Rehab as a source of addiction

Powerful new article in Time by the always excellent Maia Szalavitz: Does Teen Drug Rehab Cure Addiction or Create It?

Increasingly, substance-abuse experts are finding that teen drug treatment may indeed be doing more harm than good. Many programs throw casual dabblers together with hard-core addicts and foster continuous group interaction. It tends to strengthen dysfunctional behavior by concentrating it, researchers say.

But these researchers Maia talked to, they’re probably pro-drug folks, right?

“Just putting kids in group therapy actually promotes greater drug use,” says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Oops. This is one of your hard-core prohibitionists saying that group therapy for teens “actually promotes greater drug use.”

The article points out the problems involved with putting teens in therapy (particularly for those who are not experiencing severe problems from drug abuse).

  1. Group therapy puts casual users in proximity with hard core users and gives them enticing descriptions of hard drug use
  2. Teen therapy reduces positive time with families
  3. Therapy focuses on surrendering to helplessness to addiction (12-step), and for teens that’s a negative path.

So here with a system that, instead of focusing on those with problems (harm reduction), uses incarceration and treatment to turn casual use young people (in particular) into networked drug criminals with reduced family support and damaged self-esteem.

Add to that a national anti-drug advertising program that has actually been found to increase interest in drugs, a school D.A.R.E. program that has been shown to increase the likelihood of using drugs unsafely, and a prohibition program that insures that young people will be able to purchase at any age through contact with criminals, and you have a government system that should absolutely scare the crap out of parents.

Oh, and the winners in all this?

The rehab industry.

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16 Responses to Rehab as a source of addiction

  1. Just me. says:

    “Oh, and the winners in all this?

    The rehab industry.

    Might I add…the privately owned prison system, courts , judges, lawyers,LE…

    These all ensure these teens and adults alike lose.

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  3. Toker says:

    “Might I add…the privately owned prison system, courts , judges, lawyers,LE…”

    And the drug-testing industry.

  4. permanentilt says:

    I could have told you this. I went to “drug group” in high school because we could get out of class to go. All it did was make me want to do more drugs so that I could have the crazy times that the Seniors were always talking about. Also made good drug connections, meaning I could get just about anything I wanted.

  5. Smokey the Bandit says:

    If it is real dry and you can’t score go to rehab. I would never trust a counselor who wasn’t a user just like I wouldn’t trust a therapist who wasn’t a bit crazy.

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  7. strayan says:

    This has been known in tobacco control circles for a long time. It is also the same reason the tobacco industry loves to fund anti-smoking programs in schools.

  8. Cannabis says:

    Now that we know the policy changes will come when?

  9. kaptinemo says:

    More examples of the ‘unintended consequences’ of drug prohibition…which anyone with three brain cells to click together could see coming a mile off.

    Just as prisons have become academies for criminality, rehabs have become ‘breeder reactors’ for further drug use. Recall the (in)famous bit about what happened to Noelle Bush? She got her stash while in ‘rehab’ from her peers there. And obviously she isn’t the only one so ‘assisted’ , and certainly won’t be the last.

  10. Scott says:

    The NIDA also concluded that alcohol withdrawal is worse than heroin withdrawal (I apologize for not having time to find the actual quote).

    My favorite quote from them is:

    “Researchers have long recognized the stong correlation between stress and substance abuse.” (emphasis added)

    That was published in a “Stress Bulletin” back in 1995 (and is still probably available online, if people are interested in finding it).

    The reason that quote is my favorite is it offers a great hint into the real way to deal with abuse (probably beyond just substance abuse) in a free society.

    Continuously evolving stress management to reduce the unbearable suffering that comes from excessive stress, which reduces the urge to escape sobriety to escape that suffering.

    It is also worth noting that drug rehabilitation ironically increases stress.

  11. Pete says:

    As anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows, dependence is hardest to overcome during difficult or stressful times. That must be why, when the government helps drug abusers quit, they arrest them and take away their job, possessions, and children. – Guitherisms

  12. Observer says:

    As a high school kids in the late 1970s we all knew to go to the kids wearing PDAP necklaces for the good stuff.

    It didn’t take long for the off-campus dealers to realize the parents had already pre-selected the perfect in-school dealers, kids now very pissed off that their parents locked them up and shamed them in school.

    Epic fail.

  13. Servetus says:

    The reasons people go into drug rehab aren’t always obvious.

    I know an individual who joined Narcotics Anonymous (NA) simply to use it as a social networking tool. He continues to smoke cannabis daily.

    His friends have found it necessary to warn him not to be so open about smoking marijuana outside his NA group because it might blow his cover.

  14. pyramid says:

    My sister went into rehab for opiates and got kicked out 9 days later with a new cocaine habit.

  15. Just me. says:

    “As anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows, dependence is hardest to overcome during difficult or stressful times. That must be why, when the government helps drug abusers quit, they arrest them and take away their job, possessions, and children. – Guitherisms”

    Ya gotta love that. Had a friend get busted with one joint. Lost Job , drivers licence, and so on. Couldnt get another job due to arrest, couldnt pay child support due to lose of job and the life ruining prohibition goes on . He still hasnt recovered from the arrest. So what is more damaging? The joint or the arrest? Smoke the joint and two hrs later your sober. Get and arrest and your life is ruined. Good job at “HELPING” people you dumb asses prohibs.

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