LOS ANGELES: Former guests on "Dr. Phil" have accused the show of exploiting addict guests by providing them with drugs and alcohol.
The guests have claimed it was all done in an attempt to boost the ratings of the show, which was hosted by former licensed psychologist and host Phil McGraw, reports aceshowbiz.com.
Todd Herzog, a former "Survivor: China" winner, appeared on "Dr. Phil" to discuss his alcoholism. He detailed to the health news publication STAT and Boston Globe that he found a bottle of vodka in his dressing room. After drinking the vodka, he was allegedly given Xanax to "calm his nerves". That led him to be totally wasted by the time he was about to go on the stage to the point he needed to be physically carried to his chair.
"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," said Herzog, who blew a .263 of Blood Alcohol Concentration when Dr. Phil breathalyzed him in the episode.
Marianne Smith, a family member of another guest identified as Jordan, added that "Dr. Phil" staffers advised her to go to Skid Row to buy heroin.
While McGraw didn't respond to the claims, Martin Greenberg, a psychologist who serves as the show's director of professional affairs, denied the claims, aceshowbiz.com reported.
In response to Herzog's allegation, Greenberg said: "We do not do that with this guest or any other," adding that the claims were "absolutely, unequivocally untrue."
Herzog was "medically supervised the entire time he was involved with tapings of 'Dr. Phil'."
"These people volunteer to come on. They beg to come on. And he tries to treat them with respect... and to give them the opportunity to get help if they want to do that. It's not a complicated formula," Greenberg added.
As for Smith's allegation, Greenberg said: "We could go on and talk about Jordan L. or ten others. Same reality. All had medical supervision."
Dr. Phil is a tabloid talk show in which Phil McGraw offers advice to his guest from his experience as a psychologist. He covers topics such as weight loss, children, marriage, family planning and financial planning. The show was started in 2002 by Oprah Winfrey and the 16th season is ongoing.