Pinsky is also Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, former Medical Director for the Department of Chemical Dependency Services at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, California, staff member at Huntington Memorial Hospital, and a private practitioner.
Early lifePinsky was born in Pasadena, California. His father, Morton Pinsky (1925–2009), was a physician whose parents emigrated from Russia. His mother, Helene Stanton (née Eleanor Mae Stansbury; born 1925), is a retired singer and actress who came from a "highly Victorian upper-middle-class family in Philadelphia". Pinsky attended Polytechnic School. He majored in biology at Amherst College, graduating in 1980, and earned his M.D. at the University of Southern California School of Medicine in 1984. He served his residency in internal medicine at USC County Hospital and became chief resident at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, and eventually moved into private practice.
|“||My goal was always to be part of pop culture and relevant to young people, to interact with the people they hold in high esteem.||”|
Radio workIn 1984, while still a medical student, Pinsky started appearing in "Ask a Surgeon", a segment of a Sunday night KROQ-FM show hosted by Jim "Poorman" Trenton and "Swedish" Egil Aalvik. "Ask the Surgeon" soon combined with "Loveline", another Sunday night segment, into a show of its own, co-hosted by Trenton and Pinsky. Loveline went national in 1995, and the television version launched on MTV the following year, hosted by Pinsky and Adam Carolla. The exposure on both radio and television made Pinsky the "Gen-X answer to Dr. Ruth Westheimer, with an AIDS-era, pro-safe-sex message." The MTV show ran for four years, while the radio show continues on today without Carolla, who left the show in 2005.
On November 27, 2007, Pinsky began Dr. Drew Live, another nationally syndicated talk radio show where he focused on a wider range of health issues. It originated from KGIL in Los Angeles, originally airing weekdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PT Although the show was canceled in December, 2008, as of February 28, 2009 the show's website is still up and old shows can still be downloaded and listened to via the website.
Other media appearancesIn the December 9, 2003 episode of Loveline with guest co-host Adam Carolla, Pinsky mentioned that he was on Wheel of Fortune in 1984, though he did not win. In the January 2011 episode of Loveline, Pinsky mentioned that he appeared on Wheel of Fortune again. Pinsky made his acting debut in "Terminal," a 1998 episode of the TV show Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and later appeared on Dawson's Creek and Family Guy.
In addition to his own radio show and medical career, Pinsky also has appeared on television talk shows. He served as "health and human relations expert" on the first season of the U.S. TV series Big Brother in 2000. He has also hosted his own television series, Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew, on the Discovery Health Channel, which was followed by Strictly Dr. Drew. The newer program addressed everyday health issues, premiered on July 25, 2006, and continues to air weekly on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm PT.
In 2008, Pinsky starred in Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, a reality television show which involves celebrities in a drug rehabilitation facility. The show was filmed at Pasadena Recovery Center, with Pinsky serving as the resident medical expert. The series premiered January 10, 2008 on VH-1, and has been renewed for multiple seasons. A follow-up show to Celebrity Rehab with many of the same celebrities was Sober House, which began its first season in January 2009, and included celebrities from the first two seasons of Celebrity Rehab continuing their recovery in a sober living facility.
Pinsky also appears on the MTV series Sex...with Mom and Dad. Pinsky makes guest appearances on a variety of news programs where he usually gives his observations on the relationship between controlled substances and high-profile individuals. He has frequently given his views on the deaths of people such as Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson, arguing that their fates should set examples of the seriousness of misusing drugs. In November 2009, Pinsky starred in a spinoff of Celebrity Rehab, Sex Rehab with Dr.Drew, which depicted celebrities being treated for sexual addiction over the course of three weeks at the Pasadena Recovery Center.
TV appearances in which Pinsky did not appear as himself include The Adam Carolla Project, Minoriteam, Robot Chicken, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, and Code Monkeys. Pinsky appeared in the films New York Minute and Wild Hogs.
In early 2011, Pinsky began hosting his own show on HLN that focuses on addiction. In an interview on Kevin and Bean, Pinsky has stated he will speak to any media outlet including TMZ and The National Enquirer, but will not speak to the Los Angeles Times, explaining "They distort, and they mislead, and they take things out of context. I really am stunned at how shoddy their journalism is, so I stopped talking to them." In September 2012, Pinsky announced on the The Adam Carolla Show that he will be doing a podcast on the Carolla Digital network.
Other workIn 1999, Pinsky co-founded an Internet-based community and advice site for teenagers called DrDrew.com with Curtis Giesen. Among their early backers was Garage.com. DrDrew.com soon ran out of funding, and the company was sold to Sherwood Partners Inc., a corporate restructuring firm, which sold the remnants to DrKoop.com in November 2000.
In 2003, Pinsky authored Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again, recounting his experiences as the Medical Director of the Department of Chemical Dependency Services at the Las Encinas Hospital drug rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena, California. He also contributed to the book When Painkillers Become Dangerous: What Everyone Needs to Know About OxyContin and Other Prescription Drugs, published in 2004.
In addition to his media appearances, Pinsky speaks at college campuses and other public venues. When Adam Carolla and Pinsky were teamed as hosts of Loveline, Carolla and Pinsky spoke at colleges.
Pinsky was the voice of 1-800-GET-THIN, advocating lap band surgery on radio ads and in a recording played for those who called 1-800-GET-THIN.
He also appeared with his dogs in a PETA ad campaign promoting the spaying and neutering of pets.
HonorsAsteroid 4536 Drewpinsky is named in his honor.
Pinsky was honored with the Larry Stewart Leadership and Inspiration Award at the 12th Annual PRISM Awards in 2008.
- BA Amherst College
- MD University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine of USC
- Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine
- Board Certified, American Board of Addiction Medicine
- Certified member of American Society of Addiction Medicine since 1990
- Member of American College of Physicians
- Licensed Physician and Surgeon in the State of California since 1985
Criticism and praiseIn 2009, Pinsky drew criticism from experts for publicly offering professional opinions of celebrities he has never met or personally examined, based on media accounts, and has also drawn the ire of some of those celebrities. Following comments Pinsky made about actor Tom Cruise's belief in Scientology and Lindsay Lohan's drug abuse, Cruise's lawyer compared Pinsky to Joseph Goebbels, and Lohan posted on Twitter, "I thought REAL doctors talked to patients in offices behind closed doors." Pinsky also received criticism in April 2010 for stating that he would frame Lohan for illegal drug use in order to force her into a sobriety program if he were her father. Pinsky responded in the same publication that his remark was intended as hyperbole and a "flight of journalistic excess", not a suggestion as a treatment modality in any way. He stated his intent was to drive home the point about bringing negative consequences to bear for a person dying of addiction when all other options have been exhausted.
Pinsky, who admits in his 2009 book, The Mirror Effect, that he scored a 16 on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (average is 18 for celebrities), and shares several traits with the "closet narcissist", asserts that he was never motivated by fame to become a media figure, but from a desire to educate the public, especially the youth, on the medical facts distorted by the media. Patient Andy Dick, who made Pinsky his primary care physician, disputes the accusation that Pinsky is motivated by a desire for fame, insisting that Pinsky "really is just this unbelievably caring guy. He really is. He’s almost too caring." Sex Rehab alumnus Duncan Roy, however, has criticized Pinsky's competence. While Roy concedes that Pinsky is highly skilled at treating drug and alcohol addiction, he claims that Pinsky has no knowledge of sex addiction, and that he merely recycled the words and ideas of Jill Vermiere, MFT, one of the therapists on Sex Rehab, who Roy says, along with Dr. John Sealy, were the true therapeutic forces behind his recovery.
Defending the practice of paying addicts to attend rehab, producer Pinsky says, "My whole thing is bait and switch. Whatever motivates them to come in, that’s fine. Then we can get them involved with the process."
In January 2012, journalist Jim Romenesko reported that Pinsky accepted $115,000 in consultation fees from Janssen Pharmaceutica in 2010 and 2011. In response, Janssen released a statement that the money was for a program aimed at "educating teens, parents, and educators about the prevalence and serious risks of teen prescription drug abuse in the U.S." CNN Headline News spokesperson Alison Rudnick, which broadcasts Dr. Drew, stated that Pinsky would include on-air disclaimers during any stories involving Janssen. Charles Seife of Slate magazine, however, pointed out in a July 2012 article that no such disclaimer was made during an episode that aired a week earlier on gastric bypass surgery, despite a Los Angeles Times article questioning the propriety of Pinsky's role as a spokesperson for a firm that did marketing for lap-band surgery. Headline News explained that the lap-band deal had elapsed by the time the gastric bypass show aired, making a disclaimer unnecessary.
In July 2012, it was reported that United States prosecutors involved in a criminal prosecution of GlaxoSmithKline for healthcare fraud, in which the company settled for $3 billion, stated that Pinsky was paid $275,000 in March and April 1999 to promote Wellbutrin SR, a Glaxo antidepressant, "in settings where it did not appear that Dr. Pinsky was speaking for GSK." Glaxo marketed the drug being distinct from other antidepressants by not causing a decrease in sex drive, which Pinsky emphasized in his promotions of it, despite the fact that company did not have FDA approval for that claim.
Personal lifePinsky married on July 21, 1991, and he and his wife, Susan Sailer, had triplets Douglas, Jordan, and Paulina in November 1992.
Pinsky lives in Pasadena, California. Interested in fitness since his early teens, he goes running and does weight training regularly. In addition to his hobby of traveling, he also enjoys singing opera, as his mother was a professional singer. Pinsky stated on the June 24, 2009 episode of Loveline that at one point, he was torn between practicing medicine and becoming a professional opera singer. Pinsky stated that he auditioned for a celebrity singing show, but that the show passed on his appearance when he made it clear to producers that he could not sing pop songs, but did perform an aria on Turn Ben Stein On.
Pinsky's father, Morton, died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage on October 27, 2009. A title card at the end of the season 3 finale of Celebrity Rehab dedicated the episode to him.
Pinsky is a nonobservant Jew; he admits to abandoning most Jewish practices but claims to retain a continued desire to learn about the religion. He explains that religious as well as philosophical studies affect his medical practice and his speeches, and that his background places "an indirect coloring on every answer."
In September 2013, Pinsky revealed that he had recovered from prostate cancer surgery performed earlier that June and July, after which Pinsky did not require chemotherapy or radiation.
- Pinsky, Drew; S. Mark Young (October 2006). "Narcissism and celebrity". Journal of Research in Personality 40 (5): 463–471. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.05.005. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help);
- Noll AM, Pinsky D (June 1991). "Withdrawal effects of metoclopramide". West. J. Med. 154 (6): 726–8. PMC 1002885. PMID 1877215.
- Pinsky, Dr. Drew; with Robert Meyers and William White (July 2004). When Painkillers Become Dangerous: What Everyone Needs to Know about OxyContin and Other Prescription Drugs. New York: Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services. ISBN 1-59285-107-X. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
- Pinsky, Dr. Drew (September 2003). Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again. New York: Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-009655-1.
- Pinsky, Dr. Drew; with Adam Carolla and Marshall Fine (1998-10-13). The Dr. Drew and Adam Book: A Survival Guide To Life and Love. New York: Dell. ISBN 0-440-50836-3. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
- Neinstein, Lawrence S.; chapters by Pinsky, Drew & Heischober, Bruce S. (2002). "Approaches to Management of Drug Abuse". Adolescent health care: a practical guide (4th ed.). Hagerstwon, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-2897-5. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)
- Pinsky, Dr. Drew; with S. Mark Young (March 2009). The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Seducing America. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0