Aaron Carter's Post-Recovery Cannabis Use Sparks Debate Among Addiction Experts

By David Konow 03/06/18

Carter's cannabis revelation has left some experts concerned while others argue against the one-size-fits all approach to sobriety.

Aaron Carter
Photo via YouTube

Former teen heartthrob Aaron Carter had a very public battle with painkiller addiction, but now the 30-year-old is opening up about his post-rehab success.

After spending two months in rehab in the latter part of 2017, Carter is preparing to hit the road to promote his first album in 15 years, Love. He recently told Entertainment Tonight, "I’m very healthy, emotionally stable, and a lot more in tune with myself and my feelings. I’m blessed with my health. I’m a healthy man."

The "I Want Candy" singer said he’s done with prescription drugs, telling ET he “stopped all of it. Even when I got out of treatment, they had me on certain things, and I stopped all of it. I didn’t want to be on anything.”

Carter added that even though he was “never a drinker,” he’ll occasionally have a glass of wine, adding, “I was never somebody who drank themselves to getting blackout drunk.”

When he was in rehab, he said, “I told everybody there, ‘I’m gonna be smoking weed still.’ I like smoking weed. I find it a very zen thing.” He denied that it would lead to something worse, stating emphatically, “I’m just not gonna let that happen.”

Carter got help at Alo House in Malibu, telling ET, “They helped figure it out for me what was going on with me, and there are other things going on, like, I suffer from PTSD. I have a lot of trauma from my past and a lot of loss, so that's something I have to deal with on a daily basis.”

Yet Carter’s comments to ET have raised concern among some addiction experts who feel sobriety is an all-or-nothing deal. Indra Cidambi, MD, the medical director of the Center for Network Therapy in New Jersey, told Self,  “There is no room for any type of substance as a recovering addict.”

Cidambi added, "So, no, people who are in recovery should not drink, should not smoke [cigarettes], and should not smoke marijuana.” 

But Sarah E. Wakeman, MD, medical director of substance use disorder at Massachusetts General Hospital says, “I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all approach. The most important thing is assessing the individual person and determining what approach and goals make most sense for him or her.”

And Jordan Tishler, MD, the president of InhaleMD, says, “I think that anybody who has a history of addiction should approach all substances with care—and in many instances, not approach them at all. In the case of cannabis, I think it’s extraordinarily wise to do this in a measured and careful fashion. The cautious approach is to say, ‘Look, this could be an issue—let’s keep our antennae up to make sure we’re not creating more problems than we’re solving.'” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.