After a Run of Deaths and Bad Publicity, Celeb Rehab Returns

By Kirk Maltais and Kenneth Garger 06/25/11

Still reeling from the deaths of two former patients, Dr. Drew will focus his attentions on Long Island Lolita/hooker Amy Fisher, occasional actress Bai Ling, Dwight Gooden, Steven Adler and Lindsay Lohan's dad.


Dr. Drew's hit show is taking some hits of its own

It's baaaaack! After a months-long hiatus Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew is returning  for its fifth season this Sunday at 9 PM EST. For those of you who may have dropped cable in 2008, the hit VH1  show follows former love counselor and now-ubiquitous addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky as he attempts to help a bunch of messy D and E-list personalities get clean of various substances at the Pasadena Recovery Center. Joining Pinsky are his longtime sidekicks, the hippy-ish but likeable head counselor Bob Forrest, and testy resident technician Shelly Sprague. Rounding out the group this season  is Dr. John Sharp, the author of the bestseller The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences and Milestones to Become Happier, More Fulfilled, and in Control of Your Life. Sharp was supposedly brought on to introduce a “dual diagnosis” theme to the show, which is appropriate, since several of the new cast members have a history of eccentric--if not downtright crazy behavior. If only Dr. Sharp was around to mediate the ongoing wars between scary supermodel Janice Dickinson and bratty bilionaire Jason "Gummi Bear" Davis, who was arrested on drug charges on January 29th, two days after Celebrity Rehab's last reunion show.

Unfortunately, Davis's arrest wasn't the only bit of bad press for the popular show. In the past few months, both actor Jeff Conaway and musician Mike Starr overdosed after completing Dr. Drew's treatment. 

The recent deaths have amplified the criticism that the show has received since its debut. Increasing numbers of critics have accused PInsky of “celebrity exploitation," charging that the show is much more interested in ratings than their patient's recovery. As Dr. John Mariani, a top addiction researcher at Columbia University, said to The New York Times, “The problem here is that Dr. Drew benefits from their participation, which must have some powerful effects on his way of relating to them. He also has a vested interest in the outcome of their treatment being interesting to viewers, which is not always in their best interest. Treatment with conflicts of interest isn’t treatment.”

But Dr. Drew’s fans, including Menninger Clinic staff psychologist Mary Oxford, counter that the reality show fulfills its educational mission, bringing the raw reality of recovery from alcohol and drug abuse into some two million American living rooms every week. Even after five seasons, Celebrity Rehab remains one of the newtork's highest-rated shows.

No matter what you think of the program, however, this seems like a good time  us to introduce you to Drew's latest slew of patients—a scary hode-podge of murderous pornographers, celebrity stalkers, reality show rejects...and Lindsay Lohan's dad.

Amy Fisher (alcohol, sex, anger management): The “Long Island Lolita” famous for shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco, the wife of her lover Joey, at age 17, Fisher served seven years in prison before embarking on a post-release career in porn. Not surprisingly, Fisher has a penchant for substance abuse. Her erotic endeavors ignited a dependence on alcohol; she says that she has to rely on an abundance of alcohol before "performing" and often blacks out halfway through the act.

Dwight Gooden (cocaine, alcohol, anger management): A former star pitcher for both the New York Mets and Yankees, Gooden has had a long history of substance abuse problems. At the height of his baseball career, the pitcher was catching tabloid spitballs less for his dominance on the mound than for his positive cocaine test results. He made headlines last year after being arrested and charged with a DUI, leaving the scene of a traffic accident and endangering the welfare of a child, who was his passenger.

Sean Young (alcohol, bipolar disorder): The once-promising young actress, best known for her leading role in Blade Runner, found her career crumbling after a spate of bizarre behaviors, including stalking fellow actor James Woods for over a year, leading him to obtain an order of protection against her. In 2008, the blitzed B-lister delivered an infamous alcoholic tirade at a Directors Guild of America awards ceremony. A few days later, she checked into rehab.

Steven Adler (heroin, depression): The onetime drummer for Guns N’ Roses (he was fired in 1990 because of his heroin addiction), Adler is a veteran of both Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and its spin-off Sober House. His chronic heroin abuse has left him in a state of depressing disarray—he's suffered multiple strokes and has a permanent speech impediment. Adler is hoping that the third time with Dr. Drew will be the charm. So do we.

Jeremy Jackson (steroids, sex, anxiety): Famous for his role as the hunky Hobie Buchannon on Baywatch, the former child star was arrested in 2000 after police raided his home and came away with methamphetamines. After undergoing a brief stint in prison and treatment in five rehabs, Jackson has reportedly overcome his multiple drug addictions, but his alleged abuse of steroids and other growth hormones has remained.

Bai Ling (alcohol, bipolar disorder): The star of such memorable ‘90s hits as The Crow, tiny Bai Ling has spent the past decade appearing in minor TV roles. Ling has a history of abusing alcohol and admits to commonly blacking out, though she denies being an “alcoholic.” She also denies being “crazy,” although she spent time in a Chinese mental hospital and still claims to have been born on—and continues to live on—the moon.

Jessica “Sugar” Kiper (alcohol, marijuana, depression): The runner-up on Survivor: Gabon, Kiper is fresh off a small career on the small screen, most famous for being the first to be voted off the new season of Survivor: Heroes and Villains. She reportedly has a severe addiction to booze and pot, claiming that she has not had a single sober day in more than two years.

Michael Lohan (cocaine, alcohol, depression): The estranged and “troubled” father of “troubled” starlet Lindsay Lohan, Michael's most recent run-in with the law was a DUI that led to two-and-a-half years in prison. Lohan has a history of cocaine abuse, and his ] escalating reliance on alcohol has reportedly sparked a relapse to his old drug of choice. In the past, Lindsay has denounced him as a "stalker," a "freak" and a "rat." Wonder if she'll show up for family day.

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