Friday, January 09, 2015

The Cross, Dancing Logo, and Dollar Sign


The  cross, representing  the promise of eternal life  through Christ’s suffering, is the central symbol of Christianity. This particular  cross had  stood high over Portsmouth for many years in a church tower, but then that tower was toppled, as shown in this photo that I took at the exact moment the tower came crashing down. 

The trashed cross, part of the rubble, lay on the ground for about a week. 


At about that time, a new quasi-religious symbol arrived in Portsmouth, the joyous dancing logo of the Scioto County Counseling Center, Inc., with its motto of miraculous cures for addicts, 


In Boneyfiddle, the neighborhood of churches, the logo of the Counseling Center took its place among the steeples.  


But a more appropriate symbol for the Counseling Center would be a happy skeleton, dancing for joy because of the miracle cure the non-profit is profiting from.  


People who take addictive drugs without a doctor’s prescription with the aim of getting high  bear the primary responsibility for their addiction.  As a society we have gone from the Calvinist view that people are inherently wicked to the politically correct notion that people are innocent victims of forces and circumstances beyond their control. But Hughes and Turner adopt this tolerant approach for mercenary, not for compassionate or philosophic reasons. In an effort to assuage the guilt of the addicted and to attract them to the SCCC  as “clients,” Ed Hughes and Ron Turner, the authors of Baffled by Addiction, conclude,  “So a person’s addiction is no one’s fault and no one’s to blame. Not the family, an unsavory peer group, or the stress of life. Not even the addicted person himself [is to blame]” (p.25).


But the  large majority of drug addicts are not innocent victims who are baffled by addiction but  perpetrators who are complicit in their addiction. That is the view of Stanton Peele in Diseasing of America, first published in 1989, some ten years after the incorporation of the Scioto County Counseling Center. Chapter 5, "The Addiction Treatment Industry,"  is especially relevant to the Counseling Center, which is one of the hundreds of treatment businesses that make up the industry. Of  Diseasing of America, the director of an addictive research center at the U. of Washington, G. Alan Marlatt, wrote, "Peele makes it abundantly clear that the disease model of addiction, the ideology that currently reigns over the American addiction treatment industry, is basically an emperor without clothes. By placing addictive behaviors in the context of other problems of living, Peele emphasizes personal responsibility for one's habits. His views, well documented with timely references to new scientific data, contrasts sharply with the biological determinism of the disease model, a view that portrays addicts as helpless victims of forces beyond their control. The book empowers the reader to view addiction in a new optimistic light."

In Diseasing of America: How We Allowed Recovery Zealots and the Treatment Industry to Convince Us We Are Out of Control, Peele wrote (p. 116),  "Why do we accept the industry and all its self-serving claims, sometimes eagerly signing on for our own groups and treatment, even when the evidence is that these groups and this treatment do little to help us as individuals and a society?" Peele published that sentence back in 1989, when the Counseling Center was just underway. Now a quarter-century later that local representation  of the addiction treatment industry, including its metastasizing affiliate, Compass Point Housing, is allowed to operate without oversight and accountability and with the complicity of corrupt city and county officials who, as Austin Leedom has pointed out,  turn over to them public buildings, such as the Scudder School, without the taxpayers being reimbursed a dime. Is it any wonder that the county and the city got into such a financial hole while Ed Hughes, the semi-absentee CEO  is getting annually a $140,000 compensation package?