Dr. Drew draws more than 700 to Touhill

The line of eager Dr. Drew fans wound around the lobby of the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis last week. They were mostly young and female and had nothing but praise for Drew Pinsky, M.D., the media savvy L.A. physician with a long-running syndicated talk radio show and several reality television shows. The topics? Sex, relationships and all forms of addiction.

Hannah Lee, a 19-year-old UMSL freshman studying international business said she’s been listening to and watching Dr. Drew “for years.”  She was one of 30 sorority sisters from Zeta Tau Alpha attending Drew’s talk.

“He’s a very educated guy and I’ve learned a lot from him,” she said. According to Lee, his show on MTV, “Sex… with Mom and Dad,” which involves teens discussing the taboo topic of sex with their parents, attracts millions of young people. “I mean, what kid doesn’t watch MTV?” she said.

The sorority sisters talked over one another about how good Dr. Drew was at fixing people’s problems.

The evening, sponsored by the student-run University Program Board, was billed as “Loveline with Dr. Drew.”  His program of the same name is syndicated on more than 100 radio stations across the country. Locally, he can be heard on KPNT (105.7 FM) from 10 to midnight Sunday through Thursday.

Pinsky is lean and tan, and very comfortable with the give and take format with his audience. Six Touhill staff members moved through the audience with microphones. No names were used. “You don’t even have to stand up,” he reassured them.

He jumped right into some common behavior among college students: “hooking up,” “friends with benefits,” “instant boyfriend and girlfriend.” Whatever you call it, he said, all of them involve sex and none of them involve commitment or intimacy. Much of it is done while they’re drunk.

“Why do you drink when you’re hooking up?” he challenged the audience.

“It gives me courage. I’m afraid I won’t be able to perform,” said more than one young man.  “It makes me numb. I won’t feel the hurt,” said a young woman. The word rejection was used frequently.

Pinsky didn’t preach.  Instead, he grabbed his audience’s attention with a lesson on the consequences of unprotected sex, drug and alcohol addiction. He sees it every day, and with the help of reality television, so do they. He encouraged them to go with their instincts, whatever it is inside of them that tells them what’s right and what’s wrong.

Alycia Kramer, a freshman majoring in secondary education and math at UMSL said she was a big fan of “Loveline.” Her boyfriend, Johnnie Cooper, is impressed with the way Pinsky answers any question that gets thrown at him. “I came to see how he does in person.”

Judging by the after-show buzz, Dr. Drew did not disappoint.

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