Archive for the Civil Rights Category

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Getting Sober Without God

98% of Florida Welfare Recipients Pass Drug Test


Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.

Ninety-six percent proved to be drug free — leaving the state on the hook to reimburse the cost of their tests.

The initiative may save the state a few dollars anyway, bearing out one of Gov. Rick Scott’s arguments for implementing it. But the low test fail-rate undercuts another of his arguments: that people on welfare are more likely to use drugs.

At Scott’s urging, the Legislature implemented the new requirement earlier this year that applicants for temporary cash assistance pass a drug test before collecting any benefits.

The law, which took effect July 1, requires applicants to pay for their own drug tests. Those who test drug-free are reimbursed by the state, and those who fail cannot receive benefits for a year.


More than once, Scott has said publicly that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population. The 2 percent test fail rate seen by DCF, however, does not bear that out.

According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, performed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, 8.7 percent of the population nationally over age 12 uses illicit drugs. The rate was 6.3 percent for those ages 26 and up.

A 2008 study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy also showed that 8.13 percent of Floridians age 12 and up use illegal drugs.

Newton said that’s proof the drug-testing program is based on a stereotype, not hard facts.

Read the whole thing…
(h/t raysny!)

Slate on “Surviving Straight, Inc.”

Please go read Steven Slate’s piece on the new documentary about the “troubled teen” industry, created by survivors of the Straight, Inc. nightmare. He makes the connection between what some might consider a sort of isolated issue and draws a very clear line to the addiction recovery movement whose psychotic mythologies influence our culture so profoundly.

Here’s Steven Slate’s article. It is essential reading. When you’re done, please friend it:

Surviving Straight Inc, a Controlling Approach To Addiction Treatment Brings Disastrous Consequences

I wanted to also point out that one of the creators of Surviving Straight, Inc. started a website that we linked to in the blogroll. Troubled Teen Industry is a powerful resource and a compelling read.

[UPDATED]: I guess Steven and I were writing posts for ST at the same time, and I just happened to hit “post” before he did! Sorry, Steven… I scooped you on your own story.

Steven Slate says:

As of now, distribution plans for the movie are up in the air, and they’re submitting it to festivals. One thing that may help is making noise about it on the net, and showing that there’s demand for it. I don’t know the best way to do that, but here’s where to start:

The film’s website:

Troubled Teen Industry:

Reddit Troubled Teens:

I can’t stress how much these people have put themselves on the line by making this film and appearing in it. Along the way, one of the filmmakers even received a message ominously taped to his door which read “You won’t survive Straight Inc.” I’d hate to see their efforts go to waste. I don’t know the best way to support them, so I’m just starting by spreading these links around and talking about the movie with the means I have at my disposal. Many of the abusive methods of Straight Inc are still in use in Therapeutic Communities all over the place, and this stuff needs to be stopped.



Recovery Thought Police

Wyoming Supreme Court: Sentence Unusual But Not Illegal

CHEYENNE — The sentence of a Campbell County man convicted of aggravated assault and battery was unusual but not illegal, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a split decision.

Willis Center Sr. pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced by District Judge John Perry in November 2008 to 36 to 80 months in prison. But the judge stayed the sentence and granted Center a furlough so he could enter an alcohol rehabilitation treatment program.

Center failed the program primarily because he refused to complete the written first step of the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program in use at the WYSTAR center.

He was then sent to the state penitentiary.

On appeal, Center claimed the sentence was illegal and his right to due process was violated in the way his placement was revoked.

The supreme court majority, in an opinion written by Justice William Hill and including Chief Justice Marilyn Kite and Justice Michael Golden, said that while the sentence was “unusual and perhaps ill-advised,” it was not illegal.

Read the rest…

First, the judge diagnosis Center’s real problem as alcoholism, not violence, and sends him to an alcohol rehab program, which turns out to be nothing more than AA. Center cannot bring himself to admit he’s powerless over alcohol, so they “fail” him and send him to the pen.  I think the state has put itself in the position of having to prove that the 12 steps are effective and necessary for the treatment of alcoholism.

Maybe he should have gone to the pen in the first place for whatever violence he comitted, but now he’s being sent there for not taking the First Step, which is nothing more than a statement of belief. Insane.


So the question of the day over on parentdish is “Should there be random drug testing in middle school?” They offer a point and counterpoint, both of which are idiotic, but clearly influenced by the sheer lunacy of our policies and conventional wisdom about drugs.

Dori Hartley takes the “con” side. She reasonably insists that subjecting children to the indignity and paranoia of random drug tests is outrageous. Then she goes on to insist that her mighty wrath, tough love, and fear mongering will prevent her daughter from ever doing drugs: Continue reading SmackDown?

Prosecutor Talks 12-Step Sentencing

Last night, criminal prosecutor, maozedong,  posted an interesting comment offering insight into the courts’ practice of sentencing people to 12-Step programs. I didn’t want anyone to miss this, so  I’m reposting it here. Thank you, maozedong. — ftg

At the risk of drawing some ire, I will disclose that I’m a criminal prosecutor; threads like these are getting my attention as I’d never given much thought to issues related to criminals in AA.

How prosecutors and judges handle sentencing varies from state to state and county to county. In my county, first time DWI (aka DUI) offenders are not generally required to attend AA meetings as a condition of probation. There’s this perception out there that anyone who gets a DWI must have a drinking problem, but my experience has been that this is not the case. In the case of someone with multiple DWIs, AA attendance is usually imposed as a part of the standard plea deal. Continue reading Prosecutor Talks 12-Step Sentencing

Intervention Coming to the UK

Browsing the internet the other day, I was horrified to find this link describing how the US stepper ‘intervention group’, the Association of Intervention Specialists, is now training steppers in the UK in this appalling and possibly illegal practice:

I had thought that ‘intervention’, i.e., forcing ‘reluctant’ people into stepper rehab, was one thing we were thankfully free of in the UK, and it is an extremely worrying development that UK steppers are now looking to this type of coercion in order to revive their flagging businesses and recruit more people into the 12-step faith. It is bad enough that these people, with their dishonest advertising practices, worse than useless ‘treatment programme’, and their lack of accountability, qualifications, or regulation, have managed to infiltrate and monopolize the rehab industry in the way that they have. It is bad enough that they browbeat and bully their paying ‘clients’ into accepting a nonsensical irrelevant programme that no-one ever gave their informed consent to. Now they want to foist this dangerous nonsense onto people who don’t necessarily even want to stop drinking or using, but whose families (or employers) think they should.

Given the lies, bully-boy tactics and psychological mindfuck 12-step rehab staff already use in order to indoctrinate vulnerable but self-motivated people into the lunacy of Bill Wilson’s made-up religion, it is deeply, deeply disturbing to think about what methods they might use on people who are not even in rehab voluntarily. It is unlikely that they are going to scour the streets working their ‘interventions’ on homeless, penniless alcoholics in the interests of ‘help’. No, the idea is to get the families and friends of addicts, who may be either desperate or just very controlling, to do their recruiting for them. And then to charge them a fortune for the privilege of helping them make even more money out of this twisted and dishonest programme. It is despicable and hugely cynical, just one more manifestation of their attempts to prey on the desperate and vulnerable in the interests of their own profit and in order to perpetuate their crackpot religion.

Note that the ‘founder sponsors’ of AIS International are:

Montrose Place
Betty Ford Center
Proctor Hospital/Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery
Little Hill-Alina Lodge
Palm Partners
Pine Grove.

And more of the usual suspects are named within the article.

‘Ethical intervention’ is another one of those AA oxymorons, like ‘dry drunk’ and ‘rigorously honest stepper’.  We’ve managed to keep this dehumanizing practice out of the UK and Europe so far. I hope with the support of all on Stinkin’ Thinkin’ we can help to keep it that way.

A New Civil Rights Case

Judge: Atheist’s Rights Violated

State parole officers violated a Redding atheist’s rights when they imprisoned him for refusing to participate in a religious drug treatment program, a federal judge has ruled.

Barry Hazle Jr., a 40-year-old computer services specialist, has sued his parole officer and nearly a dozen others in connection with his 125-day imprisonment in 2007 after he declined to participate in a 12-step treatment program at Empire Recovery Center. In his recent ruling, the judge dropped Empire Recovery Center from the suit, which is scheduled for trial in late June.

Read the whole story.