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 more seriously involved in drug use,” says Tom Dishion, director of research at the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon, who has documented such peer influence in scientific studies.
In addition, researchers find, the harm of many teen drug-treatment programs may come not only from the negative influence of new relationships but also from the degradation of positive bonds with family. In a 2003 paper, Jose Szapocznik, chair of the epidemiology and public-health department at the University of Miami, found that teens who used marijuana but still had healthy relationships with their families saw those relationships deteriorate — and their drug habits increase — when they were assigned to peer-therapy groups. Among these teens, who were in treatment for a minimum of four weeks, 17% reduced their marijuana habit, but 50% ended up smoking more. “In group, the risk of getting worse was much greater than the opportunity for getting better,” Szapocznik says, adding that in contrast, 57% of teens who were assigned to family therapy showed a significant decrease in drug use, while 19% used more.
I can’t believe I missed this when it came out, I was surprised when I read it, but I wasn’t surprised that the author was Maia Szalavitz, the author of Help At Any Cost. She’s a great addiction writer, and seems to take a sensible approach where others only bread alarmism and furtherance of myths.
Read the full Time article here: