Pop Culture

Dr. Drew is 'confused' by claims that he exploits celebrity addicts

Damian Dovarganes / AP / Today
Dr. Drew Pinsky doesn't understand why people think he exploits celebs.

VH1’s go-to guy for treating stars under the influence, Dr. Drew Pinsky, doesn’t understand his critics. He believes he’s healing celebrities while entertaining the masses, but many critics claim Dr. Drew’s just taking advantage of the D-listers he features on his rehab-related shows.

“I'm a little confused by that,” the addiction medicine specialist told PopEater. “On the one hand, these are people that are not particularly motivated to seek treatment, yet they desperately need it. They come to us because they're motivated to be on TV and make money and because of that skewed motivation we're able to keep them in treatment. The extraordinary thing we've discovered is that they don't leave treatment. They want to be on TV and make money and I can work very intensely with them. They don't leave. In usual treatment, when you get going intensely, they leave and say, ‘Screw this, I'm going to do drugs.’ These guys stay and they end up eventually getting with the program. I think you'll find almost every person who's done it feels it was a life-changing experience and wanted to be an inspiration to other people.”

According to Dr. Drew, that life-changing perspective proves there’s merit instead of a mercenary nature in what he’s doing.

“So if it's a mercenary or exploitative experience, you would think we would be taking something from them for ourselves,” the “Celebrity Rehab” host said. “They're getting paid, often considerably more than I am, they're getting great treatment and a great outcome and they feel good about it. So how is that exploitative? Are we playing on their fame-seeking? Sure, but in terms of getting on the other side, you'll see less of them on TMZ.”

Well, less of some but much more of others.

Watch an extended sneak peek from Wednesday night’s episode of “Celebrity Rehab”: