The short answer is: I don’t know. I have tried to find out; I have sent him two letters, one in care of the Pasadena Recovery Center, the site of his “Celebrity Rehab” show, and one to Hazelden, the well-known addiction recovery center in Minnesota that published his book “When Pain Pills Become Dangerous.” Pasadena sent my letter back to me, with a haughty “recipient not at this address” scrawled across it, and I got no answer at all from the letter I sent to Hazelden.
Judging from the remarks I’ve heard on his shows, I’m guessing he dislikes methadone because it is so difficult to taper off of, and the withdrawal lasts longer than other opioids. I agree with him about this. But he is treating different patient types than I am. He is treating celebrities, who seem to have the money to spend prolonged time in an inpatient treatment setting. This is a wonderful option for the people who can afford it. But many addicts don’t have this luxury, and to condemn a medication that can be life saving for so many suffering addicts is irresponsible.
For patients without financial resources, methadone can be life-saving, and Dr. Drew should be aware of the forty years’ studies that prove this.
I wish Dr. Drew could talk to some of my patients, to hear from them how much these medications can help. There are thousands of people in this country leading perfectly normal lives, who take a daily dose of methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone). No one knows they are on these medications, because they don’t want to hear the negative comments stemming from the persistent stigma against these medications.
So Dr. Drew…if you’re out there, I’d like to hear from you.