The treatment industry needs to clean house

There are a lot of industries related to prohibition that are full of corruption and that put self-interest above value to society.

One that is not discussed sufficiently is the treatment industry.

We all recognize that there are people who need help — those who cannot deal with the vicissitudes of life by themselves — and for that reason we recognize that treatment is a potentially valuable service to both individuals and society. We also understand that many who enter this field do so out of a legitimate and unselfish desire to help people, and that they believe the work they are doing has that capability.

However, it’s time for the larger community to understand and address the fact that as a field, the treatment industry is rife with corruption. There are huge profits to be made that depend not on helping people, but rather on insuring that a large number of “customers” go through their system.

I have noted here in the past that there are literally thousands of treatment centers regularly fighting to improve their google ratings, many of them begging to pay me to place text ads on my site, all to take advantage of the easy paycheck from criminal justice referrals for “treatment.”

And, of course, regulars here already know that whenever they hear someone in the news defending prohibition, the odds are about 9-1 that they have a connection to the treatment industry. Oh, sure, not all are merely corrupt — some may actually have deluded themselves that grabbing the easy money that comes from prohibition is somehow OK because it allows them to also help the people who need it, but that’s a copout.

A friend who spent some time in the criminal justice system for possessing enough cannabis to sell recently came forward to tell me about his experience with treatment.

“As part of my conditions of probation I was asked to enter a drug treatment program for treatment of my dependence on cannabis.

I was recommended a treatment center by the court system, which I went to. The guy who owned the treatment center sat down and did my intake appointment. We ended up getting pretty friendly and he came out of left field with the following: “If you can help me out I can help you out.” What ended up happening was I paid the guy $200 for his pocket, $200 for the classes, and he signed a paper saying that I had completed 20 hours of drug treatment.

I did it. Of course. I smoke pot, but I’m not dependent on substances, and I was happy to not have to sit through a bullshit class about drug dependency and DUI’s. But as time has gone on and I see how our criminal justice system works, it truly saddens me and I had to speak up about it. Truly makes me sick.”

Cannabis treatment is one of the biggest scams in the industry. A dramatically high percentage of those entering treatment for cannabis are there because of criminal justice referral. And even those who self-refer are often doing so because it’ll look better to a judge.

When the government’s own figures show that 38% of those entering treatment for cannabis haven’t even used it in the past 30 days, that’s got to raise questions.

Now I’m not in any way denying the existence of the category of cannabis dependency, but there’s a wide range of degrees of dependency, lots of options besides treatment for mild dependency (where cannabis clearly falls), and clear evidence that huge numbers are entering treatment solely because of the criminal justice system and not because of a need for treatment.

Despite this fact, I’ve never found an instance of someone being denied treatment because they were determined to not need it. And yet, isn’t treating someone who doesn’t need it unethical? (I’d be happy to hear from treatment centers that actually only accept those who need help, rather than all those for whom there is money to collect.)

And we’re not even getting into the problems with treatment regimes in the United States for those who do have problems. There’s a lot of evidence that cold-turkey, high-stress programs are much less effective than those based on harm reduction, and yet we rarely have that discussion on a national basis.

Unless the legitimate players in the treatment industry step forward and condemn the abuses and call for reevaluation of their own business, there’s little reason for us to accept anything they have to say.

They can no longer depend on an ignorant public simply believing them. That day is coming to a close. It’s time to clean house, or eventually be relegated to the category of quacks like historic barbers who bled their patients.

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42 Responses to The treatment industry needs to clean house

  1. Nunavut Tripper says:

    I have an old buddy of mine who recently married a woman who is the General manager of a local drug rehab clinic.
    She is totally biased and misinformed about cannabis and truly believes the standard reefer madness dogma to the point that she’s not comfortable around myself and my wife
    because we are encouraging him to get addicted to weed.
    Meanwhile my buddy is a very responsible guy and I doubt he smokes more than 2 grams a month.
    It has driven a wedge between us and I still hang out with my friend but his wife has a dark cloud hanging over her head so we avoid her because of her little rants and icy stares.
    I told her once that she should hire me because I know far more about cannabis than her and her counselors.
    She replied ” What would you say to a teenager who is ruining his life smoking pot?”
    I said I’d tell him to smarten up and get a vaporizer.

    LOL That was the wrong answer.

    I wish he’d dump her…she’s not even good looking.

    • primus says:

      There is no problem here, he has chosen an authority figure to marry, obviously he feels he needs someone to tell him how to live his life. If he is that weak, do you really need him in your life? He has made a choice, to have her in his life. Her being in his life means that you are not. His choice, his consequences. He loses you and ends up with her. Karma.

      • Nunavut Tripper says:

        Yes I agree Primus and I think he knows that she is being unreasonable.
        Myself and my old friend were tokers during the 70’s but he lost interest in cannabis till about 6 years ago when he told me he was popping Iboprufen regularly for arthritis pain. I told him to research dangers and side effects of that drug and he was turned off so I suggested he try cannabis again after a long hiatus.
        He was used to the Mexican Compresso of the 70’s and when he got to try powerful modern strains he was impressed and now he tokes when he has a flareup and only pops the occasional Iboprufen when absolutely neccessary so it is my fault that he dumped the ” safe and goverment improved ” pharma pills and switched over to “gateway ” marywanna.
        He agrees with me but doesn’t have the balls to tell her where to get off.
        Myself, I don’t really give a shit what she thinks ..I’m too old to cower in the closet anymore.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I have been searching high and low for more than a decade but have yet to find anyone who thinks that their life was “ruined” by cannabis. I repeatedly ask the prohibitionists to point me in the direction where they think such people exist but the answer is always the same: [crickets]

      Well one guy did tell me that choosing to enjoy cannabis from age 12 until age 18 “ruined” his brother’s life because it caused him to suffer a fatal overdose of heroin at age 39. Go figure that one out because it’s beyond my ken. If you do figure it out please take the time to explain it to me. At this point it appears to be the “gateway theory” run amuck.

      • Nunavut Tripper says:

        Yes I can’t think of anyone who has been ruined by toking.
        I do know lots who have gotten bored and just lost interest. Addictive my ass.

        I occasional get tired of it and lay off for a few days….a tolerance break is good and part of the experience.
        If I must travel somewhere I have to go to airports or through customs I leave the weed at home for a few days.
        Is that what they call an addiction?
        A cigarette smoker would never do that.

    • Malc says:

      He probably enjoys being punished. Ask him.

    • Tim says:

      I won’t date a woman is an anti-pot bigot. But hey, to each their own…

  2. curmudgeon says:

    The treatment industry can’t help it, it’s addicted to our money.

  3. NorCalNative says:

    One of the reasons I enjoy reading Pete’s posts is that without fail, the intent is always to push America towards becoming a more democratic nation.

  4. Servetus says:

    The drug treatment industry has received a free ride for too long. It’s time they, too, were oppressed by government regulations.

    Drug treatment needs to be viewed as part of the drug war, rather than treating it as some altruistic or humane alternative to incarceration. The drug war makes involuntary drug treatment centers look more like communist Vietnamese re-education camps than medical facilities. Within the international rules of war, a typical PODW (Prisoner Of Drug War) would necessarily have rights under the Geneva Conventions that outlaw torture and other human rights abuses.

    There appears to be no NGO whose primary job involves inspecting drug treatment centers. This is pure discrimination. Even factory workers are entitled to state and federal OSHA inspections to enhance worker safety. Standards in a reputed health industry need to be set and observed. Because it’s a war, Red Cross inspections of PODWs and their hosting facilities would be warranted, whether located in the U.S. or elsewhere. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch could get involved. Independent inspectors can quickly determine who belongs in drug treatment, and who doesn’t, based on drugs of choice and other factors. Human rights is the first priority in a harm reduction society.

    • Viggo Piggsko Flatmark says:

      I remember reading an appalling report about drug treatment in Asia last year.

      “Hundreds of thousands of people identified as drug users in China and across Southeast Asia are held without due process in centers where they may be subjected to torture, and physical and sexual violence in the name of “treatment,” Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today.”

  5. claygooding says:

    I am ready for them and the drug screen industry to follow the bleeding barbers into bad history.

  6. allan says:

    and let us not forget that the Prohibs (Semblers, etc) tortured children – the Seed, Straight Inc, etc. And it needs to be exposed to the public broadly that these sado-moralist child abusers are still operating similar programs here and there. And that these people are the ones pushing Prohibition. And that these are the pushers that need to be gotten off the street first.

  7. DdC says:

    Good one Pete, very necessary discussion. Thumb up 10

  8. As long as the help industry is tied to the justice department, coercion and money take the front seat, help is in the rear. Agreeing to be cured in return for a lighter sentence is just plain unethical. How can any honest help occur? The help they are buying with their participation is freedom from punishment by the justice system, not freedom from a drug problem. The problem is prohibition. The cure is legalizing and regulating drugs, not turning the USA into a real live version of a Clockwork Orange.

  9. Freeman says:

    Cannabis treatment is one of the biggest scams in the industry. A dramatically high percentage of those entering treatment for cannabis are there because of criminal justice referral. And even those who self-refer are often doing so because it’ll look better to a judge.

    Yes indeed. If I may expand a bit:

    Any competent lawyer representing a client accused of a drug crime will recommend voluntary rehab before going to court or negotiating a plea deal. Obviously, it’s beneficial to your bargaining position.

    Most workplace drug-testing programs have provisions for keeping your job after a confirmed positive test, contingent upon voluntarily entering and successfully completing a drug treatment program.

    That’s two huge reasons right there why so many who don’t need it would “voluntarily” enter rehab. So whenever I hear “Cannabis now follows only alcohol as the primary drug of abuse reported by people voluntarily entering drug treatment” with the “voluntarily” emphasized and no mention whatsoever of these important factors driving the bulk of it, I know someone’s trying to deceive.

    Prohibitches (yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and jump into the ad hominem pool too — the water looks too good — thanks Thelbert!) like to bitch about “so many who don’t need it” getting “Kush Doctor” recommendations in mmj states and are quick to call that a scam, but I’ve never heard a single one of them mention anything about equally obvious “voluntary rehab” scams, which go far beyond simply treating people who don’t need treatment.

    Anyway, I don’t know why so many people would think they need rehab for addictions. Who needs it? I used to be addicted to hokey pokey, but

  10. Pingback: Bolt Bulletin » Blog Archive » Iran's oil industry receives lifeline from nuclear agreement

  11. darkcycle says:

    O/T but important nonetheless. This is starting to look like a pattern of sexual torture out of New Mexico Police:

    • allan says:

      Boycott New Mexico!


      • primus says:

        Boycott the entire Hew Hess Hay

        • Duncan20903 says:


          I’ve heard that there are a lot of ignorant people that think that New Mexico isn’t the U.S. but part of Mexico. Perhaps these cops think that they’re in Mexico so they’re enforcing the law Mexican style?

          Hey I know that question sounds just plain stupid but please bear in mind that we’re talking about idiot prohibitionists.

  12. Jon says:

    “Despite this fact, I’ve never found an instance of someone being denied treatment because they were determined to not need it. ”

    I agree with everything in your post, but to be fair, I’ll put my experience. I was ordered to report to substance abuse dependence evaluation. It was my first charge ever. I went down to the office (this was in Miami, in 2006), and explained sure I got caught with cocaine, and use it sometimes, along with oxycodone, but hey, it’s just for fun once in a while. Went through about 20 minutes but that was the gist of it. They determined I didn’t need treatment, and signed off on my probation requirements right then and there for only the $20 consultation fee. There are some honest places out there.

    • DdC says:

      Who’s the victim of this alleged crime? buzz times up the correct answer is YOU!

      I was ordered to report to substance abuse dependence evaluation.

      They determined I didn’t need treatment

      signed off on my probation requirements right then and there for only the $20

      A GOP White Elephant Sale. So you got a good deal on minding your own business. $20 plus I imagine the cost of the drugs, court cost and urinalysis. Lawyer? Same as Rush Lamebough while Chong did 9 mo for glass bongs. FL and Oxy. As long as you weren’t smoking pot or trying to grow hemp blue jeans. Or vote. Or being under the influence of having dark skin. While 82% of the people Support Medical Marijuana.

      As I traveled throughout FL living there in the 70’s and 80’s, when Reagan was emptying the asylums onto the streets with a script of Thorozine and a pack of smokes. Now they’re filling them with seniors and rehab victims. I ran across this place. It was pretty empty but I do believe Rick Scott, discovered it, and is trying to get it in the state Constitution as scientific fact

      Perhaps proof Floridians have been ingesting Purple ring shrooms and Sinsemilla in the 19th as well as the 20 and 21st centuries…?

      Same science as outlawing pot. Or true “addicted” citizens with life threatening physical withdrawal admitted legally or from the streets. What possible human being could suggest making it harder? Or those who follow wagging their tales behind them. There is nothing more docile than a junkie maintaining his levels, be-it legal junkies for 30, 40 years preventing seizures with barbiturates as well as wounded Vets relieving pain and memories. Parkinson meds or anything replacing normal body functioning. If jerked away will cause suffering. What kind of AMA stands by while they make it the DEA’s mission to fight drug trafficking in order to make drug abuse the most expensive, unpleasant, risky, and disreputable form of recreation a person could have, according to Donnie Marshall,, X-Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

      As you said, and I agree. I have not ever known anyone turned away from rehab. I’d add if they had insurance or could cover the Califono $4500. Most get deferred to the Koch for profit cages if they can’t. From your story I would guess you are not impoverished and statistically are skin pigment deficient. Weird how that works while 3/4th of the cages are filled with non violent drug offenders with a greater amount of skin pigments. Eurika! Incarceration makes more profits and pays more income tax than working minimum wage or unemployed. Take the single moms and Vet’s wives food stamps but tax paid $35k cages for non violent pot growers are never mentioned in the tax ditto pledges. Drugs are another tool the same as racism, classism and red haired left handed people. Wall St needs a lot of jobette labor, minimal administration and bossmen to keep them in line. The more unemployed the larger the scab labor pool. To fill positions getting a deserved living wage. Downsizing and outsourcing. Prison also benefits as legal slave labor adding to the scab pool. Right to work for less is better than not working mentalities. Lesser evils lowering standards and downgrading intelligence. Gutting pollution laws or accountability for oil spills and nuke ?. All a machine and rehabilitation is another tooth on the gears.

      Profits have replaced necessity as the Mother of Invention. Profits over people, especially those the reefer madness zealots, but well paid zealots continue to persecute in court and the media. Modern day witch hunter profiteers on crime, insured health, sounds like a guarantee for longevity. Profits selling us our own natural resources. Treating the sick for profits over prevention and cures. Shelving inventions in competition as they shelved Hemp and Ganja with the Controlled Substance Act and the Anti-American arrogant, ignorance granted to the ONDCP and its subsidiaries DEA and NIDA. The entire Ganjawar, with most statistics from pharmaceuticals lumped together in the fear factory. Maintains business interest from whiz quizzes to fossil fools, plastic, meat and dairy filling shelf space instead of hemp. TV drugs instead of Ganja. Coors and Budgeizer instead of White Widow * Malawi Gold * Alaskan Thunderfuck * BC Bud * Holland’s Hope * Kush * Northern Lights * Diesel * Haze * Jack Herer * Shaman * Skunk * Sour * Te Puke Thunder * Blueberry * Purple… Call Obama and say Remove Cannabis in all forms from the Controlled Substance Ax. Without Ganja the Drug Worrier’s Prohibition collapses. Remove the incentives to profit on misery and misery won’t be so attractive to profiteers. Give us this day our daily rant…

      Expos̩ Р80 Years of Planning
      The Kochs + The Family + Birchers = TEA PARTY Disinformation Machine

      “Koch Brothers Exposed” (Full) youtube

      Koch Drug Detention Centers

      • thelbert says:

        that was an excellent exposition, sir. blood composition and skin pigmentation is all one needs to know in order to rule the country properly and maximize production.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      That’s certainly true Jon. But my advice is to treasure the memory. I’ve had occasion to hear cops testify in a drug case and actually tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothin’ but. It left the defense attorney fish mouthing because he never anticipated such an extraordinary event. Even more astounding was that it got the evidence suppressed and the charges dismissed. (note to jack booted thugs: if you go to serve a search warrant and want to trick the people into opening the door to let you in it would be a smart move to make sure your target house actually uses natural gas before you pound on the door and screech, “Washington Gas we have a leak!” Geez, talk about embarrassing.)

      Next I need to go looking for some hen’s teeth. Can someone point me in the right direction?

  13. kaptinemo says:

    OT: this is why persistence pays off.
    Making Marijuana Legalization Part Of The Progressive Agenda

    Does anyone here think this is a fluke? I assure you, it isn’t. The pols have been taking notice of that generational shift, and know that if they want votes, the surest way to get them is an anti-prohibition stance. And here’s proof.

    A pity the ‘pwogwessives’ are only now listening to us…after we’ve been screaming in their ears about the society-wide damage caused by drug prohibition for decades. So, I have to ask: Who are the real progressives, huh?

  14. Frank W says:

    Who cares if the pols are “waking up”? They’re accountable to their corporate masters, as our current prez is. Voters be damned.

  15. Jean Valjean says:

    Good reminder:
    “4 ‘Magic’ Phrases to Use if Cops Stop You with Pot”

  16. darkcycle says:

    Well….Kevvie has noticed us….
    “Why is it that there are so few anti-legalization voices in the online drug policy debate?

    I think there are few anti-legalization voices sitting around on their computer all day making 12 aliases every minute and commenting on articles. There are a lot of voices for anti-legalization, but they’re not doing that—they make one comment, maybe. They’re doctors, physicians, and policy makers; not internet trolls.”

    • kaptinemo says:

      Pure psychological projection. Like with their perennial complaint about ‘well-funded legalizer organizations’.

      Whenever they pull that stunt, I can’t help but think of some enormously obese person (Uncle Sam in DrugWarrior duds), fat hanging off of every appendage, who points to someone who looks like a victim of anorexia (the reform movement) and says the walking skeleton needs to go on a (fiscal) diet. A gigantic DrugWar ‘elephant’ afraid of the tiny reformer ‘mouse’. It would be hilarious if they didn’t think the public at large really is so stupid as to believe it.

      They just refuse to believe that the generation they so carefully tried to propagandize (via DARE) and keep as taxpaying ‘marks’ in their prohib con-game didn’t drink their vile kool-aid after all. And now the ‘kids’ the prohibs showed such touching concern for that the prohibs lied to can vote. And they have, in WA and CO, and soon in other States around the country.

      So, now, the prohibitches have nothing left to throw into the ring but their Crazy Uncles and Aunts. The True Believers that are normally locked away in the the prohib attic, lest the public get a good look at the manias driving policy. Once those are loosed, the game is over…for them. And they’re almost at that point…

    • allan says:

      I stopped reading when Kev-kev says “if our kids get their hands on a 30% THC brownie, they’re going to go to the E.R.”

      Really? C’mon Kev… scare mongering is sooo unbecoming. But then the more a freak you look, the better we look, no?

      If you want my advice Kev, I think you should hook up w/ Mz Linda, you’d make a perfect pair. She’s single (shocking I know) and by gosh golly gee I just can’t think of any two people more meant to be together! You’d be like a hand w/ all thumbs (which is handy when voting thumbs up or thumbs down)(it would be inconvenient tho’ for nose picking).

      • B. Snow says:

        Someone Should really post links to that cop who ratted out himself and his wife after eating MJ brownies, Calling 911 & saying “i think we’re gonna die” (not an exact quote) and the 911 operator basically laughing at them…

        Or that if you take a kid who ate a brownie to the ER – for IDK = maybe a panic attack(?) -at worst- they’re going to send you & the kid to the waiting room until they deal with all the legitimate Emergencies.

        In some Uber Conservative places they might call the cops on the parent/kid, in other places they’d probably tell you take your kid home (maybe grab some fast-food on the way), and watch a movie w/ them -or whatever- until they calm down… then find out where they got the brownie tomorrow when the buzz wears off.

        Or, something like that – I can’t See an REAL ER Doc treating a “MJ Brownie Ingestion” as an real ‘health emergency’ – or at least = not in most places.

        They may be very anti-drug (in their public opinion/statements) but they’re (generally) not that ignorant about the (non)-impact of an “Uber-Brownie”.

        In a decent sized City ER (and hopefully most everywhere in the near future), the Doc is gonna see the kid got so high -he or she- had a panic-attack. And Say, “Hey nurse – where do we keep the CBD drops? Okay, well then – give this kid 3 drops under his tongue & send these people home… after you bill them for stupidity .”

        (OK, maybe not that last part but still, it’ll be something like that… maybe it’ll be 3-5 years from now in the more backward parts of the ‘fly-over’ states, I’d think that could be going on in some States already or very soon depending on just how quickly our Medical practitioners get over the whole (largely) disingenuous “MJ is bad, M’kay” crappola.)

  17. claygooding says:

    I see that the LCB in WA state has recvd applications for enough growers to plant 8 million acres of legal marijuana when they have a limit of a little over two million acres,,this means a lot of possibly experienced growers are not going to get a license,,I see no problems coming from that.

  18. Hey. Did you know this: Challenging the drug war lies

    “… Hart’s analysis is a conscious rejection of the idea, heavily promoted by Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (and, incidentally, the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky), that addiction is a brain disease.”

    I didn’t know about the family heritage.

    • B. Snow says:

      And BTW, Dr. Hart is a GREAT guy = He’s been a go-to figure for science on “addiction” and the REAL ‘effects of drugs’.
      He’s a semi-regular guest on some of the ‘Sunday Shows’ (Particularly, Up & MHP on msnbc – along with a variety of CNN spots/reports and as well, Maybe even Fox Business too, (IIRC) a couple spots on Stossel.

      Among other similar but {non-“cable news channel”} network spots, Talking not just about the racial disparities in drug offenses/sentencing. He was in Dr. Gupta’s Weed documentary – that re-aired just recently.

      HE has the piece about cannabis impairment -and- specifically the bit on how it effects driving in the “occasional or novice user” but has little effect on those who use it regularly/daily (Like many MMJ patients), with the driving instructor/cop? saying that based on her driving = he wouldn’t stop the girl who had just blazed-up – that was a great bit of the doc IMO.

      Gupta then talked about riding around in the car with the dude who had the problem with his diaphragm and something like chronic hiccups (I forget the term), Gupta then goes into the ‘Of course we don’t want people to smoke and drive’ BUT – for people who use cannabis regularly and with some moderation – its nowhere near as dangerous as Nora & Kevie would have you believe…

      However, For Joe-frat-house, who gets high ‘occasionally on weekends’ or what-have-you, this might be an actual problem.

      Experienced User = seemingly safe (mostly) – according to the testing that they’ve finally managed to do some of… (Thank you to the Docs for persisting in efforts to do the research)
      BUT, with the Inexperienced (true newbies) it could/(might) be a problem = IF they were to get up off their couch and drive shortly after smoking. Which isn’t so likely to occur newbies are prone to “couch-lock”, and typically happy to stay that way, Surprise!
      Well, okay = NOT so surprising to most folks here…

      Anywho -to reiterate- YES, Dr. Carl Hart is one of the good guys = Happy Thanksgiving to the neuroscientists who don’t buy into the bullshit, and to those that reassess the BS with an open mind from time-to-time!

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