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Who Needs Rehab?

Evening Edition

Above: Anne Fletcher, health and medical writer, talks to KPBS about her new book, "INSIDE REHAB: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment And How To Get Help That Works."

INSIDE REHAB: The Surprising Truth About Addition Treatment -- And How To Get Help That Works

In today's America, we've developed a ritual around the treatment of substance abuse. First a problem is suspected, then addictive behavior becomes evident, then authorities step in, either in the form of parents, law enforcement or through an intervention of concerned friends. And the only place to go next is rehab.

From celebrities to high school drinkers, treatment at a professional facility is widely accepted as the best way for addicts to get clean and begin living a sober life. But is it really the best way?

Anne Fletcher, a health and medical writer, explored what goes on inside rehab centers in her new book, "INSIDE REHAB: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment And How To Get Help That Works."

She visited 15 programs across the rehab spectrum.

"What surprised me most is the more you spend doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get better treatment," she told KPBS.

Another surprise was the gap between science and practice, she said.

"There are a lot of things we know are effective for addiction treatment and they're not going on in a lot of addiction treatment programs in this country," she said.

Fletcher said she had a serious drinking problem but did not go to rehab. She added that outpatient treatment can be just as effective as residential treatment centers.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

Comments

Avatar for user 'highfillpam'

highfillpam | March 7, 2013 at 10:11 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

I felt the information that Ms. Fletcher had to share was very misleading and this report on recovery programs is harmful to both people who suffer from addiction and those who work in the field attempting to help them.
While her suggestion of more "licensed clinicians" spending more than one hour per week for the addict certainly would help, the cost of this would be prohibitive. As it stands, billions of dollars go towards prisons that offer no rehabilitation for addiction and recovery homes struggle along while institutions and government employees absorb the brunt of funding offered to treat addiction.
As it stands, Ms. Fletcher, with a Master's degree in nutrition, doesn't seem to have the credentials nor the experience to be making the claims that she is. Having her make these claims on programming as reliable as KPBS does a disservice to your listeners and your reputation. I hope wiser choices are made in the future.

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