Some former addict guests who appeared on Dr. Phil McGraw’s long-running talk show, “Dr. Phil,” have alleged that they were provided with alcohol and that show staff had enabled drug use prior to their televised interviews.
In a report published Thursday on STAT, with information obtained in a joint investigation conducted with the Boston Globe, several former guests made the drug- and alcohol-related allegations contained in the report.
What’s in the report?
When former “Survivor: China” winner Todd Herzog appeared on a 2013 episode of “Dr. Phil,” he arrived at the studio stone-cold sober, he claimed. Herzog, who at the time was in the throes of an alcohol addiction, said that when he arrived in his dressing room, a bottle of vodka was present. He admitted that his addictive nature took over, and he ended up consuming the entire bottle before the show’s taping.
Herzog also alleged that “someone” on set gave him a Xanax, which was intended to “calm his nerves.”
“I had been drinking and took a Xanax, which I’ve never taken Xanax before in my life, and I know that can be a deadly combination, so why it was given to me, I don’t know,” Herzog stated.
During the infamous television episode, Herzog was so intoxicated that he had to be carried onto the set and placed in a chair, and later reportedly blew a .263 in a breathalyzer test.
Herzog told STAT and the Globe, “You know, I get that it’s a television show and that they want to show the pain that I’m in. However, what would have happened if I died there? You know, that’s horrifying.”
According to the report, the show denied that vodka was left in Herzog’s dressing room.
Herzog, now sober, does credit the show for helping along his recovery.
“I’m grateful in a lot of ways for the show,” Herzog admitted. “For getting me help in the nicest places in the country. That’s a gift right there.”
Herzog wasn’t the only one who shared his reported experience — several others featured on the show came forward and lodged similar complaints against the production.
Of those interviewed for the report, two other guests indicated that in the time leading up to the taping, they were reportedly left alone without any medical attention or supervision, or were assisted in gaining access to drugs to help along the detox process.
You can read the full report here.
Has anyone affiliated with the show responded to the report?
Martin Greenberg, a psychologist who also serves as the production’s director of professional affairs, told the publications that guests have never been provided with alcohol and have never been told where they can find drugs. He also noted that the allegations contained in the report are “absolutely, unequivocally untrue.”
“Addicts are notorious for lying, deflecting and trivializing. But if they are at risk when they arrive, then they were at risk before they arrived,” Greenberg said in a statement to the publications. “The only change is they are one step closer to getting help, typically help they could not have even come close to affording.”
Greenberg also said that 100 percent of guests with substance abuse issues, and who agreed to treatment, are medically supervised, but noted that “it does not mean that a guest is being monitored 100 [percent] of the time.”
He added that “substance abusers adopt very clever means” in order to procure drugs or alcohol and noted that “we cannot control what we cannot control.”
STAT reported that a representative for the show declined a request for an interview.