Speed Reads

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The Dr. Phil show reportedly helped addicts score drugs and alcohol before they went on air

Several guests of the Dr. Phil show claim that as they struggled with severe substance addictions, the show helped them find drugs and alcohol, Stat and The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

In 2013, former Survivor winner Todd Herzog appeared on the Dr. Phil show and was so intoxicated that he was struggling to stand. During the interview, host Phillip McGraw — better known as Dr. Phil — said that he'd "never talked to a guest who was closer to death." But Herzog insisted to Stat that he was actually sober when he arrived to the Los Angeles set. Instead, he said, a bottle of vodka was waiting for him in his dressing room; battling alcoholism at the time, Herzog said he emptied its contents. Then, he told Stat, he was given a dose of anti-anxiety medication by an employee who said it would "calm his nerves."

Two other former guests claim that Dr. Phil staffers helped them procure drugs before the show. Marianne Smith, who accompanied her heroin-addicted niece to the show's set, told Stat that a show's producer suggested they acquire the drug in Los Angeles' Skid Row neighborhood after she raised concerns that her niece was experiencing withdrawal. In another instance, a show staffer reportedly accompanied and filmed a pregnant woman in withdrawal buying heroin after she could not receive detox treatment at a hospital; the footage was aired on Dr. Phil. A spokesman for the show told Stat that the staffer "simply documented the natural behavior she observed, which would have occurred whether she was there or not."

The spokesman, Martin Greenberg, initially told Stat that the show medically supervises all of its guests, but he backtracked that claim a week later. "We mean 100 percent of guests agreeing to treatment. It does not mean that a guest is being monitored 100 percent of the time," he said. "We cannot control what we cannot control."

Read the entire report at STAT.