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Prescription Drug Abuse
Aired March 14, 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, HOST: Here we go.
A mother, so-called, allegedly abandons her child at McDonald`s after passing out on prescription drugs. I have been flooded with calls about this from you. You want to know why this is happening, how it began, and how we end it.
So, I`m attacking pill abuse head on with two moms whose kids died from it.
And later, a mother finds out her baby boy is alive eight years after he was kidnapped. She tells me here about the misery and the miracle.
Let`s get started.
PINSKY: All right. Thanks for joining us. We are live tonight.
Police say a Florida mom abandoned her son. That`s right, left him alone in a McDonald`s play area while she sat in her car and took pills.
There she is. She had allegedly passed out, reportedly next to her prescription drugs including Oxycodone, that`s an opiate pain medication, and alprazolam, which is Xanax, a valium-like drug.
She was charged with child neglect and two counts of prescription pill possession. And you heard me talk about this pill thing a lot. I brought it up. Whitney Houston gave me another chance to sort of bring it out.
You seem to be interested in this topic, and it`s something I`ve got to keep harping on it until we do something about it.
Here`s what you`re saying on Facebook. Robert says, "Benzos and pain pills equals chaos, death, financial destruction every time. She should et off those filthy pills and then we see what happens."
Janice writes, "This is a no-brainer. Heck yes, she should lose the kids."
And Gwen in Florida says, "She`ll get a slap on the wrist."
Joining me to discuss this, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack and -- a mother who knows the heartache pills can cause. And criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh.
Mark, another Florida story. Adam Carolla and I used to have a game called Germany or Florida, whenever anything intense was going on. We`d say Germany or Florida. This is Florida, and the question I have to you to start off is should McDonald`s -- this McDonald`s mom lose her kids?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER: I would say in the short- term, I think that she has to. The child obviously is in imminent danger if the mother`s driving while impaired, if she`s physically present but not emotionally or spiritually caring for the child`s needs.
The plan, I think, should be for reunification once she deals with her potential addiction. After detox, after rehab, after she`s in recovery, and she turns her life around.
PINSKY: And, Mark, you bring up an interesting point here. I think - - I`m not sure what this law is like in Florida, but a lot of states, people aren`t aware that driving under the influence does not just mean alcohol.
PINSKY: It can be any substance, right?
EIGLARSH: I`ve prosecuted and defended many people who whether it be marijuana or, in this case, opiates, find themselves swerving all over the road or passed out like she was, as long as you`re behind the wheel, you`re just as guilty as if you were driving.
PINSKY: And I`m certain, again, listening to those Facebooks and we`re getting calls in just a second that my viewers are outraged by this. But I feel sad about this.
Mary, you know a lot about prescription drug abuse. Your own family has seen this.
As a lawmaker, is there enough awareness in the Congress even to do something about this?
REP. MARY BONO MACK (R), CALIFORNIA: I wish I could say yes, but no. There`s not enough awareness within the Congress, I think within law enforcement. I think this case with this woman with her car in Florida is a great example.
People don`t even recognize, this is happening next to us. It`s happening in every family. You know, Congress needs to wake up and, you know, a number of us are doing our best to raise this to the forefront of issues, and I`m with you. It`s a very sad, sad --
PINSKY: It`s a sad thing. And, you know, so many people think because it becomes -- it`s available by prescription. It`s prescribed by a doctor, it must be safe.
And I keep saying I`m going to say it and say it, which is that my patients today they die -- addicts die of pill overdoses almost without exception. I haven`t lost a patient the old-fashioned way from a cocaine or heroin overdose in five years, it`s pills.
BONO MACK: Right. No, it`s true. And I think especially for young kids, I think that they start with the pills thinking we know to stay away from methamphetamines, stay away from cocaine. So, we`re going to --
PINKSY: Those are bad pills, bad people do bad pills, but good people get pills from the doctor, right?
BONO MACK: Especially heroin. And what`s really tragic is so many of these good kids start down this path and start with the OxyContin. They can`t afford the expensive hit any longer and then they do heroin.
PINSKY: And they go to heroin. That`s why they go to heroin because it`s cheaper.
BONO MACK: Right. And, as you know, more Americans now die from these deaths than car accidents any longer.
PINSKY: Say that again. Let`s hang a lantern on that. More Americans, young Americans who normally the highest sort of death rate is from accidents now has been exceeded by prescription drug deaths.
BONO MACK: That`s right.
PINSKY: That`s incredible.
Dan -- we`ve got a phone call. I believe -- is that, right, Dan? Is that your name? Janet. I beg your pardon.
Janet in Texas, you`re on the line. Go ahead.
JANET, TEXAS (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Janet.
JANET: I lost my daughter to prescription pill abuse about nine years ago. She was 27 years old. And she left behind a daughter who had just turned 6 whom we have adopted.
PINSKY: Let me ask you this, Janet.
PINSKY: Are you -- are you angry? Are you outraged? I mean, I could go all day on how sad this is. But does this start to make you angry at some point?
JANET: Very angry because one of the doctors that was fulfilling her prescription -- or giving them to her has now been put in jail.
PINSKY: Oh, well --
JANET: Thank, goodness.
PINSKY: That`s good news. That`s a good news story. She could go in and get whatever she wanted. It`s like a pill mill, right?
JANET: Right, right. As long as she would pay an office visit, you could get anything you wanted from him.
PINSKY: Janet, I am so sorry. And I -- I`ve got to tell you, not only am I sorry for your loss, I`m sorry that my profession as a physician did your daughter wrong or did you wrong and I`m sorry about that.
JANET: Well, it is, and I`m wondering is there any way that pharmacies can be put like in a network sort of situation where when you go to one pharmacy and if you get another prescription you go to --
PINSKY: You`re asking a great question. This is Mary`s area. Go ahead, Mary. Tell her about that.
BONO MACK: Well, that`s a great question. And I also am very sorry for your loss and appreciate that you`re speaking out.
There are a lot of efforts across the country for what we call a prescription drug monitoring program. This would give real time information to physicians and pharmacists that can simply kind of track where, you know, what we`re calling -- what do we call it? Doctor shopping.
PINSKY: Is the HIPAA Law getting in the way of it? Where you can`t share the information?
BONO MACK: It`s budgets. It`s a focus from lawmakers this is happening. And this could be a very effective tool. I think doctors should -- they would see this as something that would kind of help with the holistic effort of treating their patients.
PINSKY: Well, God knows, Mary -- Mary, I`ve got to tell you something. Should I call you Congresswoman Mary?
BONO MACK: Yes, Dr. Drew, Congresswoman Mary it is. Mary`s great.
PINSKY: Mary is like it`s too casual.
But I`ll tell you what? You know, as a physician I certainly get just reams of information about -- from insurance companies about how I could be prescribing a cheaper medication for my patient. They seem to know that.
BONO MACK: Do they?
PINSKY: Are you kidding me?
BONO MACK: I want to know why a student or a young kid who is getting his wisdom teeth out gets 30 days worth of Vicodin.
PINSKY: That`s a wholly different problem. That is that doctors are way too casual about this medication. We typically --
BONO MACK: They`ll tell you to go to the cheaper ones.
PINSKY: Right. They will literally send a letter back saying, are you sure you want the Vicodin? Would you write a Hydrocodone for this patient? Literally, you get that.
BONO MACK: Not just the 10 days, but 30 day stuff.
PINSKY: You`ll get whatever you prescribe, but you will not get any information on what else might that patient be getting.
BONO MACK: It`s broken.
PINSKY: Jackie -- it`s broken. Well, please, don`t ever start me.
Jackie in Kentucky, what`s your question?
JACKIE, KENTUCKY (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew. I`ve been on pills since the age of 16. I`m now 30. I would love to get off them but I can`t afford a good rehab to go to.
PINSKY: Oh, boy. Hold on. So you`ve been on pills since you were a teenager. How did you get on pills in the first place?
JACKIE: Just the area that we live in.
PINSKY: What does that mean?
JACKIE: They`re just everywhere.
PINSKY: So, didn`t even have to go to the doctor? You just got them from your peers?
JACKIE: No, you can buy them anywhere.
PINSKY: How did you know at 16 the pills were what you wanted?
JACKIE: I didn`t.
PINSKY: Your friends were doing them?
JACKIE: Just friends were doing them, I was doing them, then I got hooked on them when, you know?
PINSKY: So, Mary, this is another part of this, which is that there`s not resources available to treat. I mean, somebody`s been hooked on opiates since they were 16 needs months of structured treatment.
BONO MACK: Right.
PINSKY: By the way, Jackie, let me tell you something. Before you leave, (INAUDIBLE) Mary, I`m sorry.
And, Jack, you could find a sober living somewhere for about $800 a month that sometimes even includes food. If you could swing that, if you can swing $800 a month, you should be able to find some help. But, boy, you`ve got to really want to do this because it`s not going to be very comfortable.
So, Mary, answer that question, I`m sorry.
BONO MACK: Well, this is a great question too. It`s again recognizing that addiction is a disease. Here`s clearly somebody who`s asking for help and wants to find it.
First, there are a number of facilities who have sort of scholarships available. I think you should call them and see what is out there. I represent the Betty Ford Center. And they work hard making sure there are scholarships for people to attend the Betty Ford Center if they need to.
But that aside, I have a friend here with me tonight in the green room, Stacy, and she`s working very hard at raising this very issue.
BONO MACK: We raised a lot of charitable money for breast cancer, for Alzheimer`s.
BONO MACK: Why aren`t we raising charitable money to help people like this?
PINSKY: And not only people like this, but the number one cause of death of young people -- of young people. I`m going to hold up this picture. This is a picture of a young man who was lost. His mom`s going to be in here in the next segment.
Let me see if you can see this. This is a beautiful young kid. These are the kind of losses we`re suffering because of pills.
Mark, you and I rarely really talk about this particular topic on this show. I know this is something you feel deeply about. You want to ring in here before I go to break?
EIGLARSH: Yes, I`m seeing unfortunately in the criminal justice arena, younger and younger defendants that I`m defending who started so young with these highly addictive pain pills. Some of them innocently enough, mothers also. Who have gotten addicted because they had root canal and they started. And all of a sudden it fixed the hole in their soul, there needs to be more -- as we`ve discussed, more resources put towards treating these people who want treatment and help.
PINSKY: Exactly right. I mean, it`s easy for us to sit here and be outraged by the mom falling asleep in the car and the kid being endangered. That`s addiction.
Two sons dead from prescription overdoses, two mothers heartbroken. I`ve introduced you to one of the sons here. That was his picture, their stories, your questions coming up.
PINSKY: We are continuing to talk about prescription pill deaths.
Joining me, two moms, Jodi Barber and Sylvia Melkonian. They lost their sons to overdose on pills.
Oh, my gosh. I just -- I almost don`t know where to start with this stuff. I mean, seeing you, ladies, and knowing what you went through and having struggled with my patients and lost patients -- just like you guys lost sons. It gets a bit overwhelming.
What medication, Jodi, particularly got your son?
JODI BARBER, SON DIED FROM RX DRUG OVERDOSE: Jared had five pills from the doctor that I was taking him to, to get help.
PINSKY: For addiction?
BARBER: Yes, because I found him nodding off.
PINSKY: You --
BARBER: And --
PINSKY: And wait, Jodi, hang on a second. You were taking him to a doctor to be treated for addiction?
PINSKY: And he gave him the pills he eventually died of?
I don`t know what to do with this. I don`t know what to do. I didn`t know that part of the story. I have grave concerns about my peers and my profession and what we give patients and particularly when we claim we`re treating addiction.
But for people at home, you don`t have to go through this. The one message is if somebody is an addict, do not put pills in their mouth. They can take them for five to seven maybe 10 days after withdrawal -- for withdrawal, but if there`s anything else going in their mouth after that, it has to be done extremely cautiously, with very skilled hands. And he just took the pills all at once or something?
BARBER: I was monitoring him for three months and I was giving him what I believe the doctor said, you know, was going to help him. And he put him on Cymbalta, as well as Klonopin. And then Jared`s anxiety became worse towards the end and now, he says he could take two Klonipin. So, now, I`m giving him one in the morning he asked for, and he asked for one in the evening.
So, he also -- three days before Jared passed away, he was given -- the only visit I did not walk into with him, he gave him handfuls of samples of Syracol and he was told to take three to four at that time. And --
PINSKY: That`s all typically OK. Is something more going on?
BARBER: Jared wasn`t psychotic. And, you know --
PINSKY: You know, Syracol is good for withdrawal. We use it all the time.
Something`s wrong with the story. The Klonopin is the culprit, I think.
And go -- you want to say --
BONO MACK: I`m curious, one of the problems, too, we`re seeing is that the autopsies that are done on these people who are dying aren`t necessary -- it`s not conclusive as to what is in their system.
PINSKY: I completely agree with that. I had arguments with pathologists where I knew what was going on literally with a guy with tracks on his arm and the pathologist going he was just recreational heroin addict, using that particular day. You know, took a little too much.
Are you kidding me? I mean, the pathologists have to understand what addiction is too.
BONO MACK: You know, I talked to the head of ONDCP and others about this, the head of CDC because we need to know and here`s a mother who clearly wants answers as to what went wrong in this case.
PINSKY: Yes, I would like to know because something`s wrong with that whole story. Something`s not all adding up for me.
BARBER: Yes, because my son wasn`t the same the last two weeks of his life on these pills. He was crazy. He jumped out of the car when it was moving. And so --
PINSKY: Something`s up.
PINSKY: And, Sylvia, what did you experience?
SYLVIA MELKONIAN, SON DIED FROM RX DRUG OVERDOSE: Well, my son, he was 17 years old and he had Opana and valium and --
PINSKY: Which is a very powerful opiate.
MELKONIAN: I had never even heard of Opana. I was completely shocked. I`m thinking, where in the heck did he ever get Opana from, you know? And it`s taken a long time. He died about a year and a half ago. It`s taken about a year and a half for me to kind of investigate where did he get it from?
PINSKY: These are such beautiful kids. I mean, these are the best and brightest being taken out --
MELKONIAN: You know, he was captain of the football team, he was very excited to go to college. He was, you know, he -- he loved his friends and the future. I mean, he -- he -- I don`t know how Opana ever got in his hands.
I know that his friends, you know, were going to Dr. Tseng and a lot of people that he knew were going to Dr. Tseng and somebody must have given it to him.
PINSKY: When a kid at that age taking Opana is ridiculous, unless he was recovering from a massive surgery or something for a couple of days. It`s crazy.
Let`s go to a caller. I believe I have Lisa on the phone. Is Lisa still available for us.
Hi, Lisa. What`s going on?
LISA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
LISA: Just like your guests that you have on tonight, my 18-year-old daughter and our entire family are one of the many victims of the prescription pill epidemic. And Brandy passed away a year ago, on March 8th. As your guest from an Opana pill and -- they crush it and snort it.
And from start to finish, 18 months, from the first time she tried prescription drugs illegally to the day that she passed away a year ago, and the majority of that time spent working on staying clean and sober. I mean, majority about 18 months. It happened so fast.
PINSKY: Yes. Yes.
LISA: It`s shocking.
PINSKY: Shocking. Yes.
By the way, these ladies here would agree with you, the speed and the lethality.
MELKONIAN: The same night he fell asleep and, in fact, he was home and with his brother and my ex-husband, and they didn`t notice anything wrong with him. They couldn`t tell anything was wrong with him.
PINSKY: He just stopped breathing.
MELKONIAN: He ended up going to bed and not waking up.
PINSKY: I`ll remind you of Whitney Houston -- goes in the bath and stops breathing. I mean, that`s how this happens.
MELKONIAN: There were no signs, we couldn`t tell anything.
PINSKY: You said -- you wanted people to really be hyper vigilant about looking for drugs and you were one of those moms, right?
MELKONIAN: Yes. You know what? I never -- my son, my 17-year-old son never had a problem with drugs. My older son has had a problem with them. I was always very nervous about my older son, but not my younger one. In fact, my younger one would say, I`ll never do that, mom, I`ve seen what you`ve gone through with our brother, I would never ever going do that.
PINSKY: Sylvia, I`m going to have to interrupt you and continue that story when we get back.
Now, obviously our viewers` opinions matter, so, we`re going to get more of those comments and calls up next.
And really pay tribute to all the best and brightest that have been taken down by this. Be right back.
PINSKY: We are live tonight. And I`m still hammering about the deadly problem of prescription drug abuse. Now, we asked you guys for photos of loved ones who had died from this epidemic. And the response was overwhelming. So behind me are going to be the sons, mothers, brothers, and friends who have succumb to this condition as we continue this conversation.
I want to, however, read to you something that one of our viewers, Loretto Dilustro (ph), I hope that`s how you pronounce your name, wrote about her son John whose picture you`re going to see there. He died of respiratory failure January 3rd, 2011. So, this is a relatively fresh wound, leaving three broken-hearted sisters and mother. "Forever young, forever handsome, forever 27."
Yes, it brings it home. It`s so painful.
And Mary is sitting here cogitating about what she`s going to do to try to tackle this problem. It`s complicated.
BONO MACK: Well, it`s complicated. First, we have to raise awareness with everything. And I thank you for doing this.
BONO MACK: I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because as we`re saying, I don`t know how you train a parent. How do you look for this? It`s not alcohol. It`s not marijuana. You can`t do the sniff check.
It`s much more insidious than that. And you start by talking to your kids and having a very frank discussion about how deadly these pills are.
PINSKY: How dangerous it is. It doesn`t matter if a doctor prescribes it -- and particularly if you have a family history of addiction or alcoholism.
And, Sylvia, you were starting to tell us about what length you would go to try to check for pills.
MELKONIAN: Well, you know, I would -- you know, my sister`s a principal and she`s a teacher and she would tell me, you know, you`ve got to not only look in their backpacks and their rooms, but you need to actually take off the electrical panels, you know, look in the roof panels. I mean, these kids are really starting to hide things and they`re so clever with things -- places where I would never even imagine to look.
And even just -- even in -- within their toiletries, you know, it looks like they have a deodorant bottle. But, really, there`s pills inside. So, I mean, they get to be very, very sneaky, and you have to be that sneaky too because you can`t tell they`re on them.
PINSKY: And people are afraid to do any checking on their kids. Not only do you have to check, you have to be -- you have to be super hyper vigilant.
I want to read something from James who wrote us at Facebook says, "Please discuss the dangers of benzodiazepines. This drug is unique in that withdrawal can last for years after your final pill. I know, I`m going through it."
I specifically wanted to bring up James` point of view here because we`ve been talking a lot about painkillers, and every time we have these conversations. But the benzodiazepines, the valium-like drugs, the Levrin (ph), Ativan, sleeping pills, they are a big culprit, they are no doubt what contributed to Whitney Houston`s death.
And he`s right, the withdrawal can go on for easily 12 months after you get strung out and for a few months. It`s horrible, the misery, the anxiety, the sleeplessness.
And if doctors aren`t vigilant if that`s what they`re treating, they`ll give them more medicine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
PINSKY: It`s really a cunning, baffling condition, Mary. I mean, it`s tough.
BONO MACK: No, it is. I mean, you can take that to antibiotics. You need the medical profession, and I`m, as you know, the daughter of a teaching -- you know a teaching doctor.
BONO MACK: And I don`t want to tell them how to practice medicine. But it is to the point where we have to say, come on, we have to have a change in our thinking in the medical profession. I think if they have more education, perhaps, about --
PINSKY: Let me take an alternative approach. Maybe we empower physicians to say more -- teach them how to say no to antibiotics, no to pills, no to benzodiazepines, that we`re doing our patients a service when we say no to them and empower the doctor.
Patients get angry when you say no. Believe me, they don`t come back again.
Ladies, I want to thank you for sharing the stories. Mary, thank you for the hard work.
BONO MACK: Thank you.
PINSKY: I`m so grateful.
Next, prescription pill abuse killing kids, of course, and I`m answering more of your questions. Again, we`re taking that topic but also going out into other areas. So if you have questions about this really pandemic that is taking out the young, the best and the brightest.
PINSKY: Welcome back. We`ve been talking about prescription pill abuse, and every day, we are inundated with questions from you about this, and we`ve lately been getting just tons of questions. I`m trying to get other topics tonight, but if you overwhelm me with this topic, I`m happy to stay with it. John in Kentucky, what`s going on?
JOHN, KENTUCKY: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, John.
JOHN: I`m a recovering alcoholic, and I`d like to express my appreciation to last night`s Monique Houston.
PINSKY: Oh, yes.
JOHN: For speaking openly about addiction, specifically, concerning enabling and letting everyone know that a drug is a drug is a drug.
PINSKY: Yes. So, John, John. I don`t get recovering alcoholics to talk much on this show. So, I`m going to pick your brain a little bit. From the position -- did you hear what we were just talking about with the pills and all?
JOHN: Yes, I did.
PINSKY: Do you see a solution to that? I mean, A lot of people go, oh, it`s their own fault, you know? You know people think about addicts that way? And to some extent it is, right? I mean, to some extent, it is the addict`s fault? But do you see any solution to this? Is it just about raising awareness?
JOHN: Absolutely. I think that people need to take more responsibility for their own actions to a certain point. There`s a fine line there, but --
JOHN: I just see that there`s a pervasive idea that addictions are compartmentalized, and they`re not.
PINSKY: They`re not. It`s all the same thing. Right. OK. Thank you, John. It`s very, very, very helpful. Did it help you. Anything else for you?
JOHN: That`s all. Thanks.
PINSKY: OK. Take care. Good luck.
Anastasia writes, "This is ridiculous! Pills don`t kill if they`re taken as prescribed. It`s not the doctor`s fault if the patients abuse them." And that is the alternative point of view. That`s kind of what I was talking about there for a second, which is that it`s easy to blame the patients. I mean, don`t do that. I don`t like that.
But, you know, we had a McDonald`s mom leaving the kid there and the kids endangered. It`s easy to get angry at that mom. But I think there`s a bigger picture here. I don`t know. Maybe, I`m wrong. Kathy in California. What`s on your mind?
KATHY, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, Kathy.
KATHY: There is a bigger picture --
PINSKY: Please. Please, please. Tell me about it.
KATHY: Well, my twin brother died of alcoholism the old-fashioned way on December 3rd, 2010 --
PINSKY: It`s so -- I`ve got to tell you, isn`t that crazy? We have to say the old-fashioned way? The new way is pills.
KATHY: It`s crazy.
PINSKY: It`s crazy.
KATHY: Watching these women just reminds me how much the families need each other, and we need to get support. We need to go to Al-Anon.
KATHY: I want to thank you for educating people and bringing the Al- Anon to the forefront and the fact there is support for the families.
PINSKY: You know --
KATHY: So much focus -- it`s a family disease.
PINSKY: Kathy, let me tell you. I`m losing my cards here, but the way I look at it is -- I`m going to get a little heady here, but you need - - have you ever heard of Ariadne`s cord? Anybody in this room heard of that? The golden thread, anybody?
OK. Well, it`s a Greek myth. That this guy goes down to kill a minotaur and to find his way out of the maze that he`s in, he holds on to this thread, and that`s what you need with dealing with this condition. Or another way of thinking of it is like dealing with the plant in little shop of horror. You know, you go into the room and you get eaten by the plant.
That`s how this thing works. Even with professionals, I always have to have somebody with me as my golden thread, my golden thread. So, and that`s Al-Anon. That`s what Al-Anon is.
KATHY: I do have a question.
KATHY: One of the statistics I`ve heard over the years was that one addict alcoholic affects at least a minimum of five people.
PINSKY: Oh, yes. I think that`s a gross underestimation.
KATHY: And in my experience, there`s like ten times as many AA meetings as Al-Anon meetings.
PINSKY: Oh, that`s true. That`s true. Listen, here`s my frustration, my dead, and that`s why I`m so glad you bring this up, which is I tell people, when I`m dealing with families of patients, they tell me, oh, please, what do I have to do? I`ll do anything. I go, OK, you want to do the one thing that will make a difference?
Tonight, go to Al-Anon meetings, find a sponsor, keep going, work steps with that person, and they`re like, yes, yes, yes, but anything else I`ll do, I don`t want to do that. That`s the one thing that makes a difference.
KATHY: Really quick thing with you is that one of my first Al-Anon meetings, somebody came up to me afterwards because they couldn`t stop crying and said, can you just show up and let it drift down.
PINSKY: That`s deep wisdom. That`s profound.
KATHY: Showing up and working the steps.
PINSKY: Just show up. Just show up and the support of the others -- that`s how -- you guys, if there`s nothing else you ever take away from this particular show. I know we like to talk about other stuff, but -- people we affect one another, we do. We affect one another, and we can affect very negatively.
We certainly go over a lot of those stories every night here, and we can affect everyone very positively, and that`s what -- I`m sorry. What`s your name again? I lost it.
PINSKY: Kathy`s talking about. Well, you`re in Mary Bono`s area.
KATHY: Yes. And I love what she`s doing.
PINSKY: She`s doing a good job. I`m championing her, but thank you for your call.
Let me take an e-mail right now. This is from another Mary. "I am two months off Xanax. It should be banned. Everyone I know has them in their cupboard, at the very least. The doctor ignorance that is infesting the clinics is scary. My goal is to get my sister off benzos now."
So, she`s talking about Xanax, which is a medicine that`s a Valium- like drug. And, listen, the drugs aren`t -- the drugs aren`t good or bad. In fact, drugs are designed to help people. They are really good when they`re used properly. They`re really dangerous for people -- this particular class of drug, really dangerous if people have this thing, this biological thing we call addiction.
Xanax, fantastic drug. Vicodin, great drug. Opana, if you have cancer, great drug. Used by someone with addiction, overused by doctors, prescribed too liberally, extremely dangerous. Extremely dangerous.
Do we have other calls out there? You guys anything for me, a call, or am I going to Facebook? Guys, tell me. All right. Here`s Lisa. Lisa, we`ve spoken to you earlier, but I guess, you have a question. Go ahead.
LISA: I do have a question.
LISA: Since we know that it`s the number one cause of death in our nation for teens and young adults and 3,300 teens try, you know, prescription drugs every day for the first time. Do you think we should be doing more as far as passing laws requiring people to have legitimate prescriptions to keep them contained or locked up just as we do have laws in Florida that says we have laws, seatbelts?
PINSKY: Yes. Lisa, I understand the question you`re asking. I just don`t -- I am -- I don`t like government intruding on our lives. I don`t like government intruding on doctors` relationship with patients. I hate the idea of more laws. So, I don`t know that`s the answer. That`s the only thing I can think of. I think you`re kind of right.
There maybe should be something like that, but I choke on it. I hate that we`re at that point where we have to do this. And -- but certainly, we`ve got to do something. We`ve got to do something. That`s all.
LISA: At the very least, educating parents, that it is like keeping a loaded gun, because all the kids that I work with now, that`s where they all start. They start out of their homes or a friend`s home.
PINSKY: That`s right. No, no. That is out there. That they get it from the medicine cabinet, they get from their friends, stuff lying around. We are way too liberal with pills as a society. You know, we look at -- listen, I was raised by a family practitioner, and my dad is a family practitioner, and he would always, you know, say medicines you only take them when the risk is warranted.
I didn`t have an antibiotic until I was like 17 years old, because only the risk is warranted. Now, we see pills are the answer to everything. Going to make life better. It makes us happy. It`s going to make us -- pills are dangerous, all pills. Any medication could harm you. But they`re extremely useful when used properly and carefully.
Now, I want to take -- was that a Facebook? Can you give me that one again up there? I want to read it real quick. There we go. Nope, not that one. There we go. Denise, the comment was, "My husband is a medical examiner." I just want to share this one with you. "He says that most of their cases are just that. Every day they pick up someone who has OD`D on painkillers."
Think about that. The medical examiner, most of the cases are death from ODs. OK, guys. I ended up not talking about anything else, but the pills. I hope you`ll oblige me that tonight. "On-Call" segments going forward. I will continue to address anything you want, so I won`t get hang up here, but tonight, you guys inundate us with these, so I stayed with it.
I have one quick one about a Republican presidential candidate. It`s not drug-related. It`s Facebook from Sheila. "Every stinking election, someone has to drag it out when they know they don`t have enough votes just because their ego won`t let go. If they cared as much as they say they do, then they should bow out with grace and dignity. Are they narcissists, Dr. Drew?"
Well, I think to be in politics, you have to have a certain amount of narcissistic stuff going on. I did a large study on celebrities in our system. We found, you know, people that live public lives have narcissistic strategies. That`s just the way it is. And so, politicians, prime amongst them for sure, I think, though, there`s strategies being worked out here that elude us.
I mean, I think there are vice presidential hopefuls in here, and I think there are people thinking about four years, hence. I think there is aspects to this that are not just about the participant`s narcissism or our well being.
At HLN, we put a focus on what matters to you, and that includes politics, our country votes in a matter of months. Remember, it`s just around the corner, so, we`ll be continuing to cover that as well as the usual topics back after this.
Next up, a mother`s infant son was kidnapped eight years ago, but tonight, miraculous news, he`s alive. We`re going to hear from this mom`s remarkable story when we come back, so please stay with us.
PINSKY: In 2004, a mother named Auboni reportedly dropped off her infant son at her godmother`s home, but she went to pick them up later the following morning, both were gone. Now, earlier today, I talked to Auboni about this astonishing journey to find her son who has now been found in the anticipation of a reunion. Watch this.
AUBONI CHAMPION-MORIN, MISSING SON FOUNDER AFTER EIGHT YEARS: The most difficult part is not being able to see him yet.
CHAMPION-MORIN: It`s like I know he`s here. I know he`s OK. It`s just I want to see him so bad.
PINSKY: I think anyone would understand that. So, let`s go back to when he disappeared. You`re 21 years old, right? At that time?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Mm-hmm, yes.
PINSKY: And you give him to Crystal (ph), who was his godmother, is that correct?
PINSKY: And you`ve done that before, and you figured she`s trustworthy, and you know their entire family.
PINSKY: But she`s a high school student at the time, is that right?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Yes, but I wasn`t that much older than her. So, I went to go pick up my son. Her mother said they`ll be right back, and then, I went back and they were gone. It was like they had been gone -- she changed the whole story saying that oh, they left out of state and I`m like, OK, so I called the police.
PINSKY: So, that must have been -- I mean you must have been panic- stricken, right?
CHAMPION-MORIN: I panicked, I got mad, I was angry. I wanted to do so much, but my belief in God made me not do anything harmful to her, her mother.
PINSKY: So, you`re furious with Crystal`s mom who is covering for Crystal (ph), right?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Yes. I`m so, so mad.
PINSKY: And that woman lives near you for the next eight years while your son is gone?
CHAMPION-MORIN: After her daughter took my son, they moved. The whole entire family moved.
PINSKY: Oh, wow. And so, did the police pursue that family?
CHAMPION-MORIN: For what I know, no. They did a little bit of reports, and after that, they did not contact me about anything. And then, I found on the internet that they closed my son`s case.
PINSKY: Did you feel despair at that point? Were you depressed? I mean, your son is lost for good, is that what you thought?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Yes. I felt helpless.
CHAMPION-MORIN: Because I felt there was no help for me.
PINSKY: And if Crystal (ph) were here right now -- if she were here right now, what would you say to her?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Right now, I`d just -- I don`t even think I would say anything. I pity her right now.
PINSKY: You wouldn`t want to throttle her?
CHAMPION-MORIN: I`d probably want to fight her, but she`ll get hers in the end. She`ll get hers in the end.
PINSKY: I heard you say in a previous interview that the police were believing Crystal`s mother and not you. Tell me about that.
CHAMPION-MORIN: Yes, I feel they were believing her and whatever she was telling them because every time I asked them any questions. Well, oh, we don`t want to talk to you right now or -- they just didn`t feel like -- they made me feel like they didn`t care about anything I had to say. When I said can I do the polygraph test, they were like, well, right now, you can`t do it because you`re pregnant.
As soon as I have my child, can you come to me or can I come to you and do it? And they never gave me anything.
PINSKY: We heard that one of the issues the police had was that you couldn`t come up with a specific time and date that Miguel went missing. Is that correct?
CHAMPION-MORIN: No. I knew the exact date, November 16th, 2004. It was 8:43 in the morning.
PINSKY: Right. Is it that you were a teen mom? What was it? What was it that they were mistreating?
CHAMPION-MORIN: I think it was because I was a teen mom. I think because the teen mom -- in the neighborhood that I lived in at that point in time, it`s a very high-risk, very criminal area. I think that probably played a part in it.
PINSKY: This is really your chance to really speak about that. I mean, if you, again, if you want to represent that community, what would you say on their behalf to the police?
CHAMPION-MORIN: That community is not all a bad community. There are some good people there, and there are some bad people there, but from what I learned by staying -- I stayed in the fifth ward area. There are some good people out there, and I feel that the police do -- like when stuff happens out there, they don`t respond to it because of the criminal activity.
But what about the good work that`s being done, the volunteer work, the people who are graduating with top honors out there? They don`t see that. They just see the drug dealers and stuff. They don`t see the good stuff.
PINSKY: What`s that feeling you`re having? What are you thinking?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Just I want to cry, but I`ll try my best to hold my feelings in.
PINSKY: Why don`t you cry? I mean, that would be appropriate. I think people would understand why you would cry.
CHAMPION-MORIN: Yes. I just don`t like showing emotions much. My family brought me up as a real strong person and not to show emotions in public.
PINSKY: And where is this -- these tears coming from. What are they in response to?
CHAMPION-MORIN: My family is overjoyed right now. It`s just hard to deal with all this in such a little bit of time.
PINSKY: I bet.
CHAMPION-MORIN: It`s so hard, but I know if -- if I be patient, then everything will be OK. I`ve been patient, and I`ve prayed. So, -- and everything has gone good, so I`m going to keep doing it.
PINSKY: Fair enough. It has worked out so far. But my goodness, what a lot for a mother to go through.
PINSKY: And now, Miguel has to be a different person now. He`s almost, you know, end of his childhood. You missed his childhood. Aren`t you angry about that?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Yes. Yes, I am. I missed everything. I missed his first steps, words, missed everything.
PINSKY: How do you make that up to him? What do you tell him?
CHAMPION-MORIN: I don`t even know how to make it up to him. I just know that I`m going to be here for him in every way. Any questions that he has, I will try my best to answer them.
PINSKY: Yes. And what if he has positive feelings for Crystal (ph)? How do we deal with that?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Basically, I just work with him, go to a psychiatrist, and let him know that she was not the person whom you believed her to be. And I am the person. I`m the one who made you, and I`m the one who`s going to be there for you until I die.
PINSKY: Yes I`m really glad to hear that you`re open to working with mental health services and getting help. Is that something you`ve learned in your life to accept?
CHAMPION-MORIN: Yes. That`s -- I know in order for him to understand and comprehend everything that`s going on, because he only knew of her, I - - he has to go through that.
CHAMPION-MORIN: I have a lot of depression and stuff that`s dealing with this, too. So, I need counseling, too. We have to work together on this.
PINSKY: It`s so exciting to hear you say that, because that lets me know this is going to work out OK. You know, you`ll have a team pulling for you, working with you. And listen, just being 28 and having five kids, I don`t know how you do it. I don`t know how you do that.
CHAMPION-MORIN: As long as you teach your kids how to be good, everything works out. My kids are very well-mannered and loving children, and they believe in God just like their mother.
PINSKY: All right. Now, the godmother remains in custody without bond. The monster, really, that took away her child. I`m going to be joined by Pat Brown, criminal profiler to talk further about this case after the break. So, please don`t go away. I mean, what kind of person, a (INAUDIBLE) with a baby -- there she is right there. Don`t go away. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAMPION-MORIN: I missed everything. I missed his first steps, words, missed everything. I don`t even know how to make it up to him. I just know that I`m going to be here for him in every way. Any questions that he has, I will try my best to answer them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That is Auboni Champion. Eight years ago, her infant son was kidnapped by his godmother. Just this week, she learned -- there she is. She learned her child now eight years of age is alive and will be returned to her.
Joining me now to discuss this, Pat Brown, a criminal profiler. Pat, I`m trying to understand this whole family, apparently, got around this woman, the so-called godmother, and protected her and colluded in this. Are they all going to be held guilty of something here? I mean, they all knew this was not the girl`s child.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, no, Dr. Drew. This is absolutely unbelievable case, because Crystal (ph), the woman who took the child, as far as I`m concerned, isn`t all that bright. I mean, when the social worker showed up, she messed up all her stories. She couldn`t come with a straight story instead of saying this is my son.
She started saying, oh, maybe it`s somebody else`s son. I mean, my brother`s or whatever. She couldn`t even come up with a decent story. So, she can`t be that smart. So, what really concerns me is that law enforcement was not able to find her in eight years? I mean, that`s pretty disgusting, in my opinion.
I`m listening to her mother`s story, and I`m feeling she`s being pretty darn honest, a very truthful. I like her. I`m not saying maybe at the time that the child went missing --
PINSKY: Hold on. Slow down. Slow you roll, Pat. Hold on a second. I want to take a note here and just sort of make note of the fact that we`re not discussing a psychopath. We have (ph) somebody Pat likes. We haven`t noted this moment. This is extraordinary. So, go ahead. We believe the mom, I do too. I`m glad to hear that. My judgment is intact, at least, partially.
BROWN: Absolutely. I mean, the mother, I find her story very -- very truthful. Very heartfelt. She wants to do the right thing as far as her son. I believe what she is saying, but when she went to the police, they kind of said, oh, you`re having some squabble with your friends or the godmother of your kid and kind of leave it with you.
You all figure it out, which is appalling. I mean, this woman reported her son kidnapped, and it was not pursued, and it wasn`t like we didn`t know who stole the child. The child had -- you know the name was right there. So, I can`t believe they could not track this woman down and give this child back to the mother. I think it`s an appalling example of law enforcement.
PINSKY: It`s an indictment. Right. It`s an indictment of law enforcement that is something about maybe her social status, the fact that she was a teen mom, her color, the community she lived in, whatever it might be.
BROWN: It is inexcusable, and I do understand law enforcement, sometimes, you know, you get the situation where oh, my kid ran away from home and you heard that a million times, and the kid shows up a day later having spent some time doing drugs with their friend. You can`t run after every kid like that.
I understand that. I understand you get cynical. So, a lot of times, law enforcement does take a step back. But in this particular case, a baby was missing and a mother reported it and it should have been pursued. Now, as far as the woman who took her, well, I mean took him, the little boy.
Well, you`re not going to want me to call her psychopath, but what kind of woman steals another woman`s child and goes run off with him? I mean --
PINSKY: Well, you`ve at least said that she may be really impaired. I`m worried about her -- this woman that we just saw, her mother who protected her and colluded with this woman in getting her out of town with this baby. It`s unbelievable. And that woman`s got to be brought to justice, too.
BROWN: Well, we might see --
PINSKY: You agree? I`ve got ten seconds.
BROWN: Absolutely. We might see a whole family that needs something -- there`s something wrong with this entire family that they would do this to another woman and steal a baby. Even if you don`t like the woman or want a baby, no excuse for that.
PINSKY: Thanks, Pat. Got to say goodbye. See you all next time.