Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

EPIDEMIC AND LETHAL CURES IN PROGRESSIVE OREGON:   Epilogue – “He hated his disease”

A young man’s death by overdose – another predictable outcome of failed, sham treatment systems – serves at a conference as a distracting, soothing lie for the addiction profession that failed him

By Clark Miller 

Published December 25, 2021

for Jordan 

There is pain, and devastating loss, and pain yet to be reckoned with in America’s self-inflicted lethal mass descent into the helpless and hopeless injury and social pathology of epidemic substance use. Death and pain yet without reckoning for  failure of trusted institutions to help, to stop it, failure to do other than fuel the lethal public health crises that are created and increasingly worsened by them.

Profoundly or uncomfortably felt loss may crave a “why”, crave and need it less for learning, growth and reducing unnecessary repeated  loss than for escape to a comforting – if not true or actually helpful – story, an escape from fear of facing the actual,  intolerable Why?   

Avoiding that distress is  a dead-end, a barrier to bravely facing and changing the sources and causes of harm – as is avoiding inner distress by use of mood-altering substances, or by creating scapegoats.

gravesite

My home state of Oregon has felt its share of pain generated by substance use crises and deficits in mental health treatment. Recently, there’s been reason to feel proud and hopeful, Oregon citizens by direct democracy instituting the first-in-the-nation decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs with the intent of shifting away from ineffective criminal justice encounters and toward newly funded effective treatments for problem substance use, the successful ballot measure serving as a model of progressive policy change. 

As described in multiple posts, that intent by Oregon voters is betrayed and belied by an intractable history and continued investment in “treatment” that is established for decades as predicting harm, not wellness. To the extent that the new funds are allocated to existing programs, they will predict additional harm and worsening of lethal epidemics, just as they have for decades. 

That will be distressing. For the victims of those lethal, sham “treatment” programs and approaches and for their families, that is. Not distressing for the professional classes drawing salaries without need for competence or provision of benefit, beneficiaries of cronyism systems, of the lethal, failed “treatment” programs functioning essentially as sheltered workshops. 

The soothing, intoxicating effects of distraction, substituted for accurate understanding of sources of pain, never persist, instead predict illness and lethality. There is grim reality to face, rather than distract from, and distress to experience, if the failures and causes of continuously worsening, lethal epidemics in Oregon and beyond are to be identified and changed. Those causes are built into and key elements of traditional and ongoing “treatment” and prevention for the continuously worsening lethal epidemics: ranging from fictional, invalidated conceptualizations of “addiction” that have never been supported by evidence – to “gold standard” treatment interventions without support of effectiveness – to the dominant “treatment model” for a criminal scam treatment industry based on the 60-year-old, established as countertherapeutic, bizarre prescriptions of a religious subculture – to the lies and false promises of Big Pharma/Medical industries of medical treatments that never come, never will come because compulsive substance use is not remotely a “disease of the brain” or medical condition at all, never has been evidenced as such, that lucrative and lethal fiction invalidated by all relevant lines of evidence, longstanding evidence.

One way that Americans – including and especially the treatment industry professionals who have abdicated ethical responsibility and critical thought in ways that perpetuate sham treatments and harm – distract themselves from the distress of “treatment” failures and generated epidemics is to enlist as useful distractions individuals who have captivating or inspirational stories to tell, testimonials.

Stories, tales: of overcoming addiction, or seemingly helping others to overcome problems within current systems of care, or of how the tragic loss of a loved one due to “addiction” is all about the intractability and treatment resistance of the horrible, chronic brain disease, so untreatable that it was not overcome despite that loved one’s participation in state-of-the-art “treatment” as usual (TAU): expensive “rehab”; perpetual 12-Step meetings; the most advanced medical services and promised cures. That’s just how powerful the disease of “addiction” is. 

Those comforting stories, anecdotes, serve two powerful and critically important functions: they 1) protect – by distracting attention away from, leaving unquestioned – the objectively established harm-predicting and evidence-free status of the conceptualizations and practices of current “treatment” for problem substance use and 2) in expressing affirmation of the constructed “chronic, relapsing brain disease” fiction of problem substance use, they provide a lie to cover and rationalize away the lethal failure and culpability of continued exposure of Americans to harm-predicting TAU.

Yes, it is tragic that many more Americans will die, despite the best and latest medical treatments we provide them – it’s the very nature of their “incurable, chronic disease of the brain”.

Distracting, sedating fictions are the stories featured and intended to be reassuring, illustrative, inspiring at conferences

organized and held by Oregon’s business model, managed care organizations like Care Oregon and Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization (CCO)conferences ostensibly organized to serve as forum and resource for effective approaches to address worsening public health substance use and opioid epidemics.

Care Oregon office building in Portland

Below: Epilogue – “He hated his disease”

A young man’s death by overdose – another predictable outcome of failed, sham treatment systems – serves at a conference as a distracting, soothing lie for the addiction profession that failed him

Columbia Pacific is an organization that has:

1) dedicated public healthcare funds to New Age remedies lacking any evidence for effectiveness, for lethal substance use problems

2) failed to review related research pointing to lack of effectiveness before “training” medical clinics to provide nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) as first line treatment for the lethal condition of tobacco use

3) supported coerced religious participation for vulnerable homeless Oregonians, participation required on threat of shelter eviction of adults and their children

4) populated a regional advisory committee on clinical approaches to the lethal opioid crisis with employees, community members, others with no background or expertise in evidence-based treatment of problem substance use

5) created “model of excellence” opioid substitute (MAT) treatment programs for opioid dependence designed by medical professionals, those programs without evidence-based treatment elements and with treatment staff without background and training in treatment of substance use problems

6) banned a vetted and approved presentation on current practices and the status of evidence for effective substance use treatment from an opioid conference in immediate response to and retaliation for release of material pointing to gross malfeasance appearing to constitute Medicaid abuse by Columbia Pacific.

7) failed in additional ways to protect vulnerable Oregonians trapped in medical-model-generated lethal substance use and opioid epidemics from continuing harm and from ineffective, substandard clinical practices.

How does the Medical/Treatment Industry use these emotion-targeting success stories of triumph and recovery to distract attention from the invaliding research, and to cover the failures and harms of traditional and ongoing conceptualization and “treatment” of problem substance use?

Consider examples representing Oregon’s business- and medical-model managed care system and its use of public healthcare funds in rural coastal Oregon, a region hard-hit by the opioid crisis.

A “Helping Hand” for vulnerable Oregonians –

or a boot back to the streets if coerced religious programming is refused

Helping Hands organization runs homeless shelters in the region served by Columbia Pacific and Care Oregon CCOs, founder and Director Alan Evans motivated and guided by a personal history of homelessness and involvement in the religious subculture Alcoholics Anonymous.

Evans, Director of Helping Hands and responsible for its policies and practices, was the featured keynote speaker at Columbia Pacific’s third annual Opioid Summit presenting the inspiring personal story, “From Homeless to CEO: A Drug Addict’s Story”.

But the practices Mr. Evans is responsible for at Helping Hands, a program supported financially and promoted by Care Oregon and Columbia Pacific, are not inspiring, instead are harmful to vulnerable Oregonians, including eviction back to homelessness (with their children) from the shelter if they refuse to participate in coerced religious programming.

Services at the shelters for homeless and substance abusing individuals are described as a “Reentry Program”, but in practice, community members including homeless clients and healthcare professionals understand and refer to the shelters as comprising a “treatment program”(s) for homeless individuals with substance use problems.

The website describes activities provided homeless adults as including “Attendance at AA/NA meetings as needed”, but this description is false according to consistent direct reports of homeless clients there, of community members involved with the program, and of HH staff I have spoken with directly.

By those consistent reports, in order to remain in the program and avoid being evicted and homeless again (and to avoid return to homelessness for their children), adults must attend regular (daily or more frequent) meetings of the religious subculture AA and/or of more overtly Christian religious groups like those of Celebrate Recovery.

That practice of coerced religious programming by participation in 12-Step groups on threat of return to homelessness for the vulnerable Oregon men, women and their children in the shelters:

Is established as a violation of their constitutional rights to freedom from religious coercion

Strongly predicts harm to those individuals by triggering trauma-related symptoms and by exposure to the AA/NA religious subculture, established by evidence as increasing risk of return to problem substance use

Particularly for the homeless, substance abusing populations, with high incidence of trauma- and ACE-related (Adverse Childhood Experiences) symptoms and traits, being forced to participate in anything, let alone stressful environments, is the opposite of trauma-informed care, forcing individuals with high probability of traumatic histories into triggering settings where they are forced to hear stories of traumatic and/or disturbing histories and expected to “share” their histories. Key features of PTSD include severe anxiety, over-reaction and agitation triggered by reminders of trauma, of loss of personal control, of loss of ability to avoid reminders.

Adults sitting at an AA meeting

Some casualties of Oregon managed healthcare’s use of public funds and Helping Hands

C’s story

In my role as BH therapist in a coastal program, I began providing BH services to C. C’s history is not unusual: severe childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence; chronic PTSD; severe problem alcohol use beginning early adulthood; multiple DUII convictions; history of alcohol intoxication and domestic violence; history of failed TAU treatment episodes including at TFCC in Tillamook County, “They always put me in classes” there, not therapy, and not experienced as helpful to C.   

C was sent to Bridges to Pathways detox center, a program provided clinical oversight and programming guidance by Columbia Pacific where, per C’s reports, C was recommended, referred, and encouraged by the director of that program  to a program of faith healing, Mountain Ministries Religious Center Church in Rainier, Oregon, where C  found C would need to commit to a year-long program of religious indoctrination, with only the Christian Bible allowed as reading material, and strict rules of conduct, experienced by C as programing aimed at C being “brainwashed” and “pretty much a cult . . . I left”.

S’s story

S was an elderly resident of an Oregon north coast community evicted from an apartment, homeless since then, sleeping in a vehicle or at times using dwindling savings to stay in a motel room. S is diagnosed with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) related to misuse of prescription opioids, and with dementia, contributing to vulnerability along with homelessness, chronically disturbed sleep, social anxiety and alienation, and the memory and other cognitive deficits associated with dementia. S uses cannabis to aid with sleep, in Oregon a legally prescribed medication. S has over-utilized ED (Emergency Department) services and has struggled against cognitive deficits to reliably use prescribed medications including for hypertension. S has been the subject of clinical discussions of an interdisciplinary team to address the needs of particularly vulnerable elders in the area. The clinical director of TFCC, a community mental health agency that partners with Helping Hands, was part of the interdisciplinary meeting.

S has actively pursued stable housing since eviction, has not been successful to date gaining access to the very limited housing resources in the area. S has requested and been disallowed from using housing at Helping Hands, due to S’s use of marijuana, supported by research as effective in providing relief from chronic pain and to be associated with reduced need for use of opioid pain medication and successful taper off opioid pain medication. When I had last contact, S continued to use limited savings to persist, homeless and vulnerable in the community.

W’s Story

W accessed behavioral health (BH) services with me at a program, was diagnosed with a chronic psychotic disorder with symptoms including paranoia, confusion, social anxiety, and hallucinations. After housing with natural supports failed, W accessed a bed at HH in one of the NW Oregon counties where HH is present. Prior to disengaging from medical and BH services in the program where I practiced, W reported to me that W was increasingly anxious as triggered by forced attendance in the religious groups, consistent with complex and novel social stimuli commonly triggering agitation and anxiety for individuals with psychotic conditions like W’s. I contacted the HH case manager directly by phone, explained W’s clinical picture and needs, likely prognosis with exacerbated symptoms if W continued to be forced to attend the groups. The case manager explained that W would have to continue to attend, as part of requirements of HH programming.

W was evicted by HH and became homeless,  fears and symptoms of his disorder increasing, living in a tent in the woods, repeatedly arrested and jailed for nuisance crimes in the community, like property damage, related to W’s illness and diminished functioning. W’s functioning deteriorated, and W started to fail to appear repeatedly for medical appointments. W was accessing medical care reliably prior to eviction from HH.

Helping Hands represents another program supported by public funds with practices likely unknown to the public: coerced religious programming on threat of eviction to homelessness; intentionally attempting to positively orient residents to participation in religious subcultures like AA where addictive use of the lethal substance tobacco is socially reinforced, increasing risk of chronic pain and acting as a gateway drug for opioids and alcohol.

homeless person sleeping

D’s story

I began working with D in therapy about after D had accessed follow up Emergency Room (ER) care after acute alcohol toxicity. D had a lifelong adult history of severe problem alcohol use, with repeated TAU treatment failure and decades of involvement in the religious subculture AA, without perceived or practical benefit. When D became homeless in our region, D was offered shelter at one of the Helping Hands programs, where D eventually took on roles as helping in the facilities by working in capacities with other residents. D became overwhelmed by the responsibilities and was abusing prescription sedatives obtained online through the mail, affecting D’s concentration, mood, alertness, and balance. Per D, HH administrators noticed D’s distress and asked D about it, then continued to require D’s assigned duties. D fell and was injured while under the influence of the illicit prescription sedatives, requiring an ER visit and revealing the drug abuse, HH administrators becoming aware. Instead of facilitating and referring D to legitimate treatment for substance use, HH administrators kept D working in a HH facility, with forced programming consisting of required daily meetings of the AA religious subculture, an activity that had not benefitted D over decades of severe alcohol use, by D’s accounts. D had to commute daily to attend the required religious programming. Within weeks, D ended up in the ER with acute alcohol intoxication.

When I last worked in therapy with D, D no longer was attending the religious subculture meetings, instead was provided evidence-based practice (EBP) therapies for chronic PTSD and other conditions by me, was at that time without problem alcohol use since beginning EBP treatment about 8 months before we separated.

B’s Story

B accessed therapy with me at  a behavioral health program in the region while a resident with two children at a Helping Hands shelter in a coastal county, B with histories of adult victim of domestic violence and chronic PTSD. B presented with significantly exacerbated anxiety, overwhelmed, including by the high needs of the children for social and mental health services. Stressors included: a child  with history of multiple mental health diagnoses  at risk of losing school specialized (IEP) status and support, with a nearing deadline for providing supporting documentation; worsened sleep with regular nightmares; fears of being evicted from HH and being homeless again; another younger child with history of likely abuse, struggling at school and with emotional dysregulation, “crying, puking”.

On top of those stressors and demands on B’s time, B was required to daily attend two different types of religious meetings that “stress me out” or be evicted from Helping Hands . 

In a therapy visit, B reported frustration, explaining a recent arrest for a minor crime and short jail stay, the 2 children placed in state custody.  B had never committed that misdemeanor crime before, and it was an impulsive act per B, B’s mental state agitated at the time, angry, with intrusive thoughts of the type overwhelming B as reported in a prior visit, about a month ago, “angry . . . going through everything in my head”:

“I’m tired of everything piling up”

“I’m not used to doing all this . . . piled on with chores”

B felt overwhelmed with keeping up with appointments for B and B’s children, requirements from DHS in order to continue to receive TANF, on top of that, demands from “the Shelter” (Helping Hands homeless Shelter) to complete work (“chores”) sometimes morning and night and participate daily in meetings of a religious subculture, on top of that 10 hours of volunteer work weekly.

B explained that B thought it was reasonable to be required by DHS to look for work and to provide 18 hours of volunteer work each week in order to continue with TANF. What overwhelmed B were the extra requirements from “The Shelter” (HH): an additional 10 hours of volunteer work per week; multiple hours of “chores” at the Shelter, mornings and/or nights; and daily meetings of the religious subculture AA or similar religious programming.

B affirmed earlier, reliable reports that B had never struggled with or been treated for a substance use disorder, so the required attendance at the AA meetings, ostensibly related to substance use, seemed arbitrary and counterproductive. B affirmed that being in the AA group meetings, where participants are expected to talk about chaotic and distressing events in their lives, exacerbated B’s anxiety. Those demands have stressed and overwhelmed B, in the context of a history of violence and chronic symptoms of PTSD.

Toward the end of the last  session we were able to have B reported, “I have to admit it was a relief in a way to go to jail”, to get away from all of the demands that were overwhelming B. B added, “I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but my parenting skills are not great”. B was not offered help with parenting skills through Helping Hands.  

When I last had contact with B, because of the minor, non-violent and nonpersonal  charge, B and B’s children were being evicted from Helping Hands, “I have to find a different Shelter . . . they kicked me out due to the [charge]”.

Helping Hands is a program supported by public healthcare funds

with practices likely unknown to the public and unlikely to have been described at Columbia Pacific’s Opioid Conference by shelter director Alan Evans in his inspirational personal testimonial – “From Homeless to CEO: A Drug Addict’s Story”

Coerced religious programming on threat of eviction of vulnerable Oregonians to homelessness

Violation of the constitutional rights of vulnerable Oregonians

Positively orienting residents to participation in religious subcultures like AA where addictive use of the lethal substance tobacco is socially reinforced, increasing risk of chronic pain and acting as a gateway drug for opioids and alcohol

cigarette butts

An essentially overlooked social and public health pathology and cost

of AA and 12-Step religious subculture are the messages to acolytes attending meetings that normalize, enable, and reward continuing problem substance use, “addiction”, of arguably the most addictive and lethal substance sapping public health funds – tobacco.

Exposure to meetings of those religious subcultures places vulnerable individuals in settings where continued addictive use of tobacco is promoted by:

– Normalization of smoking as something other than problem substance use

– Celebration of tobacco dependent individuals as “clean and sober”

– Ritualized group use of tobacco at meeting breaks, providing social reinforcement

– Exposure to psychological associations, “triggers” for continued use

smoking group

Continued use of tobacco predicts increased risk of: chronic pain; dependence on opioid pain medications; return to problem substance use, especially of alcohol and opioids.

CEO of Helping Hands Alan Evans, with no training or background in behavioral health, healthcare, or the treatment of substance use problems,

was the featured speaker at Columbia Pacific’s Opioid Summit three years ago and was appointed by Columbia Pacific to a regional advisory committee charged with providing direction for clinical practices and community supports to address worsening lethal opioid and substance use problems in the region.

Columbia Pacific CCO logo

Epilogue. “He hated his disease”

At a Columbia Pacific Opioid Summit Conference, a tragic story of death by opioid overdose personally and painfully recounted by the surviving and grieving mother compelled and able, like Helping Hands CEO Alan Evans, to share the personal story as a keynote speaker  – share with the large audience of professionals managing and employed in the treatment systems the son had repeatedly used and failed to benefit from. 

[The quoted statements below are from notes I made at the Conference listening to the mother’s presentation.]

To a rapt audience observably responding to the story with sympathy, heads nodding with understanding and affirmation, the mother bravely recounted the heartrending story of a son, a highly awarded multisport athlete, whose emotional and social life, and sense of self, were derailed, injured by a dislocated elbow that ended his football season and source of positive sense of self and competence. “He lived and breathed sports, so the injury was devastating,” reported the mother.

He soon was using alcohol and prescription pain opioids, easy to get in the rural Oregon county awash in overprescribed and diverted prescription pain pills. Following a common track, he would eventually use heroin, from the street.

The young man was provided an “intervention”, sent, including by the family, to engage in treatment as usual (TAU) for substance use, TAU established over past decades as predicting no benefit for substance use problems, instead most likely harm caused by TAU’s four key elements: 1) invalidated “disease model” of “addiction”, belief in that fabricated model a key predictor of relapse 2) 12-Step programming and associated religious subculture (AA, NA) meetings 3) group treatment (versus evidence-based individual therapy) and 4) “treatment” provided by individuals without competence in treatment for substance use problems.

The mother, misled over a lifetime that included her own struggles with problem substance use, misled by false, lethal advice and information from everywhere she turned – friends, the media, popular culture, medical professionals, all endorsing the fictions of “addiction” and the lethal, sham treatments provided – did her best to engage her son in what she had been assured are helpful treatments and environments.

“He hated being an addict . . . he had shame, lots of shame”.

Yes, he must have.

“He kept going into relapse because of the shame. . . He experienced a lot of shame and guilt.”

Yes, predictably. Rates of return to problem substance use for individuals exposed to the denigrating, shaming culture of the religious subculture are around 90 to 95 per cent. 

As a longstanding “sponsor” in the religious subculture Alcoholics Anonymous she instilled in her son the pathology and shame that AA and NA are based on, noting that once a young person becomes mature enough, he will be able to “become more mature and accept the fact that they have this disease.” At the insistence of family and others, he participated in AA or NA over the 7 years leading to his death, working with “sponsors” – individuals with allegiance to the bizarre, countertherapeutic practices and principles of the religious subculture and with no competence or training – none – in behavioral health or evidence-based approaches to healthcare needs of any type .

Coming around to the difficult reckoning of her son’s repeated treatment failures and return to high-risk illicit opioid use,

she described those relapses as driven by hatred of who he had become  (no, not who he had become, but instead the person he was expected and forced by others to become, his healthy developmental task of identity formation derailed, blocked) “He hated being an addict . . . he had shame, lots of shame”, the predictable result of coerced participation in a religious subculture that is shame-based and pathologizing. The family “preached abstinence”, with the certain result that, along with his experiences in AA and NA, he would be pathologized and shamed if he used marijuana or alcohol in ways that young people do to socialize, without harm.

“He hated being an addict . . . he had shame, lots of shame”.

Yes, he must have.

“He kept going into relapse because of the shame. . . He experienced a lot of shame and guilt.”

Yes, predictably. Rates of return to problem substance use for individuals exposed to the denigrating, shaming culture of the religious subculture are around 90 to 95 per cent. 

But fundamentally, it doesn’t make sense, does it? What was done to him? It was all wrong. The predictable pattern for vulnerable Americans court mandated, or coerced into TAU – of return to problem substance use and often to death following a period of avoidance of problem use? A period that, instead, should instill greater confidence for change, stronger, more positive sense of self, most importantly insight into underlying emotional and psychological conditions driving the behavioral symptom of substance use. The types of gains that would have been provided in evidence-based treatment for substance use, by a qualified psychotherapist.

Relapse by definition follows a period of avoidance of problem use – something to feel accomplished, strong, and positive about, not “shame”. Unless during those periods of no use of opioids, as in this young man’s tragic case, a young person is guilted, coerced into harm-predicting settings, like AA, where any “slip” or infraction, any sin – drinking a beer, smoking a joint, questioning or challenging the imposed life-sentence of a fictional chronic “disease”, of always remaining an “addict” (SAY IT, Say “I’m an addict!” SAY IT over and over again.) – is punished with increased intensity of shaming, denigration, judgment, alienation, stigmatization, pathologizing, by: renewed insistence on the pathologized, diseased “addict”, someone who can be loved and accepted, respected, only if they accept a life of abstinence from all substances and of sitting in meetings of a bizarre religious subculture with other “addicts”, the enforcing dry drunks, perhaps taking breaks with them to use the addictive, lethal substance tobacco after being pathologized in the meeting for drinking a beer.

“He hated being an addict . . . he had shame, lots of shame.” But he didn’t, didn’t have all that shame – until he was created as an “addict”, his new identity, his brain hijacked

He went to “rehab” five times –

rehab like essentially all other rehab programs in the U.S., driven by the four key elements of rehab programs without an evidence base for effectiveness and predicting harm.  His predictable failure to benefit from those five expensive, profit-generating rehab stays did not elicit any comments, concerns, or questions from the audience that day – an audience at the Columbia Pacific Opioid Summit composed predominantly of individuals whose livelihoods and status depend on supporting and maintaining the fiction of potential benefit from those harm-predicting sham “treatments”. Questioning the consistent outcome failures would have been awkward, wouldn’t it?

The young man’s healthy impulse was to attempt to reject being pathologized, disown the “addict” identity forced on him, 

“Mom, you just don’t understand”, and for that at NA meetings he would have been reprimanded, castigated, warned that the only way to avoid using again was to allow others to pathologize him, and to pathologize and stigmatize himself (“I am an addict”, over and over again) week after week at the meetings. Do we need to wonder why he felt horrible about himself and repeatedly returned to what helped him escape that pain ?

His loss of sense of self, of being integrated with and valued by peers for something he did well, was tragically, needlessly, and lethally compounded by the unintentional and demonstrably false and lethal life sentence handed him by everyone he trusted and depended on for support and guidance, from doctors, professionals, family – the false and devastating life sentence of a chronic, life-long, incurable “disease”, a sentence that would require him to return, over and over again, to the bizarre, scripted, nonsensical meetings of a religious culture where any resistance to “acceptance” of that life sentence would be corrected, pathologized as “denial”, as part of his fictional illness.

Did anyone in his circle of support – medical professionals, family, counselors – tell him the truth, warn him?

That the five rehab stints he was sent to are part of a criminal scam, providing very expensive “treatment” that is not treatment at all?

Not likely any of the “addiction professionals” at the rehab programs, paid to provide “treatment” after a year or two, or less, of training  – treatment for a complex, life-threatening condition.

Did a friend or professional warn him that 12-Step programming has no treatment value, most likely predicts harm, predicts failure at a rate of 90% to 95%, likely higher than no treatment at all?  Not likely.
Anyone mention to him that research available since 1996, more than two decades ago, points to belief in the invalidated “disease model” of addiction – the belief that would be shamed into him – as a key predictor of relapse?

Did the licensed medical professionals providing program oversight in the criminal rehab programs likely warn him of that?

Dr. Nora Volkow

He hated his fictional disease, and he hated the lie of a lifelong disease forced on him. 

His coerced immersion in a sick, lethal, criminal sham treatment system – a system supported and maintained by Oregon’s Health Authority, medical establishment, and managed care organizations – led to his death. He became free, finally, of the pathological demands that he lie, over and over again, that “I’m an addict”. 

Denial of that, of what was done to this young man, will perpetuate the lethal epidemics that are increasingly ending the lives of Americans young and old.

A website – appearing to have been taken down – dedicated to his life and intended to provide hope and to point to credible, science-based treatment resources for Oregonians at risk of harm and death from problem opioid use prominently lists local programs providing traditional treatment, as well as meetings of the religious subcultures AA and NA, all of those resources  established by decades of research as predicting no benefit, most likely increased risk of harmful, problem substance use.

That website prominently asserts that “Addiction is a disease” – reinforcing belief in a fictional model invalidated by all lines of longstanding evidencethat belief a key predictor of relapse, as established by research.

The same website, appearing to be affiliated with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  SAMHSA) lists Helping Hands, a homeless shelter with no provision of evidence-based treatments for substance use, no staff qualified to provide treatment for problem substance use, and where vulnerable Oregonians are evicted back to homelessness if they do not comply with coerced religious programming, as a provider of “Intensive Outpatient Treatment” .

The young man is dead, of an opioid overdose. 

Community behavioral health programs, like Tillamook Family Counseling Center in Tillamook, Oregon, whose managers were in the audience at the Columbia Pacific CCO conference, continues to conspire with local judges to force vulnerable Oregonians in need of real treatment and against their constitutional rights, to be exposed to the harm-predicting meetings of the religious subcultures AA and NA, as Oregon’s lethal substance use epidemics worsen. 

 

Helping Hands continues to expand its programs. 

People ribbon cutting to open a new facility

Its supporters include managed care organizations controlling use of public Medicaid healthcare funds in Oregon. 

Why A Critical Discourse?

Because an uncontrolled epidemic of desperate and deadly use of pain-numbing opioid drugs is just the most visible of America’s lethal crises of drug misuse, suicide, depression, of obesity and sickness, of social illness. Because the matrix of health experts and institutions constructed and identified by mass media as trusted authorities – publicly funded and entrusted to protect public health – instead collude to fabricate false assurances like those that created an opioid crisis, while promising medical cures that never come and can never come, while epidemics worsen. Because the “journalists” responsible for protecting public well-being have failed to fight for truth, traded that duty away for their careers, their abdication and cowardice rewarded daily in corporate news offices, attempts to expose that failure and their fabrications punished.

Open, critical examination, exposure, and deconstruction of their lethal matrix of fabrications is a matter of survival, is cure for mass illness and crisis, demands of us a critical discourse.

Crisis is a necessary condition for a questioning of doxa, but is not in itself a sufficient condition for the production of a critical discourse.

Pierre Bourdieu - Outline of a Theory of Practice 1972

Latest Stories

Sign Up For A Critical Discourse Newsletter

You'll receive email alerts of new or upcoming posts.

A Critical Discourse

Fog Image