Doctor Shopping

Watch how Tod uses all measures to feed his addiction.

At the time the footage was shot for the documentary, Tod's mother, Maureen, thought her son was no longer using drugs, but she was wrong. She shows up at her son's apartment to check on him, because she hasn't heard from him in a few days. "I get really anxious when he doesn't answer that phone," she says. She enters his apartment and finds drug paraphernalia on his nightstand. "I thought for sure I was going to find him dead this morning."

In the film, Mariana asks Maureen, "Do you think Tod will ever be completely clean?"

"No," she says. "I think this is the way our life is going to be the rest of his life. Our big thing now is just to keep Tod alive."

[AD]Maureen and Tod join Dr. Phil onstage, and Maureen shares how prescription drug abuse has forever changed her family. "In April 2002, my oldest son, Drew, 25-years-old, he was almost a college graduate, Tod and his father found him dead from a prescription overdose." 

Dr. Phil asks Tod, "How did this square up in your mind, where even seeing the worst-case scenario, you continued down that path?"

"For me, it's not that I always want to get high, it's just that I don't want to feel bad, and when I saw my brother like that, it just brings bad feelings, and coping with life for me isn't easy, so I self-medicate to numb myself," he explains. 

"Are you clean now?" Dr. Phil asks Tod.

"I'm 90 days clean," he replies.

"Why get clean now?" Dr. Phil asks.

"With the help of my mom and everybody else, I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired," he says.

Maureen says her son is no longer taking prescription drugs, but he smokes marijuana. Dr. Phil wants to know why Tod feels it is OK to use that drug.

"I don't get the urge to do use other substances when I smoke pot, and I don't abuse it," he says.


[AD]Tod says he and his wife, Stephanie, used to visit multiple doctors to get prescriptions, also known as doctor shopping. The consequences turned deadly when Stephanie passed away. In the documentary The OxyContin Express, Tod recalls the day his wife died of a drug overdose.

"We took a nap, and before we went to bed we both did two pills, and she just never woke up," Tod says. Pointing to his bed, he says, "My wife passed away right there." He shows how she was laying when he found her. "I pulled her hair back, and her head was completely blue. I called 911. It was just too late," he says. "I did drugs when the ambulance was on the way. I snorted some OxyContin. That's the first thing, whenever something bad happens, whatever I can get my hands on I use to numb the pain."

In the studio, Dr. Phil expresses his sympathy for Maureen and Tod's losses. He notes that Tod and Stephanie had seen nine doctors between the two of them and asks, "How easy was it for you and your wife to get these pills?"

"You get an MRI and a pharmacy printout. They want proof that you've been on some type of pain medication prior in your life. Once they see that another doctor has given that to you, they have no problem writing you large quantities of OxyCondone," he explains. He adds that one prescription was for 240 30 milligram pills, and he bought over 1,000 pills per month.

Dr. Phil asks Maureen, "How different is Tod now? How have the drugs affected him? He seems rather flat."

"Since he's been on the Suboxone, he has slowly but surely started coming into our family life again," she says. "He's starting to enjoy life a bit little more."

[AD]Dr. Phil addresses Tod. "I'm really uncomfortable with the fact that you're still smoking marijuana. To me, that is a total non sequitur to what you want to do, and I hope you put that on your To-Do list at some point," he says. "I hope you continue this progress that you're making at this point."

Seven Steps to
Breaking Your Addiction

Whether you want to stop using drugs, put down the bottle or quit smoking, Dr. Phil has advice for breaking your addiction.