SEPTEMBER 11, 2003
The Doctor Will Hear You Now
Dr. Drew Makes a Utah House Call
By Jamie Gadette

ost people associate Drew Pinsky, aka Dr. Drew, with the ways in which he approaches sexually explicit inquiries on his syndicated talk show “Loveline.” However, the certified internist and addictionologist is currently putting the spotlight on substance abuse.

On Friday, Sept. 12, Pinsky will appear at Kingsbury Hall to discuss his latest book, Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again; A Doctor’s Story, which focuses on the connection between interpersonal trauma and addiction. “Nearly every patient I’ve seen has experienced some kind of neglect, abuse or abandonment that can create feelings of abandonment,” Pinsky says.

It’s a subject with which Pinsky has accrued a great deal of experience. When he’s not fielding on-air questions, the doctor helps patients at his private clinical practice. As an addictionologist, Pinsky has witnessed the patterns that surface among a wide demographic of sufferers. He is particularly interested with the way in which psychological factors enhance paths established by predetermined traits.

  Dr. Drew, sans wise-cracking "Loveline" co-host Adam Carolla, will appear at Kingsbury Hall to discuss addiction, among other issues.

“[Addiction] is a biological disorder with a genetic basis,” Pinsky says. However, clearly social settings influence and even reinforce certain addictive behaviors. Pinsky is determined to root out the true causes in order to discover adequate methods of treatment.

Pinsky began his career at the University of Southern California. While still a medical student, a series of serendipitous events lead to Pinsky’s involvement with a student-run radio program. The show, which ran from 12 p.m. to 3 a.m., only required his input for one hour. “I came in after I had finished studying,” says Pinsky. “It wasn’t hard.”
He adopts a similar attitude toward the myriad commitments currently filling his increasingly tight schedule. “I’m happy right now—my work is like play,” Pinsky says. “I just have to make sure I don’t get distracted.”

In order to ensure that all responsibilities are fulfilled, Pinsky also relies on those willing and able to help, such as his partners at the office. In addition to the usual hectic chaos associated with the medical profession, reporters and college campuses frequently request his time. Pinsky confesses that though he is more than willing to stretch himself, he is also quick to point out how his own loved ones are his top priority. “I spend a lot of time with my family,” Pinsky says. Last year, he even coached football. Yet, as he pointed out, work and play are often one and the same.

Take “Loveline,” for example. The show manages to successfully straddle the precarious line between education and sensationalism. Pinsky offers scientifically based advice as Adam Carolla contributes comedic, uncouth flair. The duality of logic and entertainment is a characteristic that helps the show stand out from more straightforward sources of information.

Pinsky explains that the media is a tool with which one can better reach an easily distracted audience. “This is a way to get people to listen,” Pinsky says. Though he is quick to point out that he does not prefer working with high school and college students over older generations, Pinsky feels a great deal of “gratitude that younger people are willing to listen.”

His interactions with university students have yielded several interesting findings, mainly regarding extracurricular activities.

“If you study college-age people, particularly women, you find that they are not happy with the social scene,” Pinsky says. He says that general dissatisfaction stems from a culture that encourages shallow relationships. As a general rule, most students do not date in the traditional sense. Rather, they attend parties, drink to meet and greet, then wake the next morning to strangers breathing stale breath on their pillows—or worse, lying outside, completely naked.

Though they are clichéd and even amusing images, on a greater scale, the transient nature of hooking up can prove extremely detrimental. Pinsky often asks patients what drives them to such behavior: “If hooking up is so great, why do you always have to get loaded to do it?”

Pinsky believes communication is essential to human brain development. “Intimate dialogue has a healthy impact on our brain.” Physical pleasure by itself is not rarely an adequate substitute for emotional cravings.

Pinsky will delve deeper into such issues at the live show, relying on lectures from his book in addition to other topics and supplementary audience interaction. It will be an opportunity for many to begin addressing issues that might otherwise remain untouched.

Dr. Drew appears at Kingsbury Hall on Friday, Sept. 12. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $5 for students.

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