A representative for the Dr Phil show has fired back at reports that the production gave drugs and alcohol to recovering addicts before filming, saying that an article published following a joint investigation by STAT and the Boston Globe is inaccurate.

In a written statement provided to Fox News, a staffer for the show said:

“The STAT article does not fairly or accurately describe the methods of Dr Phil, the TV show, or its mission to educate millions of viewers about drug and alcohol addiction,” a spokesman for Dr Phil told Fox News in a written statement. The show does not give drugs or alcohol to its guests and any suggestions to the contrary is errant nonsense.”

The statement went on to defend the show’s credentials and its success in helping drug addicts and alcoholics overcome their addictions, and accused those who spoke out in the article of being deceptive and dishonest:

“For the past 16 years, the Dr Phil show has provided valuable information to viewers by telling compelling stories about people who are fighting the battle to overcome alcohol and drug addiction. Unfortunately, addicts often lash out at the very people who are trying the hardest to help them break the cycle of addiction. Although terribly unfortunate, this is an understandable part of the behaviour of addicts on their journey to recovery. Deception, dishonesty and denial are hallmarks of addiction. It tears families apart and certainly creates levels of complexities when we produce these important shows. None of this will deter the Dr Phil show from its commitment to continue to educate and inform the public about the worsening epidemic of addiction.”

Amongst those interviewed for the original article were Survivor winner Todd Herzog, who appeared on the show in 2013 when battling alcohol addiction, and claims to have found a bottle of vodka waiting for him him in his dressing room.

After drinking the vodka, he claims that a Dr Phil staffer gave him a Xanax to “calm his nerves” before the taping. Subsequent footage shows him being led onto the set while crying and near-incoherent, and being placed into high stool by Phil and a production assistant.

The STAT article says that guests on the show had to confront a “painful and potentially dangerous” detox as they waited in hotel rooms for up to 48 hours before the show, and a family member of one unnamed guest claimed that they bought heroin “with the knowledge and support of show staff.”

Last year, a former director filed a lawsuit against Phil McGraw and his production company, accusing the show of “false imprisonment” over an alleged incident when staff members were locked in a room and berated about leaks to the media.

Source: Variety
Image: Getty Images / Ethan Miller