Pubdate: Tue,  5 Jun 2001
Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Press Democrat
Author: Garry Bryan
(Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act)


EDITOR: It has been clear to me for some time what the future of
Proposition 36 will look like. It was on the front page photo of the May
27 Press Democrat ... people holding hands in prayer. Due to the lack of
funds for treatment programs, the courts are going to order drug abusers
into 12-step, Alcoholics Anonymous-type programs. Since federal court
and California court have ruled AA is "religious" (O'Connor vs. Orange
County and the State of California and California State Employees
Association vs. The California Youth Authority), this erodes the
separation of church and state and comes dangerously close to creating a
state supported religion. Even worse, the courts fail to inform citizens
of their right to refuse 12-step programs on religious grounds.

There are no reliable records kept as to the long-term results of
12-step recovery programs despite the claims of AA and similar programs.
The one thing that is certain, all treatment programs will tell you that
even with a committed subject, sobriety may take several attempts before
it takes. If you slip up, you go to jail. So much for compassion.

There needs to be a recognition of true alternative methods of drug
treatment, including Rational Recovery, emotional counseling,
anti-depression/anti-anxiety treatment and even self-recovery. Many
people quit on their own, but they are not tracked by any system so are
invisible to the experts. The use of 12-step programs should be
voluntary only and a part of a more comprehensive program.

Garry Bryan, Santa Rosa
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