culture and illness

Steve Grube grube at
Fri Dec 18 08:27:29 PST 1998

Doug Henwood wrote:

> Alec Ramsdell wrote:
> >My criticism of addiction treatment is that it is too quick to accept
> >the medical model of addiction, before other possible disabling
> >conditions.
> Most addiction treatments have pretty dismal records, don't they? The
> rabidly anti-drug Mitch Rosenthal of Phoenix House has refused to let
> anyone study their success rate, which leads one to assume it's very low.
> AA also has a high recidivism rate, no (not to mention all that "higher
> power" crap)? Does anything work?
> Doug

Regarding the question: "Does anything work?" I heard about a program the British use refered to as "harm reduction." The program says that complete abstinence is not realistic and simply ensures that a large percentage of members will encounter more failure. "Harm reduction" looks at the effects of the drug concerning job tardiness or perhaps loss of job, damaged relationships, broken laws, etc, and the program seeks to rein in the behavior to where the user still has a life (and a chance to still improve from there, also). The program spokespeople are proud of their statistics and go head-to-head with the AA people in proving the programs efficacy. (I heard about this on NPR several years ago and don't recall the statistics. . . perhaps someone else has information on the *real* success; I'm not always impressed w/NPR)

-steve grube

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