American Media Report: White House Takes Credit for Linking Vulnerable Americans More Effectively to Established Treatment Programs for Life-Threatening Substance Use Problems

Reports Omit that the Sham “Treatments” are Established by Longstanding Evidence as Lethal, Criminal Scams

by Clark Miller

March 6, 2020

Press release material from the White House and Administration announcements were swallowed whole and conveyed to the public as if constituting information related to public health, substance use epidemics, and treatment for substance use problems.

From the ABC News report:

The White House unveiled on Wednesday Findtreatment.gov, a website aimed at helping Americans locate substance abuse treatment more easily.
The site includes customizable search options to empower users with greater access to providers and an easier way of selecting the right treatment from about 13,000 state-licensed facilities.

No reports from corporate media (or other sources) included and provided to an American public increasingly trapped, harmed and dying in worsening substance use epidemics the longstanding evidence establishing that the “right treatment from about 13,000 state-licensed facilities” – that is, traditional “treatment”, or treatment as usual (TAU) – in fact comprises an enormously expensive entitlement system funded largely with public healthcare money, that does not provide treatment, instead keeps vulnerable Americans at continuing risk of harm and death.

Rather, the American Media-Medical-Institutional collaboration functioned predictably and exactly as in its creation of the lethal opioid crisis and its protection of lucrative, sham, lethal “treatments” for the crisis it created.

"What we simply need is a nice bulldozer, so that we could level the entire industry and start from scratch . . . There’s no such thing as an evidence-based rehab. That’s because no matter what you do, the whole concept of rehab is flawed and unsupported by evidence."

- Dr. Mark Willenbring, former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

The American Media reports on new, more effective searches and links for Americans to the “right treatment” in those “13,000 state-licensed facilities” omitted information about those treatments and how they continue to be sold to a trusting, vulnerable public.

The reports omitted that

Decades of research on treatment approaches along with understanding of human biology and psychology combine to invalidate the core components of “addiction treatment” in the U.S – medical (disease) model, 12-Step religious subculture, group treatment, and professionals unqualified to practice – explaining a failed treatment system and worsening national substance use epidemic.

The reports omitted that

Critiques and condemnations of these systems and the inadequacy of care provided are longstanding and commonplace: take-downs of a failed addiction treatment industry that is at best ineffective or harmful that have come in a steady stream for years, for example: here, here, here, and here, here, on websites, in books, in feature major media reports, in this ABC news special aired 15 years ago.

The reports omitted that

Community mental health and addictions outpatient treatment programs utilize the same elements that are found in “rehab”, or traditional residential treatment, all predicting at best no benefit, or harm:

 

Disease model

 

12-Step, Alcoholics Anonymous orientation

 

Group modality versus individual therapy

 

Treatment provided generally by “addiction professionals” unqualified to treat behavioral health conditions – with as little as two years of training – for example Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC), and Chemical Dependency Professionals, (CDP)

The reports omitted the expert critiques and damning exposé provided by this remarkable and buried piece of journalism –

“The Business of Recovery” documents and accurately portrays Treatment as Usual (TAU) provided Americans trapped in substance use epidemics as a criminal scam with oversight provided by medical model and governmental health regulators, no peer-reviewed evidence to support benefit, and normalized in popular culture by the sheen of decency and legitimacy awarded criminal organizations like Hazleton and the Betty Ford Center. Take a look at the trailer:

The reports omitted that

A runaway national substance use problem is not just worsening, but is a recognized crisis and epidemic that:

The reports omitted that

It’s not just the lack of gains and worsening public health epidemic despite decades and $billions in public resources hijacked by the medical model that establishes it as fiction –

but all relevant lines of evidence and research, including longstanding epidemiological studies, logic, and the nature and course of relapse (explained here with links to primary research and other sources) dismantle and invalidate the disease or “hijacked brain” model of substance use, as being a type of medical condition at all.

The reports omitted that

Belief in the invalidated fiction of substance use as a medical condition, a disease – a belief instilled in Americans essentially universally by a compromised, complaint media and every time established treatment is provided including in those “13,000 state-licensed facilities” – is a key predictor of relapse, in fact the act of a medical visit or receiving medical advice for a substance use problem predicts harm, predicts increased risk of the problem continuing.

And the reports omitted that

In a relationship and combination that can only be described as bizarre, the medical industry’s fictional “brain disease” model – driving treatment and use of public healthcare funds for decades – has been coupled almost universally in “treatment” programs with a dominant “treatment model” that relies on the 50-year-old, very odd prescriptions and practice of a religious subculture, those practices invalidated by decades of research.

For a “disease of the brain”.

The two systems – medical and 12-Step religious subculture – are fundamentally natural allies, partners, supporting each other and providing, in effect, referrals, and each providing demonstrably false hope for Americans trapped in lethal substance use epidemics: one the false hope of a magical Higher Power and odd religious prescriptions providing benefit for a lethal behavioral disorder, the other the falsified and false hope of magic potions as treatment for a behavioral, psychosocial condition.

In precisely the same ways that abdication of critical thought, professional responsibility to do no harm, and of evidential and ethical reasoning led to creation by the medical industry of the predictable, avoidable, and lethal Opioid Crisis, TAU for problem substance use in the U.S. has been driven by fabricated “knowledge” and evidence-free medical understanding that predicts failed treatment outcomes and harm.

And driven by the cooperation of a compromised, impotent American watchdog press along for the ride.

This assault against public health remains a tragic, criminal scam that exists partly as a way to perpetuate a massive entitlement system providing employment to individuals who are not qualified to provide validated treatment for substance use problems, but are often or generally aligned with and able and willing to recite and convey the empty and countertherapeutic  (= predicting harm) platitudes of the religious programming of AA and The 12 Steps and to encourage or compel participation by patients in the religious subculture meetings. Individuals, that is, who are willing to practice unethically in ways that predict harm.

 

They became integrated in a substance use treatment industry historically infused with the culture, values, and managers and staff aligned with and involved in 12-Step religious culture, and were awarded positions largely by virtue of their allegiance to that subculture.

With 12-Step religious subculture constructed as a type of “treatment”, the lucrative, criminal, for-profit treatment industry can pay next-to-nothing for staff salaries, to individuals entirely unqualified to treat the complex, life-threatening conditions, generally in group treatment settings boosting billable services per staff member, and with no predicted benefit for clients, instead predicted perpetuation of problem substance use and epidemics.

Those 13,000 state-licensed facilities providing “the right treatment” are literally functioning as an expensive entitlement program supporting individuals without the training or background to treat complex, life-threatening behavioral health conditions, instead securing careers in “addiction treatment” thanks to control of those programs from their infiltration by a religious subculture and medical industry displacing evidence-based therapies with their useful lies, myths, and countertherapeutic prescriptions and practices.

While more and more Americans die in worsening substance use epidemics.

And public healthcare funds help pay for the sham “treatments”.

And America’s watchdog press brands and normalizes the criminal scam as “treatment”.

Most fundamentally, established addiction treatment fails and will continue to fail because

There is No Such Thing as “Addiction”

As explained here in a related post, there is no such thing as “addiction” – no medical condition, no psychiatric disorder, no condition at all – because compulsive substance use is a behavioral symptom of something else, of underlying distress, unmet needs, and distorted, self-defeating beliefs, those complex sets of inner drivers as unique, numerous and variable as there are individuals, with their individual histories, circumstances and stressors, who struggle with problem substance use. That requires – demands – for effective treatment the comprehensive and thorough assessment and clinical formulation of each individual’s history, environment, social world, and inner life.

Effective treatment follows that assessment with evidence-based behavioral and psychological therapies provided by qualified behavioral health professionals. That picture of problem substance use and its treatment is fully aligned with what informs us from the extensive bodies of research related to trauma, especially adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and associated developmental neurobiology.

We know that compulsive substance use is a symptom of underlying distress as surely and as confidently as we know that patients exhibiting pain behaviors (for example wincing, grimacing, shifting positions, expressing pleas for relief, restricting movements and activities, etc.) and who explain to us that those behaviors are compulsive and represent their reflexive reactions to the inner experience of perceived pain – truly are experiencing pain and compulsively engaging in the symptomatic behaviors related to that experience, behaviors that seem or are believed to somehow moderate or protect from the pain experience.

We have no more reason to doubt the reliable, consistent reports of problem substance users about the drivers and underlying sources of their compulsive behaviors than we do individuals experiencing chronic pain. We have no need or evidence to concoct unsupported theories about diseased brains, or learning, or genetic causes, to explain the symptomatic pain behaviors – we have no reason to doubt the reliable reports of patients experiencing pain and can relate to their reports through personal experience. The same is true for patients describing compulsive substance use.

That’s how we know, and the reliable reports of patients compelled to engage in problem substance use are enough to dismantle essentially everything we have been messaged, hijacked, to believe, falsely, about “addiction”, “hijacked brains”, “addiction medicine”, “addiction treatment” and related lethal fabrications.