Return to Transcripts main page
Is It OK to be Fat?
Aired May 29, 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.
We`re a nation with an obesity problem. A new study shows even homeless people are obese, and more and more kids are starting to have surgery for obesity.
But my first two guests say we should just accept obese people. My third guest says, no way. What do you think?
And later, police believe a designer drug may have contributed to a gruesome attack. Details are shocking and the drug easily accessible to all, including your kids. You should be worried.
Let`s get started.
PINSKY: Good evening. Welcome.
A reminder: we`re taking your calls at 855-373-7395. That`s 855- DRDREW5.
Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. A new study shows a third of homeless people are even obese. Now, this is a really significant health issue in this country. And we`ll be revisiting it throughout the year.
There is, however, a fat acceptance movement, members of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, encourages others to embrace their obesity.
Joining me, two members: Jeanette DePatie. Did I get that right? And the group`s fitness adviser and author of the book "The Fat Chick Works Out" that`s you.
And Julianne Wotasik, she`s a member of NAAFA, for the past six years. Did you call yourself NAAFA?
JULIANNE WOTASIK, NATL. ASSOC. TO ADVANCE FAT ACCEPTANCE: NAAFA.
PINSK: OK. Why -- let`s start with you, Julianne -- why did you join the group?
WOTASIK: I came into the Los Angeles chapter of NAAFA by happenstance. I walked in and the thing that struck me, was I sat down across the room from this beautiful fat woman and I could immediately tell she knew she was beautiful. That was so foreign to me. I had to find out more.
PINSKY: So before that, you had felt like, judged, uncomfortable, or your self-esteem was depressed because of your weight?
WOTASIK: Very low. My self-esteem was very low. I felt very shamed and ashamed of my body and felt like I spent most of my life trying to disappear.
PINSKY: Did you try to lose weight?
WOTASIK: Absolutely. I did dieting for many, many years, from when I was as young as maybe 10 years old. I was put on diets and tried without much success at all to lose weight.
PINSKY: And, Jeanette, you`re actually the witness instructor for the group, right?
JEANNETTE DEPATIE, NATL. ASSOC. TO ADVANCE FAT ACCEPTANCE: Yes. I work with them.
PINSKY: And so, do you also try to lose weight? Or just work on conditioning?
DEPATIE: You know what, I believe that health is about healthy behavior. You should do healthy things. Your weight is going to do what your weight is going to do.
So, I focus on eating healthy foods, I focus on getting regular exercise, good sleep, manage my stress and my weight is going to be what my weight is going to be.
PINSKY: Do most of the members cooperate with the dietary suggestions?
DEPATIE: You know what? I only offer advice when it`s asked for. That`s one of the things that I think that people with size deal with all the time, is that everybody feels like they should be able to tell you how you should live and what you should eat and what you should do.
And you know what? I think that people of size should be allowed to live their own lives the way that they want and I`m there as a resource if they need my help.
PINSKY: All right. Let`s get to a couple calls.
This is Anissa in Texas? Anissa?
ANISSA, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Yes.
PINSKY: Hey there.
ANISSA: Hi. How are you, Dr. Drew?
PINSKY: I`m good. How are you?
I just want to make a statement, at my heaviest I weighed 387 pounds. I eventually get down to 167 by watching what I eat and literally working my butt off. When I did weigh 387 pounds, Dr. Drew, I would tell myself and everyone else that I totally loved myself.
And I can tell you that I was essentially lying to myself and everyone else around me. One day, I just woke up and realized that my lying was essentially what psychologists would call a defense mechanism.
ANISSA: I thought that as long as I protected myself and allowed myself to believe this thought process, that I was justifying my obesity, there was nothing wrong with it.
PINSKY: Did you adjust your thinking and as a result of adjusting your thinking did it make it -- were you more able to change your behavior and lose weight?
ANISSA: Absolutely. Absolutely, Dr. Drew. I realized that while I considered some days, oh, yes, I`m eating real healthy, the next day I may sit down and eat a half a gallon of ice creams.
So, it was really the fluctuations of constantly justifying -- well, I can eat this because I ate good the day before.
PINSKY: OK. Hang on, now. What do you guys say to this?
DEPATIE: Well, there`s a couple things I would say. First of all, every body is different. And how something works in her body might be completely different --
PINSKY: She was talking about her emotional take on her weight.
DEPATIE: Yes. I think that, you know, that may be true for her, and if she was lying to herself about her self-acceptance, then I`m sorry for her, but I think that it`s a big leap to assume that everybody who feels that they accept their body is lying to themselves. I mean, I -- I don`t think I`m lying to myself. I really feel comfortable in my skin.
PINSKY: What if you were having medicals consequences from your weight? Would that be denial?
DEPATIE: Well, I think it`s difficult to talk about medical consequences from your weight.
DEPATIE: There`s a lot of medical consequences that come from a lot of different things.
PINSKY: Let`s say you have sleep apnea. Let`s say sleep apnea, related to weight itself.
DEPATIE: Have sleep apnea? Some do right?
PINSKY: No. Let`s be clear. There`s an obesity instructive sleep apnea. Let`s be clear. That`s what that is. We know it as doctors when someone has that. That`s not central sleep apnea, what you`re talking about.
PINSKY: Obesity related sleep apnea. I imagine you have that. Do you have that?
WOTASIK: I do not actually.
PINSKY: So you could sleep flat down at night?
WOTASIK: I could, sure.
PINSKY: OK. Most people would have that at her weight because the trans-thoracic pressure causes that. That`s a fact. That`s a medical fact. And that`s a health problem related to weight.
Just is. That`s just the way it goes.
DEPATIE: But there are no scientifically proven ways for people to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off. So if, you know, you look at the studies about weight loss, in the one to three-year range, sure, they lose weight, but in the three to five-year range, you see a lot of that weight creeping back up.
So I think that focusing on the weight is focusing on the wrong thing. I say focus on lifestyle. Focus on eating healthy. Focus on exercising. Those are the things that are going to give you the best chance at health.
PINSKY: I don`t this agree with that. Let`s go to Karen in Ohio. Karen?
KAREN, CALLER FROM OHIO: Hello. Thank you, Dr. Drew, for taking my call.
KAREN: About 20 years ago, I had a back injury at work and put on 30 pounds in three months. I was just coming to the end of that weight loss from that injury and I realized I was pregnant with my first son. Since then, it`s been a continual uphill.
Last year, I did lose 21 pounds from working my butt off, like the other girl said. It`s like very, very hard. It was just a job in itself. Because I wanted to lose 50 pounds before my son graduated which is in two days. I`m nowhere close to that.
KAREN: And I`m just really discouraged and I`m just looking for ideas on what I should do.
PINSKY: Here`s the one thing that I hear, is that the weight thing, and particularly for women, it causes so much misery and pain.
PINSKY: That`s what I like about your movement is that whether or not -- that previous caller worried me. It makes me thing, well, if you -- can`t you accept how you are and be healthy and try to lose weight? Can`t you do both?
WOTASIK: Well, for me, I think the best thing I ever did for my health was accept myself. What you talked about, the mental anguish that you go through, as a woman, all people in this society, obsessing about trying to fit yourself into an ideal, a beauty ideal, and trying to lose weight and if you don`t lose weight you`re not successful, you`re not healthy. For me, letting all of that go has improved my mental and physical health drastically.
PINSKY: Was there something going on with your physical health?
WOTASIK: You know, more that was depression and because I was yo-yo dieting and losing weight and gaining it back. I had a lot of fatigue and a lot of side effects that come. They`re very proven with yo-yo dieting. So, letting that go has been a benefit for me.
PINSKY: Let`s hear from Felecia in Florida -- Felecia.
FELECIA, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: Hi, Dr. Drew, thanks for having me.
I think it`s perfectly fine to love yourself. I just don`t understand why people are so hesitant about loving themselves whether they`re fat or thin, and I think it should be called size acceptance and not just fat acceptance.
PINSKY: That`s interesting. How do you guys feel about that?
Hold on, Felecia. That`s a good point.
WOTASIK: That`s a term we use, size acceptance. In our group, we have fat activists and size activists of all sizes. People who simply believe that all bodies are good bodies, any size, any shape, they all should be celebrated and all should be valued, so that we could take care of what we love.
PINSKY: And why do women bear such a burden for this? It`s so unfair what women have to bear in our society.
DEPATIE: I think a lot of it has to do with the way the media portrays women, and I think that there is a body ideal that is not common among women. Your average American does not look like the average person on television.
WOTASIK: That`s true.
DEPATIE: Unless you`re talking about us. That`s a different story.
PINSKY: Now you`re on TV.
All right. Next up, I`m going to talk to a woman who says fat acceptance, or size acceptance, is not the right message. She`ll have her opinion.
We`ll continue to hear from you guys with calls. Stay with us.
PINSKY: We are back and we`re speaking about obesity. Do you think it`s OK, we should be more accepting, of people who are overweight?
Tonight with me are two members of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, or NAAFA. They say overweight people shouldn`t be ashamed and should embrace their bodies no matter what size they are. They don`t necessarily encourage each other to diet and they believe health and size are two separate issues.
Head nodding out here.
It`s hard to disagree about the idea of being happy and accepting yourself and not feeling demeaned by whatever your body size or image is.
Meme Roth disagrees. She`s founder and president of National Action Against Obesity.
Meme, you say this is misleading. Have at it a little bit.
MEME ROTH, NATL. ACTION AGAINST OBESITY: Well, I certainly think that we all want to feel good about ourselves. That`s understandable. I don`t think people should feel demeaned by their size.
And I also couldn`t agree more with the message of daily exercise. No matter what size you are, you`ll certainly benefit from daily exercise. You can`t be healthy without that.
But then let`s talk about where we disagree. Look, if you want to feel good about yourself, it`s impossible to feel good about yourself when you`re doing something that`s self-destructive. Also, self-destructive behaviors that result in damage, or debilitation or even disfigurement to the body, that`s never going to be perceived as beautiful.
PINSKY: Jeanette, what about -- I`m going to ask me this. What about what Jeanette said, the data, in three to five years, even people that lose weight gain it back. We`ve heard about it on "The Biggest Loser." We heard about a lot of these people gain their weight back, despite of doing a great job losing on television show.
What about that, Meme?
ROTH: She`s right. Most studies show there`s a 95 percent failure weight of keeping weight off and losing it. However, there`s the weight maintenance registry that tracks people who have lost significant weight and kept it off year after year.
And here`s what those people have in common. They stick to food that`s healthy and works for them that they like. They regularly eat similar things, try not to go to buffets where choices are endless. They exercise at least about an hour a day and weigh themselves regularly.
So it is a fact that people can lose weight and keep it off. It`s also a fact that it`s really hard to do.
DEPATIE: Well, first of all, they don`t really keep the data very long on that registry. It`s only a couple years. So technically I`ve qualified twice to be on the weight control registry.
ROTH: Actually, that`s not true. They do keep it year after year. So let`s be accurate.
DEPATIE: Well, the thing is that, I think that the HAES approach, the health at every size approach, has been documented to work. And it`s been documented to work year after year.
ROTH: What do you mean work? What do you mean work? Because health at every size is a lie. If you starve yourself into damage, that`s unhealthy. If you eat yourself --
DEPATIE: You`re making a lot of assumptions.
ROTH: That`s not true.
DEPATIE: You`re making a lot of a assumptions about being --
ROTH: Let`s say you`re a smoker and have black lungs and you try to say that`s healthy because you don`t have cancer yet. We know that it is actually factual that obesity is dangerous and it`s connected to cancer, stroke, Alzheimer`s. We even know it`s connected to an increase in birth defects.
So, there`s nothing left to debate. It`s not beautiful. It`s not healthy.
PINSKY: Meme, do you have some personal connection to all this? I don`t know your story. Tell me.
ROTH: Yes. My entire family is obese, and I have to tell you, when you grow up with the people that you love and respect the most and you see the hardship, the damage to their bodies and spirit due to obesity, it breaks your heart.
My grandmother just passed away this February, and she lay in a bed for four years, not even getting up to go to the bathroom because she got so heavy. She had to be put in a home.
And it`s just beyond tragic, and I think calling what gets people to that point beautiful is dangerous and really cruel. I think it comes from a good place, wanting people to feel good, but I think something like Overeaters Anonymous might be more helpful than pretending obesity is healthy and beautiful.
PINSKY: Let`s take a quick call. Cathy in Washington, go ahead.
CATHY, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON: Hi, Dr. Drew.
CATHY: I believe, it`s acceptable. Yes, it`s acceptable. Healthy, no.
I say this because I am obese. I have struggled with the weight all my life and my appearance. I`m 56 now, and I`m petrified about my health in the future.
When I was younger, I used to say, oh, I`ll lose weight next month, next week. You know, I would lose the weight and it would come back. And I`ve developed high blood pressure, and the weight, you know, it`s difficult for me to move around, and I need to fix this.
PINSKY: And, Cathy, I got to say, it`s interesting as a physician listening to this. Meme, I respond to you in a similar way hearing the story about your grandmother, which is that we as doctors are failing people with weight issues.
Listen, to put your grandmother on a vegan diet, you know, the stuff you see on television during daytime, is so unrealistic and so ridiculous. And so I just don`t think my profession, other than bariatric surgeries which has its own sorts of problems and things associated with it, you know, we need to work a little harder on this issue. I think it`s -- I think some of it is you`ve all been sort of skirting around a mental health issue here that gets involved with all of this. I`m not sure we`re doing the job we should do, the physicians.
I know there are many doctors dedicated to it, don`t get me wrong. But we haven`t unlocked the code yet.
Jeanette, you want to say something?
DEPATIE: Yes, I want to address that. One of the things I want to say about that is that I think you need to separate the idea of weight from healthy behavior.
Now, I have students when they come to me, when they start my class, they can barely walk from the car to my class. And over the course of a year, I`ll take them from that point to working out three-plus hours per week.
PINSKY: There`s your class. That`s a massive improvement. That`s no longer people with medical issues. Those are people you`ve taken and proved them --
DEPATIE: But they haven`t necessarily lost a lot of weight. Some of them have lost weight and they`ve had these medical improvements and they`ve had these life improvements, these life freedom improvements without losing weight.
PINSKY: Meme, I`ll give you last comment here before I go to break.
ROTH: Just to be clear, my grandmother was not on a vegan diet. She was still calling the Piggly Wiggly for cakes and pies when she couldn`t get out of bed.
PINSKY: But I`m just saying --
ROTH: I agree with you, it`s a behavioral psychology issue.
PINSKY: Meme, I`m just saying, we haven`t figured out how to approach somebody like your grandmother yet. If somebody were to suggest that she`d go on a vegan diet, I dare say that`s ridiculous. And Piggly Wiggly doesn`t have Vegan alternatives. I`m just saying. I`m just saying.
That`s my point, we should have something to offer somebody like your grandmother.
ROTH: I agree. I think it`s a behavioral psychology support everyone needs because it`s about developing the prefrontal cortex and exercising those executive function. We teach people to control anger from childhood, their sexual impulses, but we do terrible things about food. We surround people in a food environment.
PINSKY: Got to wrap it. Coming back with more Meme and more calls after this.
PINSKY: Welcome back. With the obesity epidemic really reaching concerning proportions, we`re asking this question, should we just be accepting of people being fat, to be more OK with it?
Jeanette and Julianne are members of National Association of Advanced Fat Acceptance, or NAAFA. They believe it`s OK.
But Meme Roth, the president of the National Action Against Obesity -- man, there are committees for everything -- she says no way. Her group is dedicated to reversing the obesity trend.
Meme, two-thirds of Americans are overweight. I think I`ve heard -- I think it was you who said if you`re as much as 10 percent over your ideal body weight, you`re at risk for certain medical issues. I`m not sure if that data is exactly right. But are we in a crisis?
ROTH: Oh, this is beyond crisis. When you watch what happens in the coming decades, most of our contemporaries will be on immobility scooters, having a hard time sitting in a chair, having a hard time traveling. Many of us will be on diabetes medication for decades.
This is a tsunami of a disaster heading our way. And these kids, that`s the worst of it.
But I have this to say to their organization. Does every member of your organization -- one, we know you ostracize people if they discuss losing weight -- but do you have people sign a release saying, I accept the way I eat, that I accept all consequences so no insurance company, no employer, and no government entity is going to come in and pay for the consequences of my eating? Because if you want the freedom to do whatever you want to your body, you have to also take those consequences.
PINSKY: I will answer for them. I don`t think they have that document signed. I`m just guessing.
Let`s take a quick call. Rebecca in Alaska.
REBECCA, CALLER FROM ALASKA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Rebecca.
REBECCA: My question originally was, is it OK to discriminate against these people because they`re fat? The more I listen to what you are saying, the more disgusted I am.
REBECCA: You`re saying doctors shouldn`t treat you because you overeat? Should we stop treating lung cancer because people smoke? Should we stop treating drug addiction because these people took drugs? I`m disgusted.
PINSKY: That`s I think what Meme was saying, by dealing with -- she seemed to specifically mention behavioral psychology and 12 step-type groups. Bu again, Meme, people have to be super motivated to do that. That is tough work, you know? And I think that`s what you`re advocating.
ROTH: Yes, look, let me tell you something. I find it really hard to not get heavy. I run four miles a day and I say no to a lot of food that I really would love to chow down on, but because I didn`t hear a message like these women try to tell people, I`ve never tried to celebrate obesity or say it`s beautiful.
I know it`s unacceptable. I know it`s damaging. I would never want to model for my children the kind of food behavior I saw growing up.
I see the road where obesity takes people and it`s terrible. And I want to avoid that for myself and anyone I can convince to avoid it for themselves. I really hope you`ll hear it.
PINSKY: Now, ladies, if you -- there are people on Facebook right now writing in who have one question for you. If you could be fat or thin, would you rather be thin?
PINSKY: Not rather be thin.
WOTASIK: I wouldn`t. I do agree that there is stigma that I have to deal with because I am fat, but I`m actually really in celebration of my body. I find beauty in diversity. I think we come in all shapes and sizes.
And the assumption that we`ve dealt with a lot on this show is that just because you`re obese you must overeat, you must have an eating disorder. I know that not to be the case. You can have a healthy relationship.
PINSKY: Thank you, guys. Thank you, Jeanette. Thank you, Julianne. And, Meme, thank you. I appreciate you guys coming in and having this conversation.
Next up, this is incredible. A man is killed after police say his -- he was eating the face off a homeless man. That`s right. We`re going to get into that story after the break and what may have prompted the crime.
Bath salt are being discussed which is not a salt you put in your bath. It`s a drug it you can get over the counter and it`s really dangerous. It`s like the worst speed ever.
Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, the gruesome assault reads like a zombie thriller. Police say one man ferociously attacked another, biting, and chewing on his face. When an officer yelled to stop, the attacker looked up and growled like an animal. The officer ended up shooting the attacker dead.
Officials think a drug commonly called bath salts may have been involved and police report that it may have played a role in a rash of violent incidents of late. The worst part, bath salts are easily accessible to your kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): All right. This next story is just over the top. What caused a man to eat another man`s face off? The attack happened in broad daylight. Investigators say Rudy Eugene (ph) may have been on a drug which is called bath salts. Now, you guys, it has nothing to do with the bath, these so-called bath salts.
If you saw our show last week, I went into a shop and bought the bath salts, and this is a series of chemicals that is related to amphetamine and ecstasy. It causes hallucinogenic properties and it causes stimulant properties. It causes a delirium. Meaning, you are completely detached from reality because of a biological disturbance in your brain caused by bath salts.
I`m going to say it again. Nothing to do with a bath. It is a pure drug that people snort and shoot. It can trigger violence. Some people have been shown to have unexpected strength. Again, I talked about this and spice which is a different thing altogether. Both can be bought over the counter.
So, this is a warning for your kids. They will ask for their I.D. as they asked me for my I.D. when I bought these drugs. You have to be over 18, of course, to buy these products. Fantastic. Joining me to discuss this, "Celebrity Rehab," Shelly Sprague. Shelley, have you ever -- you`ve seen people react violently from bath salts. I know I have.
SHELLY SPRAGUE, RESIDENT TECHNICIAN. VHL`S "CELEBRITY REHAB": I have seen people react violently, and I`ve seen them in full psychosis, and I`ve seen them take a --like, 30 days to get back into reality. This drug is, by far, something that needs to absolutely come out of and off the shelves, and we need to give awareness to everybody.
PINSKY: Now, I`m required to say that we reached out to these companies that make so-called bath salts. Again, these are not bath salts. They`re just called bath salts. No response, thus far. And I can tell you, as someone who works in this field, that as soon as we are able to identify the particular molecule that`s in the bath salts, they change them a little bit so they can get under the wire legally.
SPRAGUE: Under the FDA.
PINSKY: Or any other legal organization that`s trying to control these things. But, they do ask for I.D. when you buy them. So, little kids aren`t going to hands this, but adult -- the adult children, if you have adult children, they could get their hands on these things terribly easily. Let`s go to a quick call. Renee in Ohio, what do you got for me?
RENEE, OHIO: Hi, Dr. Drew. I just wanted to call and let you know how terrifying it is to live with someone who`s abusing bath salts.
PINSKY: Oh, you`ve been through that?
RENEE: Yes, my ex-husband was abusing bath salts, and it is absolutely terrifying to live like that.
PINSKY: Renee, can you describe what it was like? Shelly and I have seen this. And we know how out of their mind they are, but also, the irritability, the liability (ph), and the incredible aggression and violence, right?
RENEE: Absolutely. All of that. The hallucinations are probably the scariest. When they`re speaking to people who aren`t there, and they`re expecting you to acknowledge them, when they`re getting angry and getting violent, breaking things.
It`s absolutely terrifying, especially when this person has no history of, you know, mental problems at all, and there`s children involved. It`s absolutely terrifying.
PINSKY: How is he doing now?
RENEE: Well, we`re divorced now.
PINSKY: Did he get through this? Did he survive it? Even off the drugs he`s changed?
RENEE: Absolutely. Off the drugs, he is not the same person.
PINSKY: Yes. Shelly, that was one of the concerns with this, that it causes really brain damage like so many hallucinogenics, right? I want to go out to Mike Brooks, HLN legal analyst. Now, Mike, what`s the protocol for apprehending somebody that is clearly in an altered state like this? Was it appropriate for them to shoot to kill?
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It depends. If that officer thought that his life was in danger, Dr. Drew, yes, use of deadly force is justified. But, you know, this sounds like a combination of LSD and PCP, because I used to deal in Washington, D.C., on the streets there, when I was a young uniformed officer, with PCP all the time.
And it sounds a lot like that, but without the hallucinations that you get sometimes with LSD. But, you know, they`ve also got less than lethal that could possibly work, but I know I have tasered someone who was on PCP at the time. They pulled the barbs out and said, is that the best you got?
You know, so these kind of things, these bath salts, they pose a public safety danger to both police, fire, EMS, and emergency room personnel when someone`s transported to the hospital.
PINSKY: You know, Mike, that`s a really good point. We got some disturbing video. I want to warn you, this is -- if you have young children in the room, what not, we`re going to look at the video of this guy`s behavior. Let`s go to that. I`ve not seen this yet, so let`s all watch this together. This is actually, I guess, after the whole incident?
Yes, this is them after the attack. So, one is the victim and one is the gentleman that was shot. And I imagine that`s law enforcement walking by there. My understanding is the victim, meaning the gentleman who was attacked by the bath salt user is in an intensive care unit, obviously, has tremendous surgical needs and wound problems at the present time.
I don`t know, Mike, you know, I`ve seen law enforcement take very aggressive action against mental health patients, and sometimes, I`ve been somewhat ambivalent about that because there usually are ways to subdue them other than lethal force, aren`t there?
BROOKS: There are, but a lot of times people who are on drugs like this, Dr. Drew, they have no effect. Pepper spray will have no effect on them. As I said, a taser sometimes would not have an effect, sometimes, it will. It depends on what`s going on inside, what else they have onboard.
But then, you also have the use of a baton, which is, you know, you`ll get down -- as I say, get down and dirty with someone and have to use force that can sometimes become lethal. But these are what we call, though, less than lethal, but they can be lethal under certain circumstances.
But again, if an officer feels that his or her life is in danger and they can articulate that, then the use of deadly force, you know, it`s a case-by-case basis.
PINSKY: All right. Let`s go back to the phones. Tony in California. -- Tony.
TONY, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I`m a weed smoker, and I`ve tried spice before. And I would not recommend it for anybody to try or go buy it at the store.
PINSKY: Well, Tony, we did that product -- spice is completely different than bath salts. As I`ve repeatedly said to everybody here, spice is a topic we did last week. And, yes, spice is very dangerous.
Shelly, you and I have seen problems with people having seizures, I mean, untoward reactions to spice. Unfortunately, people sometimes pick up the spice and the bath salts across the same counter.
SPRAGUE: Yes, exactly. It is over the counter at these shops, and, you know -- and it`s also not -- nobody has tests for it, so you can be in sober living, you could be testing on parole, probation, and you`re not getting -- they`re not coming up positive, so people can be on these drugs. And so, we`re just now trying to keep up with the changes in the bath salts and the spice.
PINSKY: And the reason they`re called bath salts, when I bought the bath salts last week, they come in a little bottle, look like cocaine, like cocaine really, but they look like salt, like a bath salt. And of course, when you buy them across the counter, they say, oh, no, you put these in your bath. Of course. Of course, you do.
SPRAGUE: Yes, of course. Of course. Just like you use this for tobacco.
PINSKY: Right, exactly. Wanda in California, question, comment?
WANDA, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I just don`t understand with all these side effects and everything going on, how this is at all legal?
WANDA: Well, let me -- there`s two questions, and both of my guests can answer each aspect of this. My question always is, with all these known horrible consequences of using, Shelly, why do people use these drugs?
SPRAGUE: Because they`re drug addicts, and drug addicts use drugs.
PINSKY: Cheers, mate. And then, Mike, why aren`t we able to keep up with this? It seems that they change the compounds faster than we keep up with, yes?
BROOKS: That`s it. Exactly. And, the drug Enforcement Administration that kind of oversees the regulations of narcotics and dangerous drugs, you know, they`re probably having a hard time keeping up with it also. But, again, why, if it`s not bath salts, as you know, Dr. Drew, it`s going to be something else somebody`s going to go try.
PINSKY: Well, you`re absolutely right. I always want to know who the first toad licker was. You have to squeeze the eye of the toad and dry it -- (INAUDIBLE)
SPRAGUE: Who is the first one that tried that?
PINSKY: Who is the first one who squeezed the toad?
SPRAGUE: Or dust-off. Who`s the first one that did dust-off?
PINSKY: Did the computer cleaner into their mouth. Yes. That`s another interesting thing. But again, for those you at home, no confusion about this following explanation I`m going to give you. It is not a bath salt. Please, don`t confuse it with the (INAUDIBLE) or things you put in your bath. They`re simply called bath salts.
These are a stimulant like amphetamine sort of amphetamine meets ecstasy is really what these chemicals are. They`re changing them all the time. And the legal system can`t keep up with them. And they`re available over the counter. And with an I.D., your kids can get them.
Next up, I`m answering your calls about anything.
PINSKY: Welcome back. Now, before I get to your calls, I want to mention that before the break, we showed you the mug shot of a male suspect who`d been shot by Miami police after he was found allegedly eating the face off a male victim. I need to point out that that mug shot was of the suspect from a previous arrest.
OK. Now, did you hear about this? According to a recent report, a suspect in the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz allegedly confessed he strangled (ph) a boy to his prayer group, yet, those in the group didn`t tell authorities what they heard. Would you keep a secret like this
Going out to Facebook. Tiffany says, "If they kept the secret, then, they should be held as accessories and be charged in his disappearance and murder as well. No excuse for that."
Wendy says, "I could not keep that secret, but it doesn`t mean the ones he told are bad people."
All right. Kathy in New Hampshire, you got a call for me? Go right ahead.
KATHY, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Yes, I agree. I think that there`s no confidentiality with the prayer group like there is say with AA or any of the other groups that meet. So, anybody hearing that that didn`t report it, if he went out and killed somebody else, then that`s on them, too, because --
PINSKY: It`s an interesting point, right? That`s right. So, the guy says in a prayer group, imagine, he was asking for forgiveness or something or to be accepted. I`m stunned as you are that somebody didn`t say something. Wouldn`t you think?
KATHY: Exactly. And I think there`s too much of that everywhere. A lot of different things, not just this awful, awful case.
PINSKY: And it`s sort of a --
KATHY: --what we were taught.
PINSKY: You`re absolutely right. It`s sort of like a communal denial we go into. I can imagine what probably went through these people`s mind was, oh, no, no, he couldn`t mean that. you may sort of click into some explanation rather than going, oh, I need to do something here.
KATHY: Exactly. That`s -- check it out, you know, not just walk away from it.
PINSKY: You`re absolutely right. Thank you for that call. I appreciate it. Laurie in Ohio, what do you got?
LAURIE, OHIO: Well, Dr. Drew, my daughter had been acting kind of weird over the last six months, and I finally started doing some investigating.
LAURIE: And I found out on Twitter that she had been drinking. There were pictures posted.
PINSKY: OK. Let me ask you, before you go on, how old is she?
LAURIE: She is one month away from being 18.
PINSKY: OK. And is there any family history of alcoholism, your husband or your parents or anything like that?
LAURIE: Both sides of our family, both of our -- my husband`s parents and my dad.
PINSKY: OK. Got it. So, what can I do for you?
LAURIE: Well, I was just -- you know, we grounded her, we talked to her. It`s her behavior, it`s -- she`s a good girl. I mean, she`s never done this before. She has left places when drinking or drugs would start. I mean, you know, she always had a good head --
PINSKY: Laurie, let me ask you this. What`s the behavior you`re seeing that concerns you?
LAURIE: She was real -- she was secretive and hiding, changed friends, dressing. And now, she`s just really hateful.
PINSKY: Oh. Irritable.
LAURIE: Because she`s grounded. I just --
PINSKY: You know -- I may be making a provocative suggestion here, but I suggest you test her urine, because that`s the only objective test that we have for drug use. If you were worried that she had anemia or thyroid problem, you would take her to the doctor and get a blood test. If she has addiction or drug use, the urine toxicology screen is all we have.
You can get them in any drugstore. They`re widely available. She`s not 18 yet. She could be required to take this test. If you`re afraid to do that, and a lot of parents have difficulty with it for various reasons, then, at least get her evaluated. Does she have healthcare insurance? I mean, is she able to get medical care?
LAURIE: Yes, she -- I did test her urine, and it was clear --
PINSKY: Laurie, well done. Well done. You`re enlightened parent. Good job. All right, but listen, something is up. It may not be full blown yet, but you`ve got your eye on the ball. My basic note when you know -- if you`re aware something is up, something`s going on far worse than you suspect.
That`s usually the rule of thumb. And so, please get her medical evaluation and get some professional assistance so you are not trying to go this alone. It`s really important. If you have healthcare, if you have access to healthcare, her pediatrician, your primary doctor, and then a referral out for mental health professional, just so somebody else is there.
God forbid something horrible happens to her, and you haven`t reached out for help. And by the way, you may abort an awful lot of pain in the future by getting help now. Kayla in Maryland. Kayla, what do you got for me?
KAYLA, MARYLAND: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Kayla.
KAYLA: I live with chronic depression and anxiety and have for many years now. And so, far as this idea has made headway with stigma related to mental illness, I still can`t help but feel that it affects my ability to have healthy, romantic relationships.
PINSKY: OK. Well, you know, one of the big problems with depression these days is the medication that are prescribed get in the way of relationships because it dampens your libido and your physical intimacy get screwed up. And the time when you really need your close relationships, this gets in the way of that. Is that the kind of thing you mean?
KAYLA: That has been an issue. And I`ve been working with my physician.
KAYLA: And he`s wonderful, but my major thing is I`m often hesitant to tell potential partners of my disease.
PINSKY: Oh, my goodness. That`s tough. The other part is people -- we become kind of glib about depression. We`ve become sort of familiar with a chemical imbalance that the expectation is, well, we`ll just fix that chemical imbalance. And the fact I, about 50 percent of depressions at least recur, and it ends up being, you know, recurrent or a chronic condition.
And I can understand you would feel that way, Kayla. I understand that we need to do better about helping people understand what chronic conditions are as opposed to an acute, you know, chemical imbalance.
PINSKY: And also, do you have any trauma history? Anything bad happen in your childhood?
KAYLA: Actually, the depression surfaced when I was 18. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin`s disease.
PINSKY: Oh, my goodness. So, you had -- yes. So, this may be related to the chemotherapies and what not you received from the Hodgkin`s.
KAYLA: Yes, absolutely.
PINSKY: Got it.
KAYLA: I`m interested on your thoughts as to when is a good time or point in a relationship to disclose this information and is there even a best way to go about it?
PINSKY: Yes. I would say this, and this may sound a little bit glib, but generally, I say about three to five dates in. Once the point, someone is invested in you and sees you as a person and for who you really are and are interested in you, but before it becomes, why didn`t you tell me? You know what I mean?
So, three to five dates in when you`re starting to really get a pattern with somebody. And how to tell them is to be matter of fact about it, but be clear about the realities of it.
Got to take a break. More calls after this.
PINSKY: Back to calls. A reminder, 855-DrDrew5 is where you can call us. Elizabeth in Florida.
ELIZABETH, FLORIDA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH: My husband is a marine getting ready to deploy in a few months, and we`re trying to get financially prepared. And, usually, he sends his mom a nice amount of money, you know, to help her out.
But, we tried explaining to her that recently we`re going to be coming into, you know, this deployment, and she completely flipped out on him and said that he was a bad son for not wanting to help her and for instead preferring to spend it with me because she doesn`t like me. So, we tried talking to her and it didn`t work and it ended very badly.
And my worry is this. That he goes on deployment and he`s not mentally ready because of the stress of what his mom has been doing, and I fear that if these arguments get worse, it may affect him in Afghanistan. So, I`m not sure whether we should just stop talking to her until he comes back?
PINSKY: OK. You`re asking some very difficult questions, Elizabeth. First of all, let me say, thank you for your sacrifice and your husband`s sacrifice. We don`t thank the families enough. And I do know the families suffer. One of the great sort of astonishing features of my career is I didn`t expect to be talking to so many young people that served in battle.
Now, as far as his mom goes, you can`t change her. She`s being unreasonable. You tried to be direct, I`m sure, and clear with her, and she continued to be unreasonable. You have to get your support your husband to be healthy and autonomous and realize that he`s still being a good son, but he also his primary responsibility is his new family. Do you guys have kids?
ELIZABETH: Not yet.
PINSKY: But you`re going to, right?
ELIZABETH: Yes, sir.
PINSKY: This is his life now, that his mom is a big girl. She`s having a little tantrum, but he needs to focus on his primary responsibility. I don`t -- I`d be surprised if it affected his functioning over there. But he certainly, if he does start to feel depressed or ambivalent, should speak up about it. Obviously, there are mental health services available. Judy in Kentucky?
JUDY, KENTUCKY: Hi, Dr. Drew.
JUDY: A couple months ago, you were talking to a caller and you asked them if their mother was a nurse by any chance.
PINSKY: Yes, OK.
JUDY: You referred to it as co-dependant profession.
PINSKY: Professional co-dependency. I mean, a lot of nurses come from addicts and abusive families, and they`re wonderful caretakers, but sometimes, they diminish themselves, they sacrifice themselves, deplete themselves in their care taking, you know, in a way some of us as clinicians and nurses, particularly, become like professional co- dependents.
We were injured as kids and we become so good at caretaking as a compensation with that. I don`t want to diminish the reality -- what`s your question about before I go off on it? Go ahead.
JUDY: That was what it was. I have been wondering ever since. And I was talking to some of my nurse friends.
JUDY: They were like, no, call and ask.
PINSKY: OK. Good, Listen, I am -- you can imagine how grateful I am for my nursing colleagues. I could not get from one day to the next without them. They are, I mean, they are treasures, every one that I`ve worked with over my career. But, some of them sacrifice themselves to the point of depletion, and that`s where you end up with all the addiction and all the depression and other things in nursing.
And the fact is, they often come from situations, family situations where they were caretakers, and they`ve now become professional caretakers.
I got to go to break. Real quick here. I actually have to say good night. But first, I want to congratulate Heidi Damon (ph). You remember her, on her engagement? Heidi has been on our show a few times. I call her a hero, because she fought back against her attacker by confronting the guy in court and speaking publicly about that.
Now, she`s moving on to another chapter in her life. Congratulations to Heidi and Brad. Good luck.
Thank you all for your comments and calls. And, of course, thanks to you for watching. I`ll see you next time.