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February 14th, 2012
11:26 PM ET

Video: Dangerous misuse of prescription drugs

Anderson Cooper talks to Dr. Drew and Dr. Sanjay Gupta about deaths resulting from abuse of prescription medicine.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Sarah

    I don't know why people are giving Dr. Drew such a hard time. He is a passionate person that is tired of seeing people die from addiction. HE understands that addicts can't drink! Ever!!!! They can't be prescribed drugs like Benzo's that are so addictive. They are ADDICTS!! They can't have just one drink, one pill, one anything for that matter. My sister was an addict until her life spiraled out of control and she drank radiator fluid to try to end her life. Instead of dying, though, she suffered a hypoxic stroke, and is permanently brain damaged. I understand his passion and I hope and pray to God that he never loses that or tries to water himself down for anyone!! Speak the truth Dr. Drew because some of us are listening and you are saving lives. I appreciate you.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  2. Ardi

    Blame the person abusing the drugs, not the manufacturer or prescriber. Each person has to learn to take the consequences of their behaviour. We in America are quick to blame others and need to accept responsibility for our actions. Blame the leeches who let her drink in their company.

    February 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  3. AntiDenial

    Thanks Anderson for challenging Dr Drew as he is hyperventilating acting like everyone is an addict for life blah,blah, blah.
    It is the first time I have heard anyone challenge his AA 12 step dogma. Thanks Anderson!! You got him to say that he was not calling you an addict! I loved that!

    February 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  4. Bev. (Janna) Fudala

    Anderson,
    I think your show this evening re: Whitney, and having Dr. Drew and Dr. Gupta on AC360 to speak about addiction and not drinking with prescription drugs, and how easily it can be for someone to get a controlled RX, is such important information to anyone who is an addict out there, so they can learn from Whitney's and other star's lives, etc. It is good that Dr. Drew stated it very seriously; it may have saved some lives out there tonight. Hopefully, any addicts who saw this, will get help, and not be in denial anymore, if that is where some are with addiction at this time.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  5. T

    Thank you for taking the time to educate the public on this matter. I'm sure that you saved someones life tonight. I believe like you that the news media should be used for the greater good. Keep up the good work!!

    February 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  6. Liz

    OMG!! Dr. Drew needs to take a Xanax!! He is OVER the top!! We get it! Damn!! Just be careful, as it sounds like your disdain for the issue is being transfer to Mz. Houston and THAT would be a whole other kind of problem for you from a public relations perspective!! Chill!!

    February 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Mary Ward

      Well said, diddo

      February 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  7. Carl

    ALCOHOL IS A DRUG. Please Read
    Excerpt from Wikipedia. "Some governments define the term drug by law. In the United States, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act definition of "drug" includes "articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals" and "articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals."[12] Consistent with that definition, the U.S. separately defines narcotic drugs and controlled substances, which may include non-drugs, "And Explicitly Excludes Tobacco, Caffeine and Alcoholic Beverages".( the fact that they are excluded does not change what they are).

    I am not advocating making alcohol illegal, however I know that addicts and the general public see drugs and one thing and alcohol as another. The dilemma is when folks identify people as alcoholics or addicts. We need to be clear about this when we talk about living clean and sober lifestyles. the message is blurred. To speak as if they are two distinct diseases, that one drug is somehow separate from another and that one requires special recognition is allowing people to die without knowing what killed them. Addictions, especially substance abuse are all inclusive.

    For me, alcohol was my entry level drug and the rest came later. I can't say if it would have made a difference once I became addicted, but I would have known, Alcohol Is A Drug and people need to know this. The information ought to be made public and the products should be labled as such. In Whitney's case for instance, her friends would have seen the warning sign that she was in her active addiction. In their defense, they did not know the difference.

    February 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  8. sharon

    i disagree with drew and must agree with sanja, celebrity may have DIFFERENT problems and issues related to prescription drug abuse, however, the consequences, including death, are just as real and devastating. it is not only combining these drugs but also self prescribed dosing. unfortunately, i have seen friends as well as acquaintances fall victim to these abuses. alcoholism, drug addiction, prescription misuse plagues the country. the problem only gets exposure when personalities are the victims.

    February 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  9. Tammy Northing

    I am very appreciative of this conversation about the abuse of prescription drugs. My sister is an OB GYN Nurse Practioner who is now homeless in Kansas City due to her addiction to prescription drugs. She has in the past gotten morphine as a prescription! What doctor would prescribe that? She would rather live on the street than turn her drugs in at the front desk at the homeless shelter. The sad part is her daughters. Like Whitney Houston her family suffers especially the kids. Please continue the dialogue please!!!

    February 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  10. Linda - Houston, TX

    This problem of drinking with prescription drugs is nothing new....doesn't anyone recall the Karen Ann Quinlan case from the 70s??

    February 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  11. Mary Ward

    Let me say that Dr. Drew is accurate in his substance, just over reacting wih his method of reporting. I realize he is emotionally involved and most likely frustrated with ignorance. However, I say that he did not show this kind of character–emotional aggression, until having a show on HLN. That station feeds soap opera reporting. It may pull in many people looking for sansationalism, however, the majority of intelligent people prefer Sanjey, Cooper, and others in similar caliber. I offer my services to Dr. Drew. He needs some neurological work to redirect the emotional flood of frustration feeding his reporting.

    February 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  12. Art Phelps

    Anderson- I am so glad you are interviewing people who understand addiction. I am a psychotherapist and Dr. Drew knows what he is talking about. Many of your viewers may benefit for a lifetime when they hear that abstinence is the treatment goal for addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
    THANK YOU!

    February 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  13. Kurt Eilers

    Hey, I am a pain patient and this sort of thing makes it harder for those of us responsibly prescribed meds for real problems. I have ONE doctor am under a pain contract and receive a prescription once a month – that is it! If I lose them I do not get more.. I have to use the same pharmacy no questions. Why do we have a system to follow pseudophedrin and not these drugs??

    February 15, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  14. Mary Ward

    Dr. Drew has changed since full time on HLN. Nancy Grace mentality seems to infiltrate quality commentators. What is the deal with HLN????? Soap opera ville??? Dr. Drew not only over did it on Feb 14th with Sanjey and Anderson, he has appeared to do the same on his show with HLN. He has changed. The reality is, Dr. Drew is emotionally involved to the point that he shows indicators of PTSD. I personally am very familiar with the brain from a different arena. I focus in on reprogramming, or as is noted in more research, implications of changing neuro pathway memory programming. Dr. Drew could use this work. Whether he is accurate or not, Dr. Drew is coming from an emotional state that interferes with his message. The work I do is Neuro-Pathway integrative therapy. My comparables are very good. I offer my services to him in focusing in on change of his overactive behaviors that clearly is causing a problem with his credibility.

    Let me say this, I will not watch his show anymore since joining the ranks of emotional/aggressive/ uneffective reporting. I once respected him, and now question his abilities. Again, I offer some quite incredible work and it addresses the emotion memory- considered more influential than cognitive or cog. thinking related.

    February 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  15. Debbie Newman

    Anderson, I watched with great interest your interview with Dr. Drew & Dr. Gupta. I'm not an addict and have taken Xanax, Zoloft and Meloxicam for almost 20 years. (Meloxicam due to ear inflammation for approx. 10 years.) I don't drink either; solely because of my medications.

    In September, I found out (on Ancestry.com of all places) that my sister had died in 2009 at age 55; she was a year younger than me. From what I was told by the Humboldt County Coroner's office, she had supposedly attempted suicide one day by opening all the gas outlets on her stove. A pharmacy tech/delivery person reported smelling gas when attempting to deliver her meds & police + paramedics were called, as well as the local gas company to turn off the gas. I don't know why in the h*** at this point the tech was allowed to give her the meds, nor why she wasn't taken in for some kind of mental health hold. She had a history of drug & alcohol abuse in the 90s, to include cocaine. The next day, the apt manager was unable to get a response at her door to let her know the gas had been turned back on; he entered and found her dead in her bed & called the authorities. Her death was ruled as "positional asphyxia" because she had slumped over the side of her bed between the bed & night stand. She had within 'normal' limits of Xanax and Meloxicam in her system according to what I was told, however she also had Soma in her system which was not prescribed. It's a can of worms, but I compare it to what one of the doctors said about WH falling asleep and losing all ability to rouse herself as she slipped under water. Collateral damage, perhaps? Tony Bennett was off base about making drugs legal based on WH's death, IMO; how would it be a valid argument for this instance? I agree with Dr. Drew; Dr. Gupta was barely able to get a word in edge wise but I think he agrees in principle.

    February 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  16. suzanne

    Thank-you, thank-you...let's play this piece daily. Our culture is so addicted to prescriptive drugs.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  17. Tony Rizzo

    Between Gupta and Pinsky Anderson, I couldn't tell who was more narcissistic, zealous, or maniacal. The message got lost in their personalities, presentation, and exaggerated statements. I think it would have been fun to have them in the same room so see who's ego is bigger. I too am an addiction expert, and have directed respected programs. Pinsky is just promoting his show and his treatment center in Pasadena, which to be frank is not the most highly rated in CA. So keeping them honest,,, Didn't he used to do sex talk? Now he found addiction treatment and probably lots more money. You guys even gave him a show. He's not even a psychiatrist, licensed as an Internist. Line him up with McGraw, who is not even licensed anymore as a psychologist. Anyway, not everyone goes 12-step and some "addicts" return to normal, controlled drinking. If Whitney died from mixing xanax or alcohol it may have nothing to do with her noted addiction history. What drama. Your show is becoming like TMZ and FOX. Think I'll switch to BBC. CNN used to be great just reporting the NEWS.

    February 15, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Mary Ward

      Tony, the reason for such a problem with their reporting was directly related to Dr. Drew's HLN soap opera aggression. Realize he was not like that prior to getting his own show. I will not even watch him at all due to this. And I disagree with you on Drew's background. I believe he has been involved in research and so on per dependence– addiction is an old word that really does not apply. I can assume he also is a recovering person as well. There is more research on the brain, consolidation of chemicals consumed, neurological affects, and comparables per ability to maintain recovery. I don't know if you are up on this stuff, however, I have found Dr. Drew to be quite accurate, just emotional and aggressive– which has hindered the presentation of info. That disturbs me more than anything. Your reaction is understandable. And a Psychiatrist is not necessarily informative on the area of expertice that neurologic dependence is per prescription drugs and so on. In fact, many Psychiatrists are not educated enough and often, as shared by emotional Dr. Drew (accurately, just emotional), prescribe benzodiazapemes and other meds that trigger the neuro portion of the brain feeding dependence. They don't even realize this. So your opinions are important and I understand why you were turned off by this reporting, however, it is a discussion that needs to take place– just less HLN Nancy Grase BS. I have lost respect for Dr. Drew not because he is off, but because he is too aggressive– like you said, "What Drama!!!!" Blame HLN for that. If Drew was less emotional, that necessary discussion would have been beneficial.

      February 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  18. Celeste

    First Michael and now Whitney. When will these doctors learn to check people's medical records before they perscribe people these dangerous and addictive drugs?

    February 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm |