The Danger of The “Patient” Role In Addiction

Norman_Rockwell_Before_the_Shot_A_Study_for_the_Doctors_Office

The roles of patient and doctor are well defined to say the least. The doctor has a wall full of degrees and diplomas which establish him as the all knowing expert. He has thousands of hours in training and experience in applying the forces of pharmaceuticals and surgeries to combat disease. Perhaps he’s even done a round of volunteer work curing the poor helpless souls in some faraway land of their ills. And there you stand, the helpless patient. You can’t choose to stop having strep throat, … [Read more...]

Fake Success Rates: Retention and Completion

NIDA Relapse Rates

There are a lot of issues involved with determining success rates for the various programs designed to help people with substance use problems. But how is success measured, that is, what constitutes success? Is it the reduction of substance use itself? Is it abstinence? Or is it the reduction of substance use related problems (less arrests, and/or better functioning in work and social situations)? Everyone seems to have different criteria for this. I think the most absurd criteria for … [Read more...]

National Conference on Addiction Disorders

The NAADAC, the association for addiction professionals, just wrapped up its first annual National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD).  The conference took place in Washington DC from Sept 8-11th, included 800 attendees, nearly one hundred exhibitors, and included a full schedule of seminars.  So what's the news to come out of this event?  Nothing.  I googled the conference and there are no news stories on it.  There is one press release about some new partnership with Hazelden, but no … [Read more...]

Does Teen Drug Rehab Cure Addiction or Create It?

Time magazine actually published an insightful article on the plight of teens in rehab, back in July.  They're saying something I've been personally telling people for years: if you send your kid to rehab after catching him experimenting with drugs, you'll turn him into a full fledged substance abuser.  Here are some excerpts from the article: "I've known kids who have gone into inpatient treatment and met other users. After treatment, they meet up with them and explore new drugs and become … [Read more...]

Why Bash Other Programs and Methods?

A reader recently challenged my practice of criticizing the ideas and methods of the recovery culture, saying: I applaud your efforts to spread your message and try to help others that find themselves in the same situation you were in. All commendable. What I find disturbing is that you find it necessary to do so by denigrating other methods to prop up your theories and methods. If you truly thought your method was so effective, you wouldn't find this necessary. I find that last … [Read more...]