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Celebrity Rehab: Why Would They Do It?

From the website for Celebrity Rehab 4: "Addiction specialist Dr. Drew returns for a FOURTH season of Celebrity Rehab to once again face the intense task of helping a new group of celebrity patients in their quest for sobriety.

"As the patients check in, Dr. Drew first lands them at the Pasadena Recovery Center, then meets with them individually to examine the role that their addictions play in their lives. As the patients detox and the intense physical and emotional withdrawal begins, one of the patients suffers from a severe panic attack and even contemplates suicide."

Famous for being famous--and in rehab for it.
My chief question is, Why in the world would a celebrity, or anyone for that matter, put themselves through the embarrassment of starring on a TV program that will show them at their absolute worst, and I don't say that lightly: These celebrities -- and we are really pushing the term for many of these cast members, such as Jason Davis, who nobody but, and maybe Perez Hilton seem to care about. At the same time, we have some bona fide stars, true actors, such as the great Eric Roberts, on the show. Maybe Gummi Bear needs this kind of publicity, but does Eric Roberts, Pope of Greenwich Village Eric Roberts -- ok, maybe he did overact, do a little scenery chewing playing alongside the then-so-cool Mickey Rourke, before plastic surgery turned him into a humanoid -- does Roberts, who has matured as an actor, need this exposure?
He did incredible things with a tiny role as a Mafia villain in the Batman sequel, the one in which Heath Ledger gave his swan song, dying of a drug overdose before the film was even released. Wait a minute. You see the connection? Perhaps that had something to do with Eric's decision? Now this is real-time reporting! Eric has a strange addiction, I must add. While Heath gobbled oxys and Xanax and hydros and whatever, Eric.....vaporized pot? He gave us a quick sample view on the show of him putting the pot in some kind of vaporizer, which then emitted smoke. I believe he said the vaporizer removed the THC. Isn't THC what makes pot a drug?

But I have gotten off my subject: why appear on a show, why not secretly deposit yourself in rehab like so many other stars have? (Well, maybe some cases end up not so secret.) It was stunning to see Leif there, going through heroin detox on film. I am old enough to remember him in his days as a "teen idol," and who knows where he'd be without drugs. Perhaps his career would have continued to thrive. Instead we see him with other celebrity rejects making redundant comments on those funny but stupid TRUtv shows, like the numerous Dumbest series.

I can think of only one reason, and maybe two. The first reason is a noble one: helping the dramatic percentage of the American public with addiction problems. They see a star filmed during rehab, vomiting and shaking through detox, crying in therapy, and think, "Maybe it's not so bad -- if they can do it, I can do it." One criticism I have is they seem to downplay the fact that detox requires medication. I know they treat different addictions with different medications, which they then wean you off of, but Dr. Drew seems to have made the decision to kind of downplay that aspect of the detox process. Detox is the weaning off of the drugs; rehab is dealing with the "stuff" in one's head that causes the addiction.

The less-noble second reason: Are these celebs paid? Or at the very least, I would assume they don't get charged for rehabbing in an upscale location. I am sure your average-joe rehab center doesn't have a smoking garden and a swimming pool, where the likes of a Rachel Uchitel  can be seen frolicking about in the tiniest of bikinis and strutting around like she's on a catwalk. (She, by the way, looked her up because I had never heard of her: She is one of those said to "be famous for being famous" (though, as stated in her bio: she has managed the VIP sections of some of the most successful clubs in New York and Las Vegas, is a special correspondent on nightlife for Extra, and on September 11, 2001, her fiancĂ©e was killed in the World Trade Center attack, which sent her into her drug-induced tailspin),

One note: the last episode to air, episode four, ended with Jason returning from an aborted mission to escape rehab for the night to hit a strip club (the guy is supposedly a billionaire, he can certainly afford it). But his "getaway car" got away before Jason could get in, and after he sauntered back into the place, the police showed up shortly thereafter. Several uniforms walked in, asking to speak with Jason. They all filed into the conference room and the door closed. End of episode. Talk about a cliffhanger! I can't wait to see what happens.

Another note: Shelly Sprague, one of the attendants who runs meditations and fills in for the perceptive Dr. Drew, should learn to cool it a little. During one session she called Lief Garret a heroin addict -- now, we know he is, that is why he is in rehab. It was wrong of her to call him that, judgement in her voice, and the rest of the group called her on it, as I am glad they did. Being in rehab doesn't give attendants the right to verbally slash anyone. It's that kind of stuff that will turn addicts away from help.

Also from the site, here is the cast:


  1. The most listened to doctor in America, Dr. Drew is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show 'Loveline' where he has been taking calls from listeners since 1983. Many people do not know that Dr. Drew is an internist who is board certified in...  Read More »
  2. Jason Davis, sometimes referred to by the media as "Gummi Bear," is an heir to his grandfather Marvin Davis (who owned 20th Century Fox), which explains his tabloid popularity and socialite status. After years of struggling with obesity and various...  Read More »
  3. Janice Dickinson is the self-proclaimed first super model who worked as a model throughout the 70s and 80s. She is an international model, fashion photographer, actress, author, and agent. Later in her career, she expanded her profession to...  Read More »
  4. Leif Garrett is an American teen idol famous for acting and singing throughout the 70s and 80s. Garrett's career took a nose dive in the 80s and 90s after a series of unfortunate events and he began using drugs and alcohol. Garrett has also been...  Read More »
  5. Jeremy London became famous for his role on the TV series Party of Five, and the film Mallrats. He was arrested in the spring of 2004 for allegedly driving with a suspended license and possession of a controlled substance. London claims he was...  Read More »
  6. Frankie Lons is R&B singer Keyshia Cole's biological mother. Keyshia went to visit her mom in prison in her reality show Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is. Two years later, Frankie debuted along with her second oldest daughter Nefferteria in BET's reality...  Read More »
  7. Rachel Uchitel is a tabloid celebrity and socialite who has managed the VIP sections of some of the most successful clubs in New York and Las Vegas. She is also a special correspondent on nightlife for Extra. On September 11, 2001 she suffered a...  Read More »
  8. Jason Wahler is an American television personality. The reality-TV train wreck is best known for wooing Lauren Conrad on Laguna Beach and The Hills. Jason has been arrested several times for various crimes including multiple DUI's and excessive...  Read More »
  9. Eric Roberts is an American actor who has been nominated for two Golden Globes and one Academy Award. In 1981, Roberts was involved in a car crash that left him comatosed for three days and with facial trauma, a broken collarbone, and an injured...  Read More »
  10. Bob Forrest is Dr. Drew's right hand man, and he has served as his Head Counselor and Program Manager for many years. Bob is a Certified Addiction Specialist who has been in recovery for more than thirteen years. Once again Bob joins Dr. Drew as a...  Read More »
  11. Shelly is a Residential Treatment Technician and a Certified Chemical Dependency Councilor with fourteen years of sobriety. Once again she takes on the difficult job of running the rehab floor.
  12. Will is often referred to as the muscle of the unit, and when a patient acts out, he is often the one that restores order on the floor. Will is a registered councilor and Residential Technician, as well as a recovering addict with more than seven...  Read More »


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