Gooden Enters Drug Center To Begin Rehabilitation

Posted: April 03, 1987

NEW YORK — Dwight Gooden, hustled by bodyguards past youngsters calling his name, yesterday entered a Manhattan clinic for treatment of a cocaine problem that will keep him away from baseball for at least a few weeks.

Gooden entered the Smithers Alcoholism and Drug Treatment Center, where the average rehabilitation period is 28 days, according to Joyce Walker, the center's community liaison.

Mets team physician James Parkes said that Gooden would undergo inpatient treatment, then outpatient counseling. He said that if Gooden was an incidental and not a heavy user, the inpatient treatment could last from seven to 14 days.

Meanwhile, in Florida, where in January Gooden pleaded no contest to charges of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest, Circuit Judge John P. Griffin, who placed Gooden on three years' probation, asked for a written report and a recommendation from probation officials.

"We are going to recommend that his probation be modified with a special condition requiring that he enter the drug rehabilitation program and then submit to periodic urinalysis through the course of his probation," said Erio Alvarez, an administrator with the state Department of Corrections.

The Mets confronted Gooden Wednesday with urinalysis results that were positive for cocaine. The 1985 National League Cy Young Award winner agreed to undergo treatment rather than be suspended from baseball by commissioner Peter V. Ueberroth.

Parkes said Gooden gave no previous sign of drug use.

"He never in any way with us behaved in an irrational way," Parkes said. ''Now I've had some characters. We see a lot of abnormal people. Dwight never behaved in an abnormal way. I think in some way he was influenced by people who took advantage of him because of who he is."

Gooden was placed on the 15-day disabled list. His attorney, Charles

Ehrlich, said that the pitcher "hopefully will be back in four to six weeks," while Mets general manager Frank Cashen said his "gut feeling" was that Gooden would miss at least two months.

Dr. Stanley Yancovitz, medical director of Stuyvesant Square, the chemical dependency program of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, said that it could be at least a month before Gooden would be ready to return to the Mets.

"A lot depends on how severe the addiction has been and what all the ramifications are," said Yancovitz, speaking about athletes in general and not specifically about Gooden. "The minimum time, the bare minimum, is a couple of weeks. If, in fact, such an individual were actually using cocaine on an occasional basis, say once a week with some friends, they could possibly return to competitive activities in a very short time, from a physical basis."

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