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People Susceptible to Addiction, and an Expose’ of “Recovery Homes”

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People Susceptible to Addiction, and an Expose’ of “Recovery Homes”

How far do we go in saying who’s likely to become addicted, and a look at questionable “Recovery Homes”

When it comes to science articles on the web, it doesn’t hurt to check the credentials of the source or sponsor of the website. I was a little skeptical when I read the title of an interesting article in the September issue of the Addiction Recovery Bulletin that came from The Moderate Voice, but the writers there appear to be credentialed journalists.

The article that caught my eye identifies 10 types of people who are more prone to drug addiction than others. I liked the fact that the writer added this caveat at the very beginning: [The causes of addiction are] “usually a mix of many factors, from family background, genetics, environment, stress, and personality traits.”

But it appears to me that the article is incorrect about some research findings. The author says that young men and white people have the highest rates of drug use. Granted, a recent article has pointed to increased drug use among whites. But then she says that a 2012 study found that 15 percent of Native Americans had the highest chance of becoming addicted, compared to nine percent of whites.

I also take issue with identifying people with higher IQs as more prone to becoming addicted. The author even points to a Psychology Today article to bolster the statement. Sure, creative people have used drugs to a high degree. But that seems to detract from the numbers of lower income people—the homeless, the underserved—who become addicted out of despair and because of their environment. I’d argue that it does them a disservice and further disenfranchises them. And I didn’t see a research methodology. Where were IQs measured?

Then there is a group of “sensitive people” identified in the article. Another group that has me scratching my head. You’ll have to read it and see if you agree that this article should be taken with a grain of salt.

Are Some Recovery Homes Too Good to Be True?

This story, in the Philly News, could go down in the annals of deception and fraud as too horrible to be true. But unfortunately, it is. First, I assume a recovery home is not a sober living house, a place where someone goes to live after treatment where he or she is still monitored and prepared to live in the “real world” again, where the home is an extension of a treatment program. The homes described in this article are ones where people live post-treatment because they have nowhere else to go and need a place to live. Ideally—emphasis on the word ideally—they stay sober, attend AA meetings and support each other.

In the Philly News article, a Philly drug counselor named Jeffrey Jackson set up a business called Dignity Recovery that rented rooms to addicts on methadone treatment, as well as former addicts. The man has no license to run a business and has no zoning permit, and offers shabby homes that a city official said are unfit for habitation. One resident died of an overdose. When the drug counselor receives too many violations he just opens homes elsewhere.

It simply doesn’t compute that a drug counselor could be worse than a slum landlord to people in such a fragile state and in need like this, and that he is getting away with it. He supposedly provides meals, but one tenant said they stink.

There are hundreds of these homes in Philly, the article says, and some do have “tough-love staffers who encourage tenants to go to meetings and undergo urine screenings.”

The drug counselor says he doesn’t have recovery houses, they’re rooming homes. He supllies meals, although the tenants make it sound like they’re pretty bad.

These two sentences in the article are telling:

“To Jackson’s supporters, he is a do-gooder who tries to help hard-core substance abusers, ‘the worst of the worst,’ and struggles to collect rent and pays utility bills out of his own pocket. To Jackson’s critics, he’s a money-hungry manipulator who puts at-risk substance abusers in unfit, unsafe homes and uses his drug counseling job to find tenants.”

Makes you wonder where else this is happening.

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