Lorre, 59 speaking out for the first time on Sheen’s multiple meltdowns, said Sheen’s heavy drug use resulted in violence and blackouts.
“You can’t do that much cocaine and work,” he told TV Guide in an interview.
“I didn’t want to be writing a sitcom while my friend died. Or worse, hurt someone else. We couldn’t be complacent.
“There was a tragedy unfolding right in front of us. There was violence and blackouts. On a certain level, if you’re looking the other way, you’re responsible,” he said.
“It was falling apart. It was heartbreaking to be around here then.”
Sheen, 45, had two major meltdowns, including a drug fueled rant at the swanky Plaza hotel in New York. A hooker was found by police cowering nude in a locked bathroom, fearful for her life.
Sheen was fired and replaced by Ashton Kutcher, who was engulfed in his own sex scandal shortly after taking over.
Lorre said he almost quit the show during the height of Sheen’s meltdown, and also considered quitting in 2009 after the actor pulled a knife on his then wife Brooke Mueller.
“When he started attacking people with knives, that’s it. That should have been it. I should have walked, he said.
“But for some reason I thought that because she was willing to forgive him… we could emerge from this fiasco and be stronger and healthier.”