Dr. Drew talks hookup culture, addictions at lecture

Written by Victoria Slater, CAS communications intern

Dr. Drew Pinsky, a celebrity doctor known for his perspectives on sex, relationships, and addictions, spoke on Monday, February 16 at Hall Auditorium, as part of Miami University’s Lecture Series. In his talk, "Addictions Can Happen to You," Pinsky encouraged a conversation with the student audience about alcohol-induced hookup culture, and how to live a happier, drug-free life.

A practicing physician who is board-certified in internal and addiction medicine, Pinsky has been featured on numerous medical and reality shows, including Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Dr. Drew On Call. He has also hosted a radio show called Loveline for 25 years, where he shares his thoughts on love, sex, and relationships. According to the lecture series committee, Pinsky was chosen to speak because of student interest in his area of expertise.

Pinsky began his lecture by discussing his early career, in which he had "no idea about the disease of addiction." His goal was to build close relationships with his patients, so they could learn to trust, open up, and relate to him.

"The interpersonal experience, in my personal opinion, is everything," he said. "It is where you find yourself, it is where you find love, it is where you find the capacity to understand things, to see things with a new pair of glasses, to share with another person. It is how we learn to regulate our emotions, and is the foundation of building our relationships."

Pinsky then transitioned his speech to the topic of addictions, arguing that addictions are 70% genetic, with the remaining 30% rooted in environmental factors.

"Even if you have a second-degree family history addiction, you should take a close look at your partying and your abuse," he advised the student audience.

He also highlighted a distinction between addiction and abuse, arguing that "you don't have to be an addict to have consequences."

In the second half of the lecture, Pinsky opened up the floor for comments and questions from the audience. He encouraged students to examine and discuss the 'hook-up culture' for which Miami is especially notorious. Several students spoke up and explained that alcohol eases nerves, boosts confidence, and removes the emotional aspects, making the notion of 'hooking up' much easier.

"You're using alcohol to suppress real, human experience," Pinsky said in response. "Students feel they are entitled to partying and drinking, and that affects the quality of their relationships."

Pinsky further emphasized the need for students to take alcohol out of the equation, and to get to know each other the old fashioned way—by dating.

"Dating, getting to know each other in a setting where alcohol isn't involved—that's how you learn how to evaluate other people, and evaluate yourself," he said. "You learn to treat each other respectfully and supportively. Doesn't that sound good?"

"We need to be responsible for what we do so that it doesn't turn into addiction later on," said freshman Rasika Rane, who enjoyed the lecture's conversational, interactive atmosphere. She said she agreed with Pinsky's message and will take heed of his advice.

"He convinced me that being a college student in such an environment and culture, we should be more responsible about our actions and habits," she added.