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Interview With Robert and Grant Shapiro

Aired October 21, 2005 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, exclusive famed attorney Robert Shapiro, on October 10th his 24-year-old son Brent died of an apparent drug overdose and now for the first time anywhere he talks about his terrible loss and how he plans to turn the tragedy into a force for good.
Robert Shapiro with his son Grant, Brent's brother, an exclusive, emotional hour is next on LARRY KING LIVE. Linell Shapiro, Brent's mother and Grant's mother, was also supposed to be with us and Bob will explain why in a moment.

But first let's get a quick update on Wilma and let's go to Chad Myers at CNN Weather Center -- Chad.


The winds now 125 miles per hour lashing Cancun at this point and Cozumel; this storm is forecast to be over the Yucatan Peninsula for a while tonight. The longer it's over there, the more damage it does to Mexico but the smaller it's going to be by the time it makes landfall in the United States sometime during the day on Monday. We'll have more later in the show.

KING: Thanks, Chad.

On Monday morning, October 10th, Brent Shapiro died of an apparent drug overdose. He had been hospitalized the previous day after being found unconscious. He had been partying with friends. Funeral services were held Wednesday, October 12th at the Stephen Weiss Temple in Los Angeles. A foundation has been established. There you see Brent and his mom.

And, Robert Shapiro and his son Grant join us. What happened, Linell couldn't -- what happened?

ROBERT SHAPIRO, FAMED ATTORNEY'S FIRST INTERVIEW SINCE SON'S DRUG OVERDOSE: She was on her way with Grant and I, Larry. She had gotten sick this afternoon from the flu on top of all the stress and everything else. She really wanted to be here. She wanted to talk about Brent and talk about the foundation.

We were just about halfway here and we had to stop the car twice and at that time I said, you know, it's just going to be too much. You just can't come on when you're as sick as you are. So, she would have wished to have been here.

KING: The obvious and the same question for both of you because the answer could be different, why are you here?

R. SHAPIRO: First, I hope I can get through the hour. The only thing that I think is going to help myself and Grant and Linell and our family through this is by trying to use Brent's death as a means to let people know that there is an epidemic of a drug disease, not only in this city, not only in this state but in this country and perhaps in the world with kids starting at age 15.

And, in this city alone the last three weeks three kids have been buried as a result of this disease. It's not talked about. It's the disgraceful disease. It's one that's shameful. We want to bring it out in the open. We want to put it on the table. We want people to talk about it.

KING: And you discussed it openly at the funeral.

R. SHAPIRO: Yes, I did.

KING: I bet you a lot of people were surprised by it. Grant, why are you here?

GRANT SHAPIRO, BROTHER DIED OF DRUG OVERDOSE: Well, Larry, I'm here to bring awareness to the tragedy that occurred and also to be here to support my family.

KING: How hard is it for you?

G. SHAPIRO: It's just really, it's unbearable and the emptiness I'm filled with it's really shocking.

KING: Bob, what happened the last day of his life? I saw you last week at a party CNN threw for me. I never saw you happier.

R. SHAPIRO: If you saw me Saturday night and you asked me how things were, I'd say, Larry, I'm blessed. I got two great kids. Grant's just been accepted to a fine music school. Brent's for the third semester on the Dean's list at USC. He's engaged. The wedding is already planned.

Linell is healthy. I'm healthy. Nothing could be greater than what we have. We've reached the American dream. Sunday morning at seven o'clock I got a call from his fiancee, Brent's not breathing and...

KING: He was at her house?

R. SHAPIRO: He was -- actually they went to a friend's house that night after going out to a birthday party of his fiancee's boss, 30th birthday party, to which we were invited, so it wasn't a kid's party. It wasn't a rave. It wasn't a rock and roll event.

KING: And she said he's not breathing so what did you do?

R. SHAPIRO: I woke Linell up and drove as fast as I could and we beat the paramedics to the hospital.

KING: She had called the paramedics?

R. SHAPIRO: She had called the paramedics and I knew that was a bad sign.

KING: What happened at the hospital?

R. SHAPIRO: We were there probably 15 or 20 minutes before the paramedics. People at Cedar Sinai were just absolutely fantastic but they had no information and then a fire department captain came and said, "Can I see you outside" and I knew.

And he said, you know, "We had our entire crew there. We got there but he was already in arrest and he's upstairs now and he's being attended to by the great doctors here and they'll give you updates as it occurs but I didn't want you staying here not knowing what was going on."

KING: Was he brain dead?


KING: Did you have to pull the plug literally?


KING: Yes.


KING: Had he left a living will?

R. SHAPIRO: You know it's -- it's something I've been talking about and preaching, as you know, for people to have it. He didn't have it but Linell and I had to make that decision and it's not a decision you want to make.

And, while we're on the subject, I have co-founded an Internet company and one of the things we do is living wills and so nobody else has to go through this experience and the shock initially when that happens. If you go to this weekend we will provide a living will to anybody in America free of charge.

KING: What?

R. SHAPIRO: We'll provide a living will to anybody in America free of charge. At the bottom there will be something that says "promotion code," type in the name Brent. There will be no charge and it will be prepared up until midnight on Sunday.

KING: And they go to where?


KING:, free living will.

R. SHAPIRO: Yes. KING: Were you present when he died?


KING: Were you, Grant?

G. SHAPIRO: I believe so. I wasn't really informed or I was misled about his condition at the time.

KING: You thought he was OK?


KING: Had you been under the assumption that he had gotten over the drug problem? He'd had this for years right?

R. SHAPIRO: You never get over -- first, I've been educated enough throughout the years to know that you never get over a drug disease. It's with you. The message is day by day and that's what it really means.

But, for 18 months Brent Shapiro was sober. He was doing incredibly well at USC. He had decided he was going to go to law school, even though he was in a specialized music school there in a specialized program for music industry, which he loved and wanted to get into.

And so, you know, if you asked me this two or three years before I'd say every night I'd expect a call. You never know when that call is coming. But for 18 months to see the smile on this kid's face. He never was happier. He had everything he wanted in life. He was a giant sports fan and USC was undefeated. He just had everything going for him.

KING: How good a brother was he Grant?

G. SHAPIRO: The best brother anybody could ask for. He had such a big heart and he would, you know, place his friends and family before himself in the snap of a second.

KING: Did the problem ever affect you?

G. SHAPIRO: Of course it did.

KING: His problem.


KING: I mean did you ever have a drug problem?


KING: But his problem you knew all about right?

G. SHAPIRO: Of course, yes.

KING: What age did it start to your knowledge?

R. SHAPIRO: Well, in hindsight talking to him after he became sober at age 15 where he started smoking marijuana and drinking. And, he was always saying something that was very, very interesting and that most people probably would not agree with but he always said that marijuana is a gateway drug that it leads to other drugs. And he said if you talk to any addict that's what they'll tell you.

KING: We'll be right back with Robert Shapiro and his son Grant Shapiro and we'll be giving you the address of a foundation explaining what that foundation will do. We'll also include calls. We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Robert Shapiro and his son Grant Shapiro. They have started the Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Awareness. And, again, that offer if you go onto and write Brent on the bottom next to the promotional release just write Brent and they'll do a living will free for you. That's through Sunday night.

What was the cause of death?

R. SHAPIRO: The cause...

KING: The paper said the coroner's report would not be released for some time.

R. SHAPIRO: I talked to Dr. Lacksmanan (ph) and the coroner this morning. I asked -- they're public records anyway but I asked that they be released and I publicly will say exactly what Dr. Lacksmanan told me that he had a small amount of ecstasy based on reports that we know. He took one half a tab of ecstasy with a lot of water. The water increased the toxicity of the ecstasy, which I did not know.

KING: You mean had he not taken the water it might not have happened?

R. SHAPIRO: I don't know. I don't know.

KING: Ecstasy can kill you?

R. SHAPIRO: Not can, did, half a tablet from somebody who had been sober for 18 months.

KING: Was something wrong with the ecstasy? I mean was it a bad ecstasy? I don't know anything about ecstasy.

R. SHAPIRO: I don't -- I don't know either. All they told me is that it was ecstasy. It was a very small amount. The secondary cause as a result of the ecstasy was a heart attack.

KING: So, it was the heart attack was the -- ecstasy produced the heart attack.

R. SHAPIRO: Exactly. KING: And then he went brain dead?

R. SHAPIRO: And then...

KING: From that.

R. SHAPIRO: And then he stopped breathing. He started to vomit. As I know the story, he took a half of ecstasy tablet at about 11:30 at a party that he started to get violently ill about one o'clock or 1:30, projectile vomiting, that there was somebody there that claimed to be a medic that said his vital signs are fine. He probably just had too much to drink, which he hadn't.

KING: Did he drink at all that night?

R. SHAPIRO: He was drinking according to reports of people I talked to.

KING: Did that have any effect on the death?

R. SHAPIRO: Not according to Dr. Lacksmanan. He had two shots of something called Jagermeister. But what happens with an addict, Larry, is anything lights the fuse and once that drink of alcohol was in his system that fuse for the disease was triggered and that made him vulnerable.

He got sick. They didn't recognize how sick he was. He started to vomit. He was told if they just took him home and he got sleep, he'd be fine. Seven o'clock in the morning he was turning blue.

KING: When he went through periods of all this had he gone to various addiction centers, a little history of Brent and you and the family?

R. SHAPIRO: It starts out I think pretty -- pretty much the same for every family. Everybody is drinking a little bit in school, even though they're underage. Everybody is smoking a little grass. Don't be a type of parent that just doesn't understand this. This is what's going on type thing.

KING: Did you let it go?

R. SHAPIRO: You begin to accept that. I didn't let it go. I didn't like it but it was out of my control.

KING: Did you do it Grant?


R. SHAPIRO: Every kid I've talked to does it. The schools are filled with it, not only the public schools, the private schools, not only the private schools, the schools in the Antelope Valley. I talked to Steve Cooley, our district attorney. He said the problem is as big in the Antelope Valley as it is in South Central. It doesn't know economics. It doesn't know ethnic background.

KING: How bad did it get with Brent?

R. SHAPIRO: It got to the point where it was very obvious when he was about 19 graduating high school going to college that he had a serious, serious problem. He was...

KING: Did he have other troubles that led to this? Was he a troubled kid?

R. SHAPIRO: No, no.

KING: Was there anything about Brent when he was 13, 12 that you said boy we got to watch him?

R. SHAPIRO: He was hyperactive. That wasn't troubled but he was a hyperactive child, diagnosed with hyperactivity before people really were talking about ADD at the age of five.

KING: Did he take medication for that?

R. SHAPIRO: He was taking Ritalin through about the time he was 15 or 16.

KING: They don't associate that with becoming addictive or they don't know?

R. SHAPIRO: They don't -- I don't think -- I think what you just said is the reason for this foundation. There has not been an emphasis and a focus on this disease. There is a focus on all the other horrible diseases but this one, which according to people I've talked to recently and I've been speaking to a lot of experts that a little less than 500,000 people a year die of heart disease in this country. More than 250,000 die of alcohol and drug disease.

KING: And you say there's little we know. I thought there's a lot we know. I thought there's...

R. SHAPIRO: We don't know what causes it. We don't know when it begins. We don't know how we can identify people who are going to be prone to this disease and other than programs like AA, which is the best of the best that we have, which has in one year an 88 percent failure rate. Twelve percent of the people that go into AA are sober for a year.

KING: So, if it's a battle, it's a battle of the society losing?

R. SHAPIRO: Losing big time.

KING: More in a minute. We'll be giving you -- in fact, let me give it to you now. The Brent Shapiro Foundation, you can go to it at, all one word, or the Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Awareness, 10250 Constellation Boulevard, 19th Floor, Los Angeles, 90067.

Just telling friends they've already raised a ton of money for this. I'm going to find out how they're going to use it. We'll be taking your calls. We'll be right back.


KING: Grant was telling me something about Brent, which seems contradictory. He was an athlete, right?


KING: Body, kept his body in great shape.

G. SHAPIRO: He did.

KING: Did pushups, hockey player.


KING: So, tell me how you explain that and drugs?

G. SHAPIRO: I don't think it really has to do with if you're an athlete or what your activities are. I think anybody can, you know, experiment with drugs or...

KING: But wasn't he conscious of keeping his body healthy?

G. SHAPIRO: Yes, he was but he was also having fun with just playing sports like anyone else and I guess it's a little mix of both.

KING: What did you think of it when you knew he was in trouble, when he'd go to addiction centers as his younger brother?

G. SHAPIRO: I thought that he was really in jeopardy and the first thing that came to my mind was just to be there for him and give him the most support I could.

KING: Did you talk to him about it a lot?


KING: Did he try, did he say he was trying hard?

G. SHAPIRO: Oh, of course and he really was.

KING: Do you know why they go back? Hey, I want to read something to you, Bob.


KING: A friend of mine gave me this today. I don't know who wrote it but, "Drug addiction is a terribly selfish disease that not only affects the addict but consumes the very life energy of the family and friends of the addict. Those close to the addict feel a helplessness surrounded by depression and hurt.

They feel inadequate, have no control, spend most of their time chasing their endless crusade to save their loved one. Frustration surround those associated with the addict as they are left to stand and watch helplessly as a loved one slowly kills himself.

Once the addict's tragic and unnecessary death is over the family's hell slowly fades but is never forgotten. Those left behind suffer long after the addict's addiction has ended."

Is this an addiction or a disease?

R. SHAPIRO: I don't think it matters what you call it. In my own mind, and this is not anything based on science or research, if anybody who went to a doctor and said "I have serious back pain. I have serious migraine headaches."

The doctor prescribes a course of Vicodin and that person took five Vicodin a day for 20 days, I don't care who that person is that person would be addicted to Vicodin. If, however, you gave one person three or four Vicodin once and that person had the disease that person would have that disease for life.

KING: So, it's both?

R. SHAPIRO: I think it's both. I think it's both and I don't think it matters. I don't think it matters because what we need to do is first talk about this. Bring it out in the open. It affects every family that I've ever talked to directly almost 100 percent.

It is everywhere in society, not only from kids to not only famous people that you hear about when the movie stars or the musicians or the athletes get in trouble, it's in your industry and it's in my industry.

KING: You represented Darryl Strawberry.

R. SHAPIRO: I did.

KING: You represented Robert Downey, Jr.

R. SHAPIRO: I did.

KING: Who by the way sends his best to you. He was here the other night. So you've been around this.

R. SHAPIRO: I pleaded with the judge not to send Downey to prison, pleaded with this judge. It's a disease. The judge said, "Well, he's had a couple of chances and he failed. How many chances should I give him?" I said as many as he needs. He's got a disease. If somebody has diabetes and they stop taking insulin, are you going to say, fine, let's just forget them because they didn't take their insulin?

KING: What does your foundation hope to do?

R. SHAPIRO: First we want to bring together a group of experts from all different disciplines, people involved in genetics, people involved in rehabilitation, people who are affected by the disease, teachers, police, people that know about this and try to brainstorm and come up with some ideas. My basic outline, and it's just basic, is first education, open education, not somebody coming to a school once a year for a speech for 45 minutes and the kids get stoned before the speech and after the speech but education on a real level within the school system. At the same time, educating parents because the kids manipulate the parents to a degree that...

KING: But educating them to do what?

R. SHAPIRO: That this disease is playing Russian roulette and that if you start you could end up in the cemetery.

KING: So, why doesn't that work if you say it to a kid? With education we've cut tobacco use in half in America. I think we're the lowest tobacco use country and that's not something that sends you crazy and you don't lose your job, yet we've been able to cut it through simple education. This can kill you. Why doesn't education alone work here?

R. SHAPIRO: Because this is a disease, Larry, and that's the point. This is not a weakness. This is not something that somebody says, Larry, you've got heart disease. Quit smoking. You say fine I quit smoking. This disease is so bad that kids that overdose and are taken to an emergency room on Friday night are doing drugs Saturday morning.

KING: Is it incurable?

R. SHAPIRO: I don't know and that's what we want to look at. We want to see maybe there is a cure and maybe we can identify early on who is going to be susceptible to the disease.

KING: Does it confound you that Brent went back to it?

R. SHAPIRO: No, not at all.

KING: It doesn't?

R. SHAPIRO: Not in the least.

KING: Even though he was doing great?

R. SHAPIRO: Not in the least because we learned.

KING: So, then you have to worry every day there's a knock on the door.

R. SHAPIRO: Every night and I've talked to so many parents from all walks of life who have called me that I don't know. I had a policeman from the Simpson case call me and tell me about his daughter and tell me that every night he goes to sleep hoping he doesn't get a phone call. I had the president of a major corporation on a New York Stock Exchange call me with the same message. You live with this and you live a miserable existence.

KING: So that 7:00 a.m. call on that Sunday morning while a shock is not a total shock? It's a shock.

R. SHAPIRO: I don't know the difference between a shock and a total shock. Of course it's a total shock. I mean the kid's flying. He's doing unbelievably well. He's got more friends than anybody could imagine. I mean you were at the service. There was 1,800 people at the service for a kid on one day's notice. Yes, it's a shock but it's one of those things that's always in the back of your mind.


R. SHAPIRO: You know once that fuse gets lit, once you take that sip, there's something that goes on with the people with this disease.

KING: The foundation is or .org, right?

R. SHAPIRO: Correct.

KING: Foundation for Drug Awareness, or .org and you've already raised over $1 million just telling friends?

R. SHAPIRO: Yes, we have and most of that is coming from people who were at this service where ten kids got up and spoke. Brent's drug counselor got up and spoke and somehow, I don't know where it came from, but I got the courage to tell the story.

KING: How did you get through that?

B. SHAPIRO: I don't know.

KING: How did you, Grant? You lost it.

G. SHAPIRO: I haven't gotten through it and I never will, but I just know that I have a good family and support from great friends to be on my side.

KING: Did you think twice about getting up? Sometimes immediate family members at funerals don't speak. In fact, most of the times they don't speak.

G. SHAPIRO: Of course, I did, yes. I mean it's kind of nerve wracking, for one, and also it's just a hard thing to perform.

KING: But you did it.

G. SHAPIRO: Of course, I mean, it's hard to perform because of your emotion. But, I did it, you know, to support my brother and speak about him. I felt it was necessary.

KING: We'll be right back. We'll be repeating that web site and the address. Taking your phone calls, too. For Bob Shapiro and Grant, we're sorry. And Linell, of course, in too rough a shape to come. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Before we get with Robert and Grant Shapiro, let's get another update on Wilma from Chad Myers -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, METEOROLOGIST: Larry, the storm has absolutely stopped over the resort community of Cancun. From Playa del Carmen right through Cozumel. And for that matter it is going to be just stationary all night long, blowing wind speeds of 140 to 150 miles per hour. Those gusts right through downtown Cancun right now.

Sustained winds at 140 gusting to 165 right along the hotel zone at this hour. And then finally by tomorrow, it moves into the Gulf of Mexico and then it moves toward the west coast of Florida.

And as it makes its way across the west coast of Florida, not losing much punch in all those big cities from West Palm to Fort Lauderdale, maybe as far south as Miami-Dade getting into the act Sunday afternoon. Back to you.

KING: Thanks.

Again, if you hit, put Brent, just the name Brent on the bottom by the production line the company will -- under Bob Shapiro's auspices, give you a free living will. That's And for information or contribution to the foundation it's www.foundationfordrug or .org.

Before we take some calls. Tell me a little bit more about Brent, what kind of kid he was.

R. SHAPIRO: You know, he was a young man of extremes in every sense of the word. He was a great challenge to raise as a son and a great reward to have as a son. He had an inner spirit and a joy for life. He would go to two or three sporting events if he could on the same weekend. And then stay up all night and study for his exams.

KING: He'd see three different concerts, one of the friends said, in the same night.

R. SHAPIRO: Yes, yes, in the same night. Not because he was partying, because he wasn't. But, he was just into the music. He was into the bands and into movies and sports.

KING: They all also said that he was a great friend.

R. SHAPIRO: This -- you know, Grant, tell them the story of him at your birthday party outside the restaurant.

G. SHAPIRO: Sure. On my birthday, we were waiting on the valet. And he saw a homeless man outside of a restaurant, and I guess he had laundry or something. And he had like a clean sheet in his room for his bedroom, I mean. And he just decided to give it to the homeless man just out of his kind heart.

KING: Just went and got the laundry and gave it to him?

G. SHAPIRO: Yes, dug through a few things and just gave him his blanket.

KING: He wanted to be a lawyer.

R. SHAPIRO: He wanted to be a lawyer. He was the only person I ever knew, who when he saw a homeless person would stick his hand out and say, I'm Brent and ask him about himself and want to know the story of a person, and then reach into his pocket.

KING: You're in the music business, right, Grant? What do you do?

G. SHAPIRO: I'm not really in the business. I'm a freelance artist, primarily, a deejay. And I'm producing music right now, learning how to make beats.

KING: What school do you go to?

G. SHAPIRO: Musicians Institute, it's a music school.

KING: You're a deejay at parties and stuff?

G. SHAPIRO: Yes, I've had some experience.

R. SHAPIRO: He's being more than modest. He's been doing it since he was like 12 years old. And he's...

KING: I remember his bar mitzvah.

R. SHAPIRO: ...very accomplished at this.

KING: His bar mitzvah. How do you -- everyone agrees, to a person, that the toughest thing ever in life is to lose a child.

R. SHAPIRO: No one should have to know the experience.

KING: My little son, Chance, Cannon's older brother, 6 and a half, leaving your house the other night said it's wrong, no one should die who is younger than someone who is older. How do you get through it? And everyone is a different way. Like there's a lot of people who said they don't know how you could sit here.

R. SHAPIRO: For me, Larry, talking about Brent is very, very helpful. It keeps his spirit and his memory alive. Working on this foundation for drug awareness, to try really to make a significant change, not a dent, a significant change in this epidemic, keeps me going. And then, you know, I have Grant. I have Lanelle. We have a family. My parents are...

KING: Your parents are -- your father's how old?

R. SHAPIRO: Ninety-two, my mother's 90. We got to keep it together.

KING: Chico, California for Robert Shapiro and Grant Shapiro, hello. CALLER: Hi. My condolences to the family. I was just wondering if, in retrospect, there were any signs that may be able to be identified to help other families that there was going to be a relapse?

KING: Good question. In retrospect, could you say I should have, would have, could have?

R. SHAPIRO: There's only one sign. And this is a message that I want everyone to hear. Somebody has to tell you. People don't relapse just on their own. In Brent's case, he thought maybe he could possibly have a drink now and then.

KING: Well, somebody had to know that then.

R. SHAPIRO: But somebody knew it.

KING: A friend, girlfriend, somebody saw him drink.

R. SHAPIRO: And somebody saw it.

KING: They should have told you.

R. SHAPIRO: They should have told us. They should have told his counselor. They should have told his sponsor in AA. But nobody wants to be a snitch.

I want to tell you something, if you're not, you're going to have a guilty conscience all your life when you go to a funeral for somebody that you knew had a problem and needed some help.

KING: So somebody knew that Brent was doing it?

R. SHAPIRO: Absolutely.

KING: Didn't do it alone in a room.

R. SHAPIRO: But when you say doing it, having a drink. You know, he said, you know, I'm a drug addict, I'll never use drugs again the rest of my life. Maybe I can have a drink now and then. Maybe I can have a glass of wine. Anybody who knew anything about that would know immediately...

KING: Why do you think he took the ecstasy?

R. SHAPIRO: Because he was drinking.

KING: www.foundationfordrugawareness, it's all one word, dot-com or dot-org. We'll be right back.


KING: I wanted to ask Bob, earlier -- by the way, if you joined us late -- if Brent had a living will. He did not. The decision was made by the parents. But in view of that, Bob has offered through his company, -- that's one word -- to offer to anybody a free living will. All you have to do is go to, punch it up. You'll see on the bottom where, you know, it's a production notice. Just type in the word "Brent," your name or whatever, and you will get a free living will. And that's through Sunday night. So that's through the rest of this weekend. The foundation is and dot-com. We believe this is so important, we repeat it a lot. The address is the Brent Shapiro Foundation for Drug Awareness, 10250 Constellation Boulevard, 19th floor, Los Angeles, 90067.

And we go to Los Angeles. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Bob Shapiro, Brent's story has just grabbed my heart. I'm an advocate for my nephew, who has an identical story to Brent's. And as we speak, he's in long-term care, and I don't know if we can save him.

My question to you is this -- do you know if Brent was bipolar, or had some kind of a chemical imbalance? And number two, while he was in recovery, rehabilitation, did he believe in a higher spirit?

R. SHAPIRO: He was tested and evaluated numerous times for bipolar disease. Fortunately, he did not have bipolar disease. I think certainly he had a chemical imbalance. And I think that's what a drug disease is, is having a chemical imbalance. And...

KING: Did he have a belief in God? Was he...

R. SHAPIRO: You know, when he -- he was not a seriously religious person. He participated in the Jewish tradition.

KING: He went to the Stephen Weiss school, right?

R. SHAPIRO: He went to a Stephen Weiss school. He went to a Jewish school. He studied Hebrew. And he did have a spirit of someone above. He certainly had that when he was through AA. When you get to a point like this, however, for parents, that spirit is very difficult to keep alive.

KING: Have you questioned your belief?


KING: Philadelphia. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hello, Mr. Shapiro.

R. SHAPIRO: Hello.

CALLER: Do you have any idea who may have given your son the ecstasy, or the police or anybody, and do you intend to prosecute the person, like Carroll O'Connor did with his son? I'm dying to find out.

KING: Yeah, Carroll O'Connor did.

R. SHAPIRO: The sheriff of Los Angeles called me personally immediately about this issue. Also, members of the Los Angeles Police Department, who have jurisdiction. It took place in Hollywood. I've called about it. And I do not know whether or not they are going to conduct a further investigation.

KING: You've given the name of the person?

R. SHAPIRO: We don't know who gave him the drug.

KING: But someone at the party does, though, right?

R. SHAPIRO: Well, I don't know firsthand, and I think it probably would be something very difficult to prove.

KING: Is it a crime to give someone a drug?

R. SHAPIRO: Of course it is.

KING: It's a crime, just to give it to him. Not to sell it to him...

R. SHAPIRO: Yes, yes. It's the same. The statutes in California are very clear, that furnishing is the crime. So whether you sell, give away or make available, it's the same crime.

KING: Would you prosecute it?

R. SHAPIRO: You know, that's a decision that is up to the prosecutorial authorities...

KING: It's not up to you.

R. SHAPIRO: Not up to the individuals, no. But I certainly would be in favor of it if asked.

KING: We'll be right back. Don't go away, with Bob Shapiro and Grant.


KING: Some people called about the fiancee. Was she at the party?


KING: Does she know who might have given him the drug?

R. SHAPIRO: I would imagine she would.

KING: But that's up to the police to question her?

R. SHAPIRO: Yes, it is.

KING: San Francisco, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Mr. Shapiro. I extend my condolences to you and your family for loss of one of your beautiful sons. I grew up in an alcoholic household. And I'm married to a recovery addict. How important do you think it is to explore your own relationship to addiction, and to your own recovery?

R. SHAPIRO: I think that's essential. And I think that's one of the things we're going to be looking at really with the foundation, is specific things like you're bringing up. You know, when you have the most successful program in the world, having a 12 percent success rate, when you know that people who go into rehab for 28 days, the likelihood is they will relapse on the 29th day.

We have to do something different. We know that it is not something that is going to be easy. And we know very clearly that it is not something that is a weakness. It would be no different, Larry, than if you had a cast on your leg and I said, go up and run 100 yards. You'd look at me like you were crazy.

KING: So these figures about recovery centers are not true?

R. SHAPIRO: Based on my own experience and what I've seen, every time we went to a meeting at the recovery center, it was rare that the person was there for the first time.

KING: That's your experience too, Grant, with your brother?

G. SHAPIRO: I believe that could be true, yes.

KING: It must have bothered you, must have said to your brother, Brent, why do you go back when you know the damage it does?

G. SHAPIRO: It definitely bothered me, but I knew it was something that he had to battle with and it wasn't easy. So I understood and I didn't resent him for it, you know, I just knew that I would give him my full support. And obviously, you know, it was discouraging. I wasn't happy about it. But I knew it was a battle.

KING: Your father's enlisted in this fight. What do you with your missing?

G. SHAPIRO: I just, you know, I have the support of great friends and a wonderful girlfriend. And I just try to stay busy and be productive. And it's always going to be a tragedy and I'll never really be the same. But, I'm just, you know, got to carry on with my life the best that I can.

KING: Huntington, West Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: My heart and prayers go out to the Shapiro family.

R. SHAPIRO: Thank you.

CALLER: I lived through that with my son. I lost him when he was 38 years old. And what kind of friend would stand by and give an addict a pill of any kind or a drink?

KING: What kind of friend would do that?

R. SHAPIRO: I don't think a friend gave him the ecstasy, as far as the drinks, that had to be around friends. And I know that. And it's...

KING: Who would have given him...

R. SHAPIRO: It's very, very troubling. You know, people that are using drugs feel that it's the proper thing to do to share drugs. And it's obviously the most ridiculous thing that you could possibly do.

KING: Is this a campaign like for the rest of your life?

R. SHAPIRO: Yes, yes, a declaration.

KING: We'll take a break and we'll be back with a few minutes more. www.foundationfordrugawareness. Anything you can send, you're going to help a great cause, .org, .com. And again that offer at, write Brent on the bottom, it's good through Sunday for a free living will.

We'll be right back.


KING: During the break, good question, who took the other half of the pill?

R. SHAPIRO: You know, from what I've been told, Larry, people don't take ecstasy alone. And...

KING: That was his normal pill, right?

R. SHAPIRO: No, he...

KING: Was he into cocaine?

R. SHAPIRO: When he was using drugs, he started heavily with alcohol, started using cocaine, went to prescription pills, Vicodin, the pain killers and then went to OxyContin, which is synthetic heroin, and right before we sent him to Virginia for an eight-month recovery program, he had smoked heroin two or three times.

KING: How did he get the prescription for OxyContin?

R. SHAPIRO: You go to a doctor that you don't know and you tell him you have a herniated disk and you have a back problem and you go to five other doctors and you've got 150 pills in one day.

KING: Bloomington, Illinois. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Mr. Shapiro. I'm so sorry for your loss. R. SHAPIRO: Thank you so much.

CALLER: And I just want to say I so appreciate what you are doing. I have to tell you I was so touched when I turned on the TV, I lost my sister. First of all, I want to say that this disease affects people of all ages. I lost my sister three weeks ago, who just had her 50th birthday. And her husband died ten days after her. And they...

KING: We're running out of time, ma'am. We're going to do a lot more on this and I'll have to ask you to call back because we are almost out of time. Robert and Grant, I thank you very much, I know how hard this must have been and I salute you for what you're doing.

R. SHAPIRO: Thanks for giving us this opportunity and we're going to save some lives Larry, I promise you.

G. SHAPIRO: Thanks for having us, Larry, we will.

KING: A great legacy for Brent.

R. SHAPIRO: Yes, it will be.

KING: Hard to do, man.

R. SHAPIRO: We're going to do it though. or .org and on the promotional code on the bottom on through the weekend write Brent and you'll get a free living will courtesy of Bob Shapiro in memory of his late son.

If you didn't get any of the addresses to the like, you contact us and we'll let you know where you can help. "NEWSNIGHT" is next, I think, let's see Anderson has moved onto Florida and Aaron remains safe in New York -- Aaron.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: I do, thank you, Larry.


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