substances, just no possible way.
PINSKY: That`s the hard part about treatment. When you`re in treatment, we`re trying to reach people who don`t want to hear. They`re in detail of some sort and other. We`re trying to enroll --
ANDY DICK: It`s the biggest symptom, denial.
PINSKY: Or trying to get them to give into the process, and really, I look at treatment as just making sobriety possible.
PINSKY: Dealing with the medical problems, dealing to psychiatric problems, getting you sober, getting you structured, getting your life in order, and then go --
ANDY DICK: And it`s always there. And it`s always there.
SPRAGUE: Then the after care.
ANDY DICK: Yes, then the after care.
SPRAGUE: After care is crucial.
PINSKY: We`ll talk about that, Andy. So, you --
ANDY DICK: I was going to say I ran into an old friend that I got sober with 12 years ago. We got sober. I had two and a half years because I was working a very good program. I was talking to my sponsor. I was doing the work on a daily basis, two and a half years. You know, we always have an excuse why we go back out and start drinking again, doesn`t even matter, could be a rainy day, sunny day, doesn`t matter.
I ran into her, she`s still sober. I would have 12 years today, but I don`t and I started crying. And she said don`t worry and she pointed out that look, it was always here, the love was always here, the support was always here, I just didn`t let it in. You`ve always said -- remember for years, I said, Dr. Drew, do you think I`m an alcoholic really, and that`s what you would do, laugh in my face. It took me years to --
PINSKY: Stereo laughing.
ANDY DICK: I admit I`m an alcoholic. And, you know, the whole part that it`s a disease I have trouble with.
ANDY DICK: It doesn`t feel like a disease. I get that when I drink it ain`t no good, I know that. And also, because I heard somebody say this, the powerlessness over alcohol I sometimes have a power with, but the thing is is that I have to admit that because if I don`t do the work like what you guys have been telling me for years and years, if I`m not doing that work, I know I will drink again.
SPRAGUE: Absolutely, and me too. No matter how much time --
ANDY DICK: You`re going straight to the crack, baby.
SPRAGUE: I`m done. No matter how much time you have, you only have today, and if you don`t understand that, you will get lulled into a false sense of denial.
PINSKY: And the disease part is that you`re talking about is your thinking. You`ll start thinking --
ANDY DICK: Alcohol is the medicine.
PINSKY: I understand, but -- I heard you say that, by the way.
SPRAGUE: Don`t think. Don`t think.
PINSKY: Give in, don`t think. Because thinking is a reflection of the disorder motivation in the brain. Let me talk about celebrities for a second. One thing I said in that rolled in piece was that celebrities are always -- Oscar De La Hoya talked yesterday in this program about how fragile you are in that beginning part of recovery as opposed to what celebrities do as go back to work so that fragility never emerges and grows. Can you relate to that?
ANDY DICK: Oh, yes, yes. I have adopted a new thing also. This is the first time I`ve done this where my job, my number one job is to stay sober.
SPRAGUE: Perfect, perfect.
ANDY DICK: Now, I forgot that I actually have a movie out that I was supposed to promote.
PINSKY: Bring it up.
ANDY DICK: "Division III: Footballs Finest." It`s very funny.
PINSKY: It`s very funny. I`ve heard nothing but great things. I`m sorry I missed the premier.
ANDY DICK: That`s OK, but I forgot that I have the movie out, because I`m here to talk about my sobriety, and Whitney, I thought we were going to talk about Whitney.
PINSKY: What about Whitney? What are your thoughts?
ANDY DICK: Well, you know, my son`s coming on the show in a little bit, and I thought that we might be able to shed some light, because we have a father/son relationship. I don`t know what we can do, but, you know, my thoughts are --
PINSKY: Yes. What went through your mind when you heard that she died?
ANDY DICK: My thoughts are oh, no, everyone around me is going to freak out, because I`m a celebrity, too. And, you know, I get tweets like how did Andy Dick outlive Whitney? You know, that`s what I get.
PINSKY: And how do you feel about that?
ANDY DICK: Pisses me off.
PINSKY: Do you think that`s realistic?
ANDY DICK: Oh, yes.
PINSKY: You could die?
ANDY DICK: Of course.
PINSKY: Shelley, do you think (INAUDIBLE) die with addiction?
ANDY DICK: Of course. I should be dead nine or ten times over. I`m a cat.
PINSKY: But you`re saying that in a very detached -- dude, you`re saying that in a very detached way.
ANDY DICK: No, no. It`s very serious. It really is. And why do you think I do what I do every day. You didn`t know. I have not been telling you how well I`m doing, because, you know, we`ve been through the ringer. We`ve revolving door ring it.
PINSKY: You`re sober today. I`m grateful for that.
ANDY DICK: And I`m doing great.
PINSKY: But I`m glad you`re not like Whitney. Shelley could be like Whitney, too.
SPRAGUE: Absolutely. Prescription drugs in America, I could go down like this. One doctor, one prescription, I could be right where I was. I could be overdosed. I could be any of those things.
PINSKY: Just going and saying I can`t sleep.
PINSKY: I`ve had a plane flight. My back hurts. I`ve got a headache.
ANDY DICK: Do you know how many times I`m laying in bed, tossing and turning, going -- you know, a sleeping pill would be very nice right now, no, I toss and turn, I sweat, I fret, and I just pick up the phone and start calling people.
SPRAGUE: Yes. I write, I read.
PINSKY: -- felt that sleeplessness was the number one trigger.
SPRAGUE: It is.
SPRAGUE: It is so bad. Early recovery, you don`t sleep, just don`t sleep.
PINSKY: You won`t for six months or so.
PINSKY: All right. Listen, Shelley, thanks for joining us on this.
SPRAGUE: Thank you, always a pleasure, thank you.
ANDY DICK: Really good to see you.
PINSKY: Pleasure is mine.
SPRAGUE: Thank you. Good to see you, too.
PINSKY: Andy`s going to stay with me. His son`s going to join us. We`re going to talk about what a family member goes through when someone is in treatment or resistant to treatment or won`t go to treatment or relapsing. Stay with us.
PINSKY: I am back with actor and comedian, Andy Dick, and we are joined now by his son, Lucas. So, Lucas, I wanted to focus a little bit on section about what it feels like to have a family member, first of all, resist treatment. Did you go through that with your dad like when you first was getting -- or were you too young for all that?
LUCAS DICK, ANDY DICK`S SON: I was a little young when he started going into rehab.
PINSKY: Was it scary for you as a kid?
LUCAS DICK: It wasn`t that scary because I was so young that I didn`t have a scope for the situation. To me, when I was a kid, rehab was like getting your car fixed, almost like, oh, he`s going to rehab and he`s going to be fine.
PINSKY: He`s going to be better.
LUCAS DICK: He`s going to fix his wheel.
ANDY DICK: I got a gimpy wheel.
PINSKY: But I think it`s not just the way kids think about that. I think a lot of people think that`s the way treatment is, and when did it become more troublesome for you?
ANDY DICK: You`re saying that it did become more troublesome, maybe it didn`t.
PINSKY: You can`t be -- Andy --
ANDY DICK: You`re putting words in his mouth.
PINSKY: What I`m saying, my friend, is that you cannot be involved with an addict and it not trouble you.
ANDY DICK: Yes, yes.
PINSKY: You can`t.
ANDY DICK: You`re right, you`re right.
PINSKY: Because they love you and they want you to get better and it scares them, yes?
LUCAS DICK: Yes.
ANDY DICK: Can I say one thing about the very first rehab, I tried to hide it from him, but I wanted to see him. He came up to visit --
PINSKY: I think that`s a good thing.
ANDY DICK: Yes. And I said -- well, I said, tell Lucas that I`m on vacation. When he came up, I was overwhelmed with I can`t lie and I said Lucas, I`m not -- I have to tell you, daddy`s not on vacation, he said I know. I`m like, well, I`m at a place where I`m trying to get better because I drink too much. He said I know. How do you know, the beer bottles are all over the place, dad. I mean, yes, --
PINSKY: Kids know more than you can imagine. When you started getting worried about him, what was that like? And if you fail treatment, how would you struggle with that?
LUCAS DICK: I know he`s a tough dude, I was never too worried. I did kind of get worried when people at school started to make it a big deal and they`re like, hey, man, what`s going on with your dad, dad`s getting in trouble.
PINSKY: Did it scare you at that point?
LUCAS DICK: It did.
PINSKY: Did you try to do what family members do, plead with him, bargain with him, try to, you know, force him to get better in some weird way?
LUCAS DICK: It`s when I --
ANDY DICK: I remember what he did. You cut me out. You know, he would just like -- he was smart. Well, you know, like the whole -- co- dependent thing. Somebody must have talked to him like you, because he would just cut me out.
PINSKY: Did you ever go to Al Anon or Alateen?
LUCAS DICK: I went to a few meetings, yes.
PINSKY: Never got a sponsor? Never work with that?
LUCAS DICK: No.
ANDY DICK: You absorbed it real quick.
PINSKY: Well, the thing is that what can happen is children of alcoholics become -- their feelings become distant and they focus on other people`s well being as opposed to meeting their own needs. They become caretakers and they don`t feel their feelings well.
ANDY DICK: And you know what, I did want to point out, because with the whole Whitney and her daughter. We did party together, we have partied together, and we had some fun. Admit it, we had some fun, good times. Nobody died, and --
PINSKY: Could have.
ANDY DICK: Those good times are over.
PINSKY: Yes --
ANDY DICK: This guy doesn`t have the disease that I have, as you call it a disease.
PINSKY: Again, it`s about a 50 percent probability that people inherit that predisposition. Not everyone gets it. You didn`t get it. But you`re going to be a co-dependent. You have to be -- and as your dad, you`ve been taking care of him for a long time.
It`s going to affect your relationships and how you feel about yourself. This program of Al-Anon or get a therapy, these things really, really help.
ANDY DICK: Yes.
PINSKY: Do not party with your son anymore.
ANDY DICK: No. Those days are over.
PINSKY: You`re sober now.
ANDY DICK: Yes.
PINSKY: No more party with anybody.
ANDY DICK: No.
PINSKY: Then, you`ll look at that party will differently as your sobriety would help (ph).
Lucas, Andy, thank you very much. Andy --
ANDY DICK: And happy birthday.
PINSKY: It`s Lucas` birthday today. Thank you for spending your birthday here with us.
LUCAS DICK: Oh, yes.
PINSKY: We got to go. Thank you all for watching. I`ll see you next time.