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Penn State Cover-Up; Nurses Addicted to Adderall
Aired July 2, 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: Sandusky`s crimes kept quiet.
Plus, could your nurse or doctor be hooked on drugs? A real-life Nurse Jackie tells us her story.
And Iraq war vet and "Dancing with the Stars" champ J.R. Martinez helps other vets dealing with PTSD.
Let`s get started.
PINSKY: Welcome to the program tonight.
We are talking about possible cover-up. There are alleged e-mails that indicate Penn State officials knew about Jerry Sandusky`s pedophilia long ago and then tried hide it. Sandusky is not mentioned by name and HLN does not have the alleged e-mails. But a source read them to CNN`s Susan Candiotti over the phone.
Could former president Graham Spanier and former university vice president Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley have stopped Sandusky back in 2001? And why would men in these positions of authority not report these to the police?
Joining me is Lisa Bloom, legal analyst for avo.com. She`s the author of "Swagger".
Lisa, how do you react to these emails?
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Oh, this is just absolutely disgusting, to think these men were more concerned about protecting themselves, their school, and their football program than protecting children who were rape victims it is almost incomprehensible.
PINSKY: Well, it`s so incomprehensible you make me wonder if it`s not motivated that way, did they just not understand their obligations? Because as I heard this story more and more, it was insular sort of thinking and many institutions, collegiate, university institution, you are skeptical.
BLOOM: You are kinder than I am.
PINSKY: Yes, I know.
BLOOM: You are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. To me, this smacks of a cover up, like with the Catholic Church, moving the priests around until everybody has finally woken up to how bad that is.
PINSKY: It`s possible that. But it looks like that out of the service. I`d just tried to get my head around it.
All right. Read you from some of these alleged e-mails sent in 2001 by the former university president Graham Spanier to Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. Here it is: "The only downside is if the message isn`t heard and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road."
Again, that was specifically told to CNN`s Susan Candiotti over the phone.
So, you again, you`re disgusted.
BLOOM: What about the downside to children who are being raped by this man and we now know that and how foreseeable it was it in 2001 that a man who`s accused of molesting a little boy in a shower where he was witnessed by a third person would continue to do that -- as he did?
PINSKY: But, Lisa, this is the part that stuns, me is that people in position of authority with young people, children in this case, and college aged kids don`t understand the reporting requirement. That`s what it seems like to me.
BLOOM: They talk about the downside to themselves. All they care about is protecting their own butts and protecting the university. There`s nothing in any of these emails about protecting children. There`s not an iota of compassion for children.
PINSKY: Well, nor is there any conversation about, you know what our reporting requirements are that we are ignoring.
PINSKY: They have absolute, categorical legal obligations that they seem ignorant of. That`s not said in these e-mails either. And that`s what I can`t understand.
It`s easy to cover up if you don`t understand you have an absolute legal obligation to report and protect those kids now, instantly.
BLOOM: How about having a heart as human being?
PINSKY: Well, yes.
BLOOM: For children who are being molested?
PINKSY: There you go. That`s --
BLOOM: Wouldn`t most good and decent people immediately call the police and let them sort it out? If they don`t know all the facts, which surely they didn`t, let`s give it to law enforcement, let`s let them investigate. That`s their job.
PINSKY: That`s exactly right. That`s -- because you know somebody, and they`re doing something you never imagine they would do, it`s easy to stay in denial about it and ignore and pretend --
BLOOM: There`s so much denial.
PINSKY: That`s why you called the cops.
BLOOM: So much denial.
PINSKY: Let them sort it out.
Let`s go to a caller. Vicky in Indiana -- Vicky.
VICKY, CALLER FROM INDIANA: I would like to know how anyone thinks it`s right to touch anyone`s child in the shower.
BLOOM: Thank you. Of course.
PINSKY: Vicky, thank you. That`s the one -- starting right there. And his defense team, I talked to one of his attorneys last week, and he was saying that perhaps some of the kids sort of generalized their abuse, you know, and sort of included. But that`s what can happen when you have inappropriate --
BLOOM: What do you mean generalize their abuse?
PINSKY: If you can get in a room sometime with a patient that is sexually abused and if you violate any boundaries with them, they can flashback and experience the whole thing
BLOOM: Oh, yes. Sure.
PINSKY: But guess what? You shouldn`t have been in that room violating boundaries of any type with that person. That`s the shower thing.
BLOOM: Vicky would have called the police.
PINSKY: Marcia in Washington -- that`s right. Marsha, go ahead.
MARCIA, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON: Hi Dr. Drew, Lisa.
MARCIA: I was upset enough when the three kids didn`t get full justice because of non-guilty verdict. Now to find out it has been covered up, that`s really made me ticked off. Is there any way -- I know it`s murder, you can be charged with accessory. Is there anyway that these A- holes can be charged as accessories to every crime committed after they found out and get locked up for a long time just like Sandusky?
BLOOM: You know, Marcia, I have been saying long time, they should all be charged with child endangerment. And these are people who had notice who failed to act and then more boys were molested later. We know that to be the case.
Let`s see more charges brought against them, criminally and civilly.
PINSKY: OK. Now, HLN has reached to Graham Spanier`s lawyer and he has yet to return our calls. Gary Schultz and Tim Curley`s lawyers have released this statement, "For Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno, the responsible and humane thing to do was to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague, but troubling allegations. Faced with tough situations, good people tried to do their best to make the right decisions."
BLOOM: So, what is tough about this situation? You have report -- I saw him raping a boy in the show.
PINSKY: Report, I`m reporting it based on what you said.
BLOOM: What is tough in this situation? Let`s see -- do I prevent a child from being raped or I cover up for a guy that I know? I don`t find that to get tough call at all.
PINSKY: You do neither. You relinquish it to the appropriate agency.
BLOOM: I`m just appalled anybody thinks that is tough. And even now, through their own lawyer`s statements, even now in 2012, after the man has been convicted, they`re still giving a statement like this.
PINSKY: Now, we tend -- correct me if I am wrong but our legal system tends no to the prosecute co-mission so much, right? So are these guys likely to get charged, do you think?
BLOOM: You mean omission? Someone -- co-mission is when somebody commits an act.
PINSKY: Omission. I beg your pardon, omission. Yes. And this is an omission.
BLOOM: You know, I brought a lawsuit years ago against a family who knew that one of their members was a child molesters, and he had taken up with my client, a single mom and molested the boy. And it was a very hard case to prove in court. Ultimately, we had to settle out of court, because generally the law does not require people to report.
But when you work with children, you have certain obligations which I feel were not met here. And when you have knowledge that a child is being molested, you are failed to act, that is just reprehensible. I mean, that`s just perpetuating the denial and more boys were raped after this.
PINSKY: I know. That`s the part -- that is the sickening part, which was foreseeable.
PINSKY: OK. Angela in Arizona --- Angela, you comment as well?
ANGELA, CALLER FROM ARIZONA: Hi, thanks, Dr. Drew.
ANGELA: My question is people like Jerry Sandusky, Casey Anthony, a lot of lies they told were truly proven to be lies. Do those people actually believe the statements that they make? Truly believe it?
PINSKY: Well, it`s a great question.
BLOOM: Great question.
PINSKY: I`m not sure we can answer that accurately. My experience with people that lie is sometimes they lose track of when they`re like and they`re not. And a really good liar, like Casey Anthony to me, I think had no idea what was real and what wasn`t.
PINSKY: Sandusky feels the same way to me. He is so insolent and sort of, I don`t know, some bizarre sort of attitude he has about all of this that makes me feel like -- somehow doesn`t -- he doesn`t comprehend what this is all about.
BLOOM: Yes, we have an expression in my law firm -- people start to buy their own B.S., they come up with these stories and repeat them over and again, and they even convince themselves sometimes.
PINSKY: Of course.
Well, OK, Lisa, thank you so much. This is a story that continues to evolve and we will, of course go deep with the ongoing commentary.
Next, do you worry when you go to a hospital, your doctor or nurse is high? A real-life Nurse Jackie is here after the break.
PINSKY: Welcome back.
Have you ever wondered if your nurse or physician are addicted to something, or maybe taking pills? Would you even know it?
Maybe you thought the Showtime series "Nurse Jackie" is strictly fiction. I want you to think again.
I have treated a lot of Nurse Jackies. I have worked alongside a lot of Nurse Jackies. Some of them are quite talented professionals with a little Achilles` heel that comes to light down the road there and quite devastating and difficult to treat.
Joining me, a real-life Nurse Jackie, Joanie Gammill and author of "The Interventionist." She was addicted to Adderall and almost died.
Now, Joanie, you were an R.N. when you were hooked on drugs? How bad did it get? What was the bottom?
JOANI GAMMILL, ADDERAL ADDICTION ALMOST KILLED HER: The bottom was pretty bad when the Adderall, it was about a few months after I almost had a heart attack on the Adderall that my family did an intervention. I was walking up a street to pick my daughter up at a parochial school when I started to have chest pain.
And I had lost complete control over the Adderall. I don`t know how many pills I had taken that day. I vomited on the side of the streets and I knew as a registered nurse that I was having a cardiac incident. And I write this in my book that addiction is thief because I got to the top of that hill and I was so disoriented and thank God my father found me before I could find her.
There was all these little girls their Catholic school uniforms and she said, mommy, I want to show you something in my bag that I made for the Christmas tree and I could not in that time, look at her little -- her little craft because I knew I needed to get to the doctor, which indeed I did and they immediately transported me to CCU and did two cardiac caths.
This is what I tell people all the time. I look so normal, college educated, two kids, a husband that sells software. No one did a toxicology on me, to see what the problem was. They did two cardiac caths and they came back and said, Ms. Gammill, your ischemia, which we see in lack of oxygen to your heart is a mystery to us that end actually wrote down on my discharge papers to continue taking the usual medication and included Adderall in that list.
PINSKY: I know the addict in you loved that recommendation, loved the fact that -- \
GAMMILL: I did.
PINSKY: I`m sure of it. How did you get started on the Adderall?
GAMMILL: I went to a doctor and I took a book in on ADHD and I said, hallelujah, I am 40 years old, I finally figured out what`s wrong with me, I have ADHD and I need Adderall.
And I tell people that is always a flag. If a patient comes in and tells you exactly what their diagnosis is and exactly what med they need, you better be suspicious.
PINSKY: And also, don`t forget, round of administration, frequency of use, they give you all the details when an addict comes in. You`re absolutely right.
GAMMILL: And also, you find the doctors that just do the 15 minutes, you know, like they do them really quickly. So, I really don`t blame the doctors. I think doctor shopping, I think doctors have got an bad rap. I think us doctor shop verse honed our skill and we do it well.
PINSKY: Let`s take a quick --
GAMMILL: I went in.
PINSKY: Let`s take a quick call and talk to Carol in Washington.
Carol, do you have a question? Comment?
CAROL, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON: Hi. Yes. I work as an assistant to teaching in the schools in Virginia, public. And I know children were sleeping, EDLD children.
CAROL: And they were falling asleep, they wouldn`t eat. So when I took the kids to the nurse in the school, I took one of those and I went to find out what the heck. This was back in 1990.
PINSKY: So you took one of the kid`s medications, Carol?
CAROL: I did.
PINSKY: You took the Adderall or Ritalin or whatever it was?
CAROL: Made me feel like I was high as could be.
PINSKY: Yes, listen, did you get addicted after that?
CAROL: No, I just wanted to see what it was. I mean, I took it for probably about three, four months.
PINSKY: Carol, what do you mean you weren`t addicted? You were stealing medication to get high.
CAROL: I wanted to see what these kids --
PINSKY: Carol, I`ve got to breakthrough your denial now. You were stealing kid -- medication from children to get high. Let`s think about that.
GAMMILL: And she took them for three or four months.
PINSKY: Yes, the only subset of patients that I know that do that are called drug addicts. That`s consequence, abnormal drive and desire.
CAROL: I wanted to know why these kids were falling asleep and not eating.
PINSKY: I don`t know the particular population you were dealing with. I doubt it had anything to do with the stimulants, psycho-stimulants they were being given.
CAROL: They were given -- what do you call it the Ritalin.
PINSKY: I understand they were given that, but they were given an array of other meds, too. I`m certain. Yes, some medication --
CAROL: It made me sad because I feel like the Ritalin is absolutely a drug for adults that don`t want to deal with children that have a lot of ideas and energy.
PINSKY: OK. You want to comment?
GAMMILL: I don`t -- you know what? I don`t believe that at all. I think these drugs of abuse also have their place in medicine. Many of the Ritalins and the Adderalls have allowed children to settle down, true cases of ADHD. Every drug in this country that is abused has a real good purpose as well.
PINSKY: That`s right.
GAMMILL: That`s my opinion.
PINSKY: Well, I would say it this way, there`s no such thing as a bad drug. Medications aren`t bad. They are bad when they are misused and used in inappropriate settings and become abused. Then they are bad for that person.
It doesn`t make the drug bad. It makes the relationship between the patient and the drug bad.
Let me ask you this, have you seen the show "Nurse Jackie"?
GAMMILL: Me, yes, I have seen it and I love it and I watch it all the time.
PINSKY: It`s very accurate, isn`t it?
GAMMILL: It`s very accurate, because everybody says that the nurse addict is always high-functioning and goes work every day and I said, well, sure she goes to work every day, that`s where the drugs are. And so -- it`s like we never call in sick, right, because that`s where the drugs are.
But no, I identify with her a lot. And I was happy to see this season that she has stayed clean. But, as you know this is a chronic, progressive life long disease, as you know, Dr. Drew I don`t even like the word relapse anymore. It`s a flare up of a life long chronic disease.
PINSKY: That`s right.
GAMMILL: But yes, I have enjoyed the show and I have identified a lot with it because I was Nurse Joani at work on drugs.
PINSKY: That`s right. Edie Falco stars in the TV series, those of that you don`t know it is about an ER nurse that becomes addicted to drugs. She`s mom. And it`s a story I have seen a million times and is a very accurate portrayal, both of her struggles as a professional.
And, by the way, the last place for doctors and nurses to be affected by their addiction is the workplace. They lose their family. They lose their financial status. They have legal problems.
And then finally, it`s the workplace that it starts to take effect. And they get picked up fast these days. That was the part about "Nurse Jackie" I didn`t like so much. She didn`t get set to treatment fast enough and she didn`t have a rigid enough treatment program.
But we`ll talk about that and take more of your calls and I`ll tell you perhaps some of the signs you might want to look for if you see a medical professional in trouble. That up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to cash in my vacation days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are you going?
UNIDENTIFIED FEAMLE: Disneyland.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re accountable now for every word out of your mouth, every move you make. Welcome to rehab.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t have any light benzoe, do you? Tylenol?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that ain`t going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was from Showtime`s "Nurse Jackie," and a reminder that across this country, doctors and nurses use substances.
Now, the medical professionals, whose job is it is so keep us safe, sometimes misbehave and is kind of scary.
We`re going to talk about that with someone I work with on cases like this. Shelley Sprague. She`s a resident technician on VH1 "Celebrity Rehab," herself a recovering addict. I still have Joani Gammill with us. She was an RN who was addicted to Adderall.
Shelley, we see this problem a lot, right? We treat a lot of doctors and nurses, don`t we?
SHELLEY SPRAGUE, CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY EXPERT: So prevalent. You are around -- you know, doctors, you`re around drugs, if you are an addict, seems like a pretty susceptible population.
PINSKY: And, Joani, it tends to attract caretakers, which are sometimes people that come from addict families and the work is overwhelmingly stressful and that tends to increase emotional disregulation and drugs are there and off they go.
GAMMILL: Oh, I think you are exactly right. The genetic predisposition, because a lot of people who go into nursing and doctors come from alcoholic families, and then you have the social influence of having all the drugs around you and the psychological stress of working in the health care system. And you know, those three things come together that`s when addiction comes alive.
And that was certainly my case until it almost killed me.
PINSKY: And, Joani, people will probably want to understand how you can come back into an environment where there are opiate painkillers and anxiety medication. How do doctors and nurses ever get back into that environment?
GAMMILL: I don`t do it. I don`t do it. I do full-time alcohol and drug interventions. And if the patient happens to have those pills on them during the intervention, I can`t tell you how many times I`ve dumped them out the window and just loved the idea of my wheels rolling over them.
I have a friend down in Texas, a therapist, that says that dog don`t hunt here any more.
PINSKY: But some doctors and nurses do return. We`ve certainly returned them to that environment. But let me tell the public that they are carefully monitored. They have a team of people that watch them, check their urine randomly.
PINSKY: A slow -- in a slow manner, released environments were they might be exposed to these things and watched like crazy, right, Joani?
GAMMILL: Oh, yes. And to get my RN license back, because it was taken away, I tell people I can pea in a cup from across the room. I mean, that`s how closely I have been monitored, which is a good thing, you know? It`s just another tool.
But I`m also in a place of neutrality around the drugs and that`s when Bill Wilson says is when you`re in a really good recovery, when you`re in a place of neutrality, because you can`t be hanging on by your fingernails all the time, not wanting these drugs or you will find them. So, but you have to find a way to get to that neutrality. And for me, it`s recovery.
PINSKY: Of course. Shelley, we have had the same -- that`s what`s interesting, we require recovery of doctors and nurses, we require it in order for them to go back to work.
SPRAGUE: Well, it`s a very good program and thank goodness we have it available for nurses and doctors. But it is a very susceptible population, obviously. You know, I work around detox medications, so obviously --
PINSKY: You know what that is, too.
SPRAGUE: By my fingernails, I wouldn`t make it either. I have lots of benzos --
PINSKY: And sometimes the addicts come in with stuff in their socks.
SPRAGUE: Absolutely. I have been exposed to lots and lots of different drugs over the years and I have no real reaction to them except it is a benign substance and I don`t use that.
PINSKY: OK. Let`s go to a call.
Tracy in Massachusetts, you got a comment or question?
TRACY, CALLER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Yes, I do. Hi, Dr. Drew.
TRACY: Hopefully, this will be the first time. I`ve been writing you on Facebook and your show for a long time. I need your help with something that has nothing to do with this subject.
But on the subject, I can relate because my brother was an ER nurse. He was in car accident years ago.
PINSKY: There you go.
TRACY: And after they gave him his prescription and after he worked in ER, he ended up stealing them from the ER and just becoming such a bad addict and he ended up losing his job.
And he`s battled the addiction for years and they did give him his RN license back. However, I think thankfully, he has not been able to find a job in that field, although he adamantly looks for a job in that field. I think it`s a bad idea personally myself.
PINSKY: Well, Tracy, let me stop you and ask Joani.
In California, we have something called nursing diversion, which is a very rigid, very well-structured program. Do you find most states are equally well equipped for nurses?
GAMMILL: The state I live in has been really good, the state of Maryland. But I think it is state by state. I think there are a few out there who still treat nurses more like criminals than sick people. That bothers me.
This is a disease. But it is state by state how nurses and doctors are treated there are a few I have heard through the grapevine still aren`t being treated as well as they could be.
PINSKY: I have heard this, too tends to go -- wax back and forth between criminalizing and treating somebody like a patient.
Shelly, last words. How can somebody out there become aware -- what would they notice if a physician or nurse were under the influence? Most of the times nothing.
SPRAGUE: Yes, with pills, it`s sort of difficult because they don`t smell and you can`t tell. But I think behavior, I think keeping appointments, I think having succinct, you know, plans?
PINSKY: No late hours, erratic behaviors, outbursts of anger.
SPRAGUE: Exactly. Very specific behavior that is --
SPRAGUE: And also hours.
PINSKY: Yes, the late hour thing or the missing appointment. That`s all, you know? What do they say? Absent -- whatever it is a bunch of A`s --accountable.
I got to take a break. Shelly, thank you. Joani, thank you as well.
GAMMILL: Thank you.
PINSKY: Next up, actor and retired soldier J.R. Martinez is here telling me how he is helping other veterans cope with the posttraumatic stress disorder. You know that as PTSD. And he`ll be taking your calls. So stay with us.
PINKSY: Welcome back. Now, before he was a "Dancing with the Stars" champ, J.R. Martinez was an Iraq war veteran with severe injuries. There he is there. And posttraumatic stress disorder himself.
Straight ahead, I`m talking to J.R. about hope, courage and his work with other vets. He`ll also taking calls with me. So, start dialing now, 877-DRDREW5. Excuse me, 855-373-7395, 855-737-7395.
And later, I`ll be taking your calls on Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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PINSKY: HLN is sharing stories of the bravery of our men and women in the military. With me now is actor and veteran, J.R. Martinez. Now there, J.R. is, when he deployed to Iraq in April of 2003, after less than a month, his humvee hit a landmine.
J.R. was burned over 40 percent of his body, and he now travels the country speaking to vets about posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Welcome, J.R. Good to see you again, buddy. And this is a topic --
J.R. MARTINEZ, VETERAN: Good to see you.
PINSKY: -- you too, man. This is a topic you feel is very important and you`re passionate about. Tell me about it.
MARTINEZ: Yes, because, you know, it`s one of those things that you know as service members and as a community of service members, we`ve kind of taken it upon ourselves to educate the world on PTSD, those four letters, and that it exists. It`s real.
However, those four letters, sometimes, have a tendency to come back and bite us, you know, because people, there`s a stigma out there that every service member has PTSD. Don`t hire them. They`re ticking time bombs. You never know when something is going to happen to them when the reality is that these service members need to understand that you know, PTSD exists.
It`s real. The world needs to know that, but it`s not a sign of weakness to go get help, you know, that you can absolutely go get help. I think anybody in a position that would be deployed four, five times, you know, oversees and to see the things and to be exposed to the things that they`ve been exposed to would come back a little bit differently.
And these service members need to understand that, you know what, your basic training, you`re taught to be these tough marines, you know, sailors, airmen, and soldiers, and coast guardsmen, whatever, but when you come home, you go back to being J.R. You go back to being Tim. You go back to being Samantha or Katie or whoever it is.
And there is a balance. So, we need to teach these guys that, hey, you know, you can go out there and talk to somebody, but, there needs to be more mental health professionals out there willing to help our service members.
PINSKY: You bet. And you mentioned a couple of things. First, let me define sort of the nature of this for people that maybe don`t know what this is. It`s sort of constant relieving and revivification of the traumas of combat where people heart rate (ph) are always up. They have nightmares.
They`re having images returning to them. They have mood disturbances and anxiety attacks, have trouble functioning out in the world. This is when it`s bad and is treatable. And there`s a certain amount of stigma associated with it.
As you mentioned, J.R., my understanding is a former army chief of staff members talked about removing the D, the disorder part, and just call it posttraumatic stress so people diminish the stigma associated with this condition, is that right?
MARTINEZ: Yes. Absolutely. And I think that`s something that needs to happen, you know, because of the fact that, you know, here I am, I`m just one of the many guys that`s out there in the world just trying to raise awareness for our service members. And, you know, the thing is these service members, all they know is touring. All they know is the military.
And when that`s taken away, when they`re no longer have the -- in a way -- you know this based on addiction, but this is kind of the same thing. It`s like they have the rush of going back and deploying again and when they have the comfort of knowing they`ll be deploying in six months, you know, for another year or so, they kind of have a tendency to not to deal with the issues that they`re facing with and just kind of say I`m going to be deploying again.
So, you just kind of go through the motions. Now that they say that the war is over and there`s going to be more service members home, I think you`re going to start seeing more service members now having to deal with that because now, they`re having to figure out how I do cope with this?
How I do move every single day? I don`t have anything that`s kind of nourishing, you know, exactly and, you know, allowing me to know just kind of forget about what I`ve gone through and just move on with my life. So, I think the disorder part needs to kind of be moving. Yes, I think so.
PINSKY: All right. Let`s take another quick call here. Louis in South Carolina -- Louis.
LOUIS, SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes, how are you doing?
LOUIS: Yes. I was diagnosed with severe posttraumatic stress disorder back in 2009. And as a result, lost my job as a police officer and, you know, as of now, you know, J.R. is right. The stigma that we have because nobody wants to hire us, nobody wants to hire me because of my disability.
PINSKY: I`ll tell you what, the one thing that makes you people become more unemployable is when drugs and alcohol get figured into PTSD. You`ve got to get that treated if that`s part of the picture here. Is it Louis?
LOUIS: No. I don`t drink at all. I`ve never drank in my whole life.
PINSKY: No pills? No hills?
PINSKY: Good, because that`s the part that really confounds all this. And let`s just -- before we go to break, I just want to remind people that PTSD is, again, it`s a brain thing, where the brain exceeds its limit to regulation, the environmental stressors, the stimuli so profound that the brain kind of -- think of it as blowing a fuse or something.
It exceeds its capacity for regulation and it sort of goes off rail, and then, there`s this syndrome that develops and can be treated. In fact, the earlier you treat it, the better it tends to go. J.R., we`re going to talk in a minute with a female reservist who`s still struggling with PTSD after coming under fire in Iraq, and of course, taking your calls. So, stay with us.
PINSKY: This Fourth of July week, we are honoring the brave men and women of our military. Iraq war veteran, J.R. Martinez, is with me along with Katie Robinson, an Air Force reservist who was injured when she came under sniper fire in Iraq. Take a look.
KATIE ROBINSON, AIR FORCE RESERVIST: I deployed three times as a combat videographer. We went to Iraq. We were part of the surge. And, we were probably the worst place you could be at that time. And we have a lot of casualties. I was in operations with the army, you know, kicking in doors and searching homes, one of the incidents there was a young lady.
She told the translator that she was scared. And I wanted to tell her, yes, so am I. But I felt really bad, because I don`t want to scare people. I don`t want to make children cry. I was shot by a sniper on my tenth mission. I was shot through my left forearm and the bullet traveled through my camera, and then, it took off the top of my thumb, so I lost a digit. And within eight weeks, I was back out shooting, using my thumb on the camera and I had it wrapped up.
I had no physical limitations whatsoever. My limitations are mental, psychological. Now, I have PTSD for the rest of my life. Any hint of conflict will send me, like, running away. I`m go into flight or fight. When my anxiety levels are high, everything bothers me. My senses are heightened. Noise bothers me.
Smells are triggering -- I can smell something, get angry and I don`t know why. And I`m angry because I`m angry, it can ruin the day. You name it, I`ve tried it. I`ve done a lot of running. I`ve tried cognitive therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, group therapy. Those are not very effective.
They`re painful. I know I`m not going to be like I was, but I`d like to get back to some of that, you know, some percentage of it.
PINSKY: Katie, thank you for joining us and also thank you for your service. I want to point out that therapy dog appears to be part of your treatment presently, and I`m glad you found somebody to make you good better. He is welcome -- or she/he?
ROBINSON: She. Coco.
PINSKY: She is welcome to the show. She is welcome as well as you. And we`ve been talking about posttraumatic stress disorder. J.R., I know a large part of your recovery has been being of service to others. Any words of encouragement for Katie?
MARTINEZ: You know, Katie, you know, it`s a tough recovery. You know, and a lot of times people don`t have the tendency to understand that the real war, the real battle is when we come home and how we`re going to reintegrate back into civilian life and move on with our lives after everything we`ve experienced have gone through.
The biggest thing that I found that help me, and I believe that you`re doing this as well is just trying to be of service and try to help other vets and try to help them understand the recovery process and be there for them and just share my story, just get it out, because I like to use the analogy of when you`re going to the airport, they tell you that you can only bring so much baggage on and so much weight.
And you have too leave some of it behind because, you know, if you take it with you, you won`t be able to you know, take off on the runway a full speed and get to your next destination. And what I learned is I just had to leave some of it behind, whatever it was that I was dealing with, I just had to learn how to talk it out and I`ve had an amazing opportunity.
You know, talk to these guys. I know you have amazing insights and amazing experiences that you can share with these individuals to help them. And that has what`s helped me, I mean, to be honest. Now, I can just talk about, you know, what`s happening to me as if it`s nothing
And I know our experiences are two different ones, but you know, just continue to fight, just continue to be strong and continue to go out there and do the things that you`re doing that you have done already because, you know, I need you and the rest of the veterans community needs you because you are a voice.
You are an example. You are an inspiration just as much as I am and just as much as maybe other guys are as well. And the more that we do this and the more that we put a face to this issue and face to education, the better off we`re going to be, you know, a year from now, two years from now, ten years from now.
PINSKY: And Katie, you do seem a good bit more comfortable than what we saw with you in that taped interview we just watched. Are you doing better and is J.R. right being a service to others?
ROBINSON: Um, I`m having a good day. One of my biggest fears is relapse of symptoms. I mean, I can do quite well sometimes and then other times, no it`s not a -- it`s not a happy ending. It`s a constant struggle. But I`m optimistic. I haven`t lost hope, and I don`t give up.
PINSKY: because I agree with J.R. I do agree with him I found of being of service for whatever the chronic medical, psychiatric conditions are being a help to others does really kind of help relieve some of that baggage as J.R. says.
Let me take a quick call from Diana in Georgia -- Diana? Diana, are you there?
DIANA, GEORGIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: There you are.
DIANA: I know that PTSD intensifies the homeless situation for our veterans. And as a volunteer myself that helps the homeless, I want to know what more can we do for our veterans?
PINSKY: So, J.R., maybe this is for you. I know that PTSD intensifies all the psychiatric spectrum that they`re seeing. For instance, in the veterans today, something like one suicide a day are being noted and most of those are related PTSD and substances? What can the volunteers do, J.R.?
MARTINEZ: The volunteers can lend an ear, you know? I think that`s probably the biggest thing is a lot of times we have a tendency because we naturally want to as human beings, we want to help people, so we say I understand.
And usually, when people are trying to vent to you and just trying to communicate to you, knowing that you haven`t been there, knowing that you haven`t gone through that, hearing the word "I understand" sometimes is really something as pretty -- it`s kind of a turnoff.
And, it`s more not necessarily trying to give too much of feedback, it`s more giving guys an opportunity to listen. You`re right, Dr. Drew, and the first 155 days of this year, 154 suicides. And, some of my friends committed suicide after the survived being deployed.
MARTINEZ: I think we just need to lend an ear to a lot of these service members, you know, and saying, hey, listen, we`re listening to you. We`re listening to -- get it off your chest that same concept of leaving the baggage behind, but I think the VA and I think, you know, they need to, you know, hire more mental health professionals and point our service members to these non-profits and different organizations that are doing that.
PINSKY: Right. And J.R., I got tell you -- first of all, Katie, thank you for having the courage to step up and tell this story today.
And J.R., always hats off to you, man. I appreciate you coming in, but I`ve been in -- practicing medicine long enough to see what the VA has done over the years, and I think they`ve done a monumental job of deploying and understanding this problem and attempting to do it. So, I`m very hopeful for the future. Thank you, guys.
Next up, Robin Meade`s stories of courage -- just a point, "Stories of Courage" special airs this Wednesday night at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. And your calls about Tom and Katie and anything else are up next.
PINSKY: All right. If you`ve been living under a rock, let me be the first to tell you that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are getting a divorce. Joining me to discuss, Dylan Howard, editor of BuzzMedia. Dylan, what went down?
DYLAN HOWARD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, BUZZMEDIA: Well, we`re shaping foul for a battle royale, Dr. Drew. Katie Holmes filed in New York City on June 28th. Tom Cruise now is set to be filing in California.
PINSKY: They`re mutually filing?
HOWARD: Well, he`s going to file against her. Now, she`s filed in a place where she actually doesn`t have residency, but she`s claiming that she does have residency. And that`s because a New York court has traditionally been far more approving of someone, a single mother that gives them the right to look after their child.
PINSKY: So, she`s more likely to get custody in New York?
HOWARD: And what`s at the center of this is Little Suri, the six- year-old daughter and her future, the suggestion being that Katie Holmes doesn`t want her to be brought up under the scientology religion. At that crucial time --
PINSKY: Did she actually file this on court? That`s what`s in the complaint?
HOWARD: Well, the complaint has been followed anonymously anonymous and hasn`t been released, but she is seeking sole custody which would enable her to make the key decisions over Suri`s schooling.
PINSKY: So, how do people know that it`s about Tom`s religious persuasion?
HOWARD: Sources close to Katie are suggesting, indeed, that she wants to rid herself of the iron grip that the church has allegedly had over Tom Cruise, dating back to predating his marriage to Katie Holmes, including to his marriage to Nicole Kidman.
PINSKY: So, these are allegations. No one has any documentations?
HOWARD: Indeed, and that`s the thing here, that nothing has really been substantiated, indeed. Katie Holmes` statement was scant on detail. It just said that she filed for divorce whereas Tom Cruise allowed emotion to come into it and say that he was saddened by the development.
PINSKY: This is a sad thing. And the poor child we`re looking at here in this film, I mean, her parents are splitting up. For her, this is devastation. It`s very sad.
HOWARD: Indeed it is. And, this is going to be a drawn out battle, though? You remember the last time Tom Cruise divorced, Nicole Kidman, it was a very bitter and public slinging match. She was not able to see their two adopted children, Connor and Isabella. So everyone`s hoping that this, perhaps, doesn`t become like the Kidman situation.
Indeed, Tom`s lawyers said on Friday, Bert Fields, that they`re hoping that this is not a contentious matter.
PINSKY: Believe it or not, back in the "Loveline" days, Adam Corolla and I did an episode of "Dawson`s Creek," and we got to spent a few days with Katie, and she was lovely. She`s a lovely woman. After that, she sort of was catapulted in the public eye through Tom, relationship with Tom. No one knew that was going to happen then.
I wonder, is she -- I wonder how she feels about how her life has been affected by him. Positive? And things just didn`t work out or really unhappy?
HOWARD: Well, inevitably there would have been a prenup. There was much suggestion that this was a marriage of convenience, that there was some sort of contract. That`s baloney, really in this scenario. She married this man. She now walks away from this marriage after the five and a half years with $275 million at stake.
Inevitably she`s not going to get all of that because of the prenup, but it`s a very sad situation. And, I don`t think we`ll ever truly know what went on behind the scenes because Tom Cruise is a very private individual.
PINSKY: Right. Right.
HOWARD: And it`s likely to remain that way.
PINSKY: I`m not sure we have a right to any of that either. Let`s take a quick call. Christie in Texas, you have a comment or question?
CHRISTIE, TEXAS: Yes, Dr. Drew. How are you?
PINSKY: Good. What`s up?
CHRISTIE: Divorces are just hard enough.
CHRISTIE: I know, I`ve been through two of them myself. And, it`s so difficult to go through it alone, so to speak, not so much in the public eye --
CHRISTIE: -- like these two celebrities, which I love them both, so it`s very, very sad. I just thank God that we don`t have any paparazzi in our communities, you know?
PINSKY: So, you`re saying, Christie, you`re saying that as bad as it was for you, you can only imagine how awful it`s going to be for these two public figures and all the potential contentious, mud slinging that could go on and that we`re all going to maybe be a part of?
CHRISTIE: Oh, absolutely. And I mean, it`s not -- we`re all a part of it because, you know, they are celebrities, but it`s really not for us to speculate what goes on behind closed doors, I mean, with religion.
PINSKY: Yes. Right. That was the point, Christie, that I was just making to Dylan. I`m not sure we have a right to any of this.
HOWARD: Well, I would argue that there is a public interest in this. Tom Cruise, his faith in that religion has been a talking point for a number of years. He has been devout about it. He`s spoken publicly about how it is such a good thing for him. So, if that is at the center of this bust-up, then it is a public debate. It is open for discussion and will be open for discussion.
PINSKY: Do you think he`s going to come forward and talk about those issues?
HOWARD: I think that he will have to address this in some capacity, especially if scientology is at the center of this, which it might well be.
PINSKY: Or may not be.
HOWARD: But we do expect that there will be some sort of discussion at some point. And perhaps, it`s a PR battle for him now. You know, he mentioned that statement being saddened, almost chivalrous in a way he came across, blind sided by this given that she filed, he didn`t know. So, I think Tom really in the public domain at the moment has the upper hand.
PINSKY: Or maybe it`s just, again, celebrities not putting a priority in their relationship. They`re busy in two domains. He`s out shooting movies. She is trying to take care of a kid and have a career, and they don`t focus on that primarily relationship, and it dissolves when you don`t nurture it.
HOWARD: You know, it was surprising that they split, but at the same time, not surprising given that I don`t think we can be, in Hollywood, when a split happens.
PINSKY: There you go. Thank you, Dylan. More calls and more of you guys after the break.
PINSKY: Now back to the phones. Tiara in Arizona -- Tiara.
TIARA, ARIZONA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Tiara. What`s up?
TIARA: My problem is when I`m on a date, it`s hard for me to be romantic, but once I start hanging out with my friends, it`s easy for me just to let myself go. How can I be more intimate with someone I like?
PINSKY: I think -- how old are you?
TIARA: I`m 20.
PINSKY: Twenty. And have you ever had a boyfriend?
TIARA: Yes, but they weren`t long term or anything. I always get shy, because they want to hook up and I just want them to handle me.
PINSKY: I`m not sure I understand what you`re complaining about, Tiara. My stage manager loves your call. He says to call him, in fact. But -- but -- is it -- did you come from a split family, yourself? We were talking about Tom and Katie`s split-up. Is that something you came from?
TIARA: Well, my family, they`re together. They`re just really stressed since I was younger, and I think that has to do with that, but my friends, they`re fine with that.
PINSKY: No, I understand. I just want to -- because some people -- what you`re kind of describing is an intimacy disorder, a discomfort with closeness, and being close with another person is actually a much taller order than people understand. For you, it`s explicitly a problem, but for some people, they can only enter closeness through kind of manipulating and controlling the situation.
And if you really are having trouble with closeness, I mean, you`re only 20. Let this evolve for a couple of years before I declare you need treatment.
But if somebody else out there and you could think about this, has trouble being close, sustaining closeness, tolerating closeness, and they either go for people that are unavailable all the time or sabotage relationships that are available, that`s an intimacy problem and that`s a great place for therapy to do some magic.
Thank you for your call, Tiara. Let`s go to Erin in North Carolina -- Erin.
ERIN, NORTH CAROLINA: Hey, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, Erin. What`s up?
ERIN: I was just wondering. I know a lot of young people my age that are prescribed sleeping pills like Ambien and that stuff.
ERIN: And I was just wondering, why those pills are so strong and they`re addictive, why do doctors prescribe them so freely? It seems like all anyone has to do is ask?
PINSKY: Yes. I mean, generally speaking, you know, doctors are required -- if a patient comes in and complains about a symptom like sleeplessness or pain, he or she has to address it in some sort of meaningful way. He or she can`t just blow it off. And sleeping medication are exceedingly effective.
I mean, you have things like Lunesta and (INAUDIBLE) or what not and Ambien. They work like crazy. The problem is we overprescribe them, and then, we also don`t prepare people for how powerful they are. As you`re saying, people can become amnestic and do things they don`t remember and do behaviors that are problematic or go out, drive a vehicle, or have large gaps in their memory.
These medicines are really, really serious. So, you`re right. If you a doctor doesn`t spend the time explaining this to you and really limiting the amount that you get and the duration of your treatment, they`re doing you a disservice. Thank you for that call. I`ve got Tony who is in Texas -- Tony.
TONY, TEXAS: Hey, doc.
PINSKY: Tony, what`s up?
TONY: How are you going?
TONY: I have a question about shingles.
TONY: They come from chicken pox?
PINSKY: They come from a herpes virus which is a class of virus. People hear herpes, they freak out, because they think herpes simplex, but herpes virus related chickenpox, the zoster. It causes an infection of the nerve root and then the nerve that distributes that region gets an outbreak. And the exact region of the nerve and you get this blistering painful rash.
It`s something has a very effective treatment. There`s a vaccine for it these days, but if you`re over 50, talk to your doctor about that called Zostavax, and get treatment early, because it can result in severe ongoing pain. Again, particularly in older patient, if it`s not effectively treated.
Thank you for your calls. I thank you all for watching, of course, as well. And I`ll see you next time. In the meantime, "Nancy Grace" begins right now.