Celebrity Rehab Deaths – Feature

Published On March 19, 2015 » 1336 Views» By Darren Dimmick » Headlines
The show “Celebrity Rehab With Doctor Drew” gave Americans the idea that they had the inside track to what happens in a rehab setting. It also gave the clients a false sense of hope that they would somehow walk away with a newfound ability to handle life. Unfortunately, it achieved neither of those goals.

Famous show “Celebrity Rehab With Doctor Drew”, six seasons of which were shown on the cable network VH1.


.Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew..

The show which aired on VH1, took a group of seven to nine celebrities and placed them in Dr. Drew Pinsky’s care at the Pasadena Recovery Center. In the sixth season, the name was changed to “Rehab with Dr. Drew” and the patients were not celebrities. The facility was outfitted with cameras that taped all areas except the bathroom. In addition, a camera crew filmed many hours a day.

Compensation includes free detoxification and rehab treatment, valued at 50,000-60,000 dollars, as well as a salary. The salary portion of the compensation is prorated and paid weekly. This acts as an incentive to stick with the program until the end.

Initially, Dr. Drew hesitated to use celebrities. In fact, he wanted to use young adults, similar to those he saw in his practice. Producers, however, felt that the celebrity model would fit more into what VH1 stood

.Mike Starr..


Mike Starr, died in the third season of 

The show’s criticism began early, however, with people being upset by the fact that people were being paid to attend rehab. Also, some of the clients were not even addicts or were self-diagnosed, long-term sober or otherwise not in need of services. The show puts entertainment above the need for services. A true drug rehab values the treatment process and the client’s health first and foremost.

When a client enters a rehab center, they need to go through the steps of detoxification, rehab and then sober living. Therapy, nutrition, recreation and





vocational care all need to be part of it. The show failed many of those areas where a successful drug rehab does not.

The overly dramatic confrontations and entertainment first policies of the show are quite unlike a normal rehab. For the vast majorities of users, this can turn them away from the idea of going into a facility. For the celebrities inside, however, this often had even worse results.




In the 5 seasons the show was filmed, they had five deaths and many high profile relapses . The  deaths include Mike Starr, Jeff Conaway, Rodney King, Joey Kovar and Mindy McCready.  Out of 43 clients, 5 died.

The first death, was Mike Starr. Starr was in the band Alice in Chains. After appearing on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, he died of a heroin overdose.

Next, Jeff Conaway, star of Grease and Taxi, died of pneumonia. He was on seasons one and two of Celebrity Rehab. It has been said that opiates werea factor in his death.

Following his death, police riot victim Rodney King drowned in his pool. After appearing on season three of celebrity rehab, he went on to use a combination of alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and PCP.

After that was Joey Kovar died. Kovar’s claim to fame, prior to his stint in Dr. Drew’s rehab, was MTV’s reality show Real World. After leaving, he died of “opiate intoxication.”

Famous relapses include Chyna, who passed out drunk at several public appearances. Another one is Brigitte Nielson, who was caught on tape “acting drunk” before falling asleep on the ground in public then walking home.

Joey Kovar from the third season of “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”.

These relapses, deaths and other dug related issues do not indicate that the show had no success. In fact, Tom Sizemore is pointed to as the biggest success story. Other success stories include Nikki McKibbin, Amber Smith, Jessica Sierra, Janice Dickinson and Lisa D’Amato.


Jeff Conaway, participant of first and the second seasons “Celebrity Rehab”. Jeff died in the second season in the age of 60.


The best news came out of the sixth season. The sixth season featured only individuals with no claim to fame. In addition to the fact that all eight are still alive, all eight were still sober at six months. Now, three years later, seven of eight continue to maintain their sobriety with the support of family and friends.


Mindy McCready became the fifth 'Celebrity Rehab' participant who passed away after appearing on the show.

The fifth “Celebrity Rehab” participant who passed away after appearing on the show – Mindy McCready.


Other reality shows, such as Intervention, also have a much higher success rate than Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. This is, in part, because of the fact that the celebrity factor is removed from the picture. In addition, where Intervention is concerned, the addiction is filmed but the rehab process is not.

Unfortunately, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew failed in many of its principle aims. It did not expose people to the realities of a rehab setting. In addition, it did not change the lives of many of the celebrities that came into it. What it did do, however, is open eyes to the need for better care in the field of addiction medicine. In addition, it helped some of the celebrities make the turnaround they desperately needed.


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