Thirsty koala, Charles Darwin, teenage drug abuse

 Today’s installment of Sunday: At the movies with On Deadline, we have a cute koala among devastation, a Charles Darwin primer since he turned 200 and fighting teenage drug addiction in Alberta.

KOALA FINDS RELIEF

Among the scorched earth and stories of lives lost in Australia due to raging fires this feel-good video hit the ‘Net. Aussie firefighters came across a thirsty and confused koala and a drink of water brought two worlds together.

 

CHARLES DARWIN turns 200

Here is a quick biography about Charles Darwin, author of the theory of evolution, a scientific theory still controversial to this day. This three-minute short bio is a primer courtesy of the Biography Channel.

 

POWERLESS: Fighting Teen Drug Addiction in Alberta, courtesy of CBC’s Fifth Estate

A thought provoking look at the controversial drug addiction fighting methods at the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC). Is it tough love for a tough problem? Is it effective because it tears down addiction and then builds up? Does it tear down too viciously and inhumane in approach? A strong look at this program dealing with a problem too many of us turns a blind-eye to.

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2008-2009/powerless/video.html

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Thirsty koala, Charles Darwin, teenage drug abuse

  1. Grant

    The Fifth Estate’s report on the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre was troubling on many levels, one of those being the questions it didn’t ask. Of all the former patients and/or staff members interviewed on screen, only one had anything positive to say about the facility or its executive director, Dean Vause. Even if AARC’s claimed 80% success rate is ludicrously overstated, in fairness of reporting, why didn’t the Fifth Estate locate and interview at least one or two more people who were allegedly part of that success story? If the shocking physical, sexual, and psychological abuse allegations made by the individuals interviewed are indeed true, have those individuals taken punitive legal action against AARC or Dean Vause? (As noted in the report, former patients of the infamous KIDS of New Jersey facility, the inspiration for AARC, did successfully sue its director, Miller Newton, for millions in damages.) Are we to believe that a drug treatment facility exists in this country where teenagers are forcibly held against their will, much like prisoners in a concentration camp, and where they face cruel and dehumanizing treatment at the hands of, among others, totally untrained “peer counsellors?” Finally, in the past seventeen years, has no government agency ever once bothered to look into the operations of AARC and the allegations of abuse? And if not, why not? Though the Fifth Estate is recognized as being a fine investigative television series, its AARC segment seemed, to me at least, half done. The program raised plenty of alarming red flags concerning the ethics and legitimacy of AARC, yet several basic questions were left unspoken. The program was entitled “Powerless.” Did that refer to the patients of AARC, or to those who are supposed to protect the young from physical, sexual and emotional harm? Tough love is one thing, but what several of the former inmates of AARC described is outright inhumane abuse.

    Thanks so much, Vince, for again posting another trio of excellent videos – two for the mind and one to warm the heart. That Australian firefighter is what all humans should be about.

  2. CndnGirl@hotmail.com

    Grant said: “Are we to believe that a drug treatment facility exists in this country where teenagers are forcibly held against their will, much like prisoners in a concentration camp, and where they face cruel and dehumanizing treatment at the hands of, among others, totally untrained “peer counsellors?” Finally, in the past seventeen years, has no government agency ever once bothered to look into the operations of AARC and the allegations of abuse? And if not, why not?”

    That is exactly correct Grant. Not only do they face treatment by untrained
    “peer counsellors”, regardless of their behaviour or criminal history they are cared for in “recovery homes” by “oldcomer” clients regardless of THEIR behaviour or criminal history and who receive only one week of “Oldcomer training”. Oldcomers are approximately only 1/3 of the way through treatment themselves.

    Groups of clients aged 12 to 21 are transported back and forth from the center and are kept together in locked and alarmed bedrooms with barred windows at unlicensed, unregulated “recovery homes”.

    No one involved receives a criminal record check or a child welfare check and the clients have no contact with their own parents or access to even a telephone until they are at a level of treatment to become “oldcomers” themselves.

    In this country “private” rehab facilities are an unregulated “buyer beware” industry. Facilities that utilize government funds for user fees are regulated, private facilities are not.

    This is exactly what needs to change. Facilities that operate with non-government user fees absolutely should be licensed and have regulations and inspections to ensure the safety of the clients. We can see the result when these safeguards are not in place.

    As it stands the onus is on the desperate PARENTS to protect their own children from abuse. The tragic part is the fact that parents are systematically convinced their children will DIE without treatment and eventually tolerate what happens at the facility whether their children are addicted or not.

    Even more tragic is that the parents are largely unaware of what happens due to the enforced lack of communication with their child.

    There is a whole unrepresented demographic of uninformed parents who did not agree with the methods at AARC and pulled their child out. Other parents have tried to pull their child out but were unable as the youth was at AARC under court order.

    I believe there is a lot more going on here than what has been brought to light. I’ve heard that over a dozen reports of abuse have recently been brought to the police with no action. I’ve heard other reports over the years have been brought to light but dropped due to a low chance of successful prosecution.

    Why?

  3. Grant

    CndnGirl: You make many excellent points in your post. In mine, hopefully, I didn’t leave the impression that I disbelieved the shocking allegations made against the AARC in the Fifth Estate’s report. Truth be told, I didn’t want to believe those allegations because they were so shocking. As you indicate, that the AARC is privately funded should not put it and its operations beyond the reach of the laws of Canada that are supposed to protect the human rights of ALL its citizens, including those of the country’s children. Judging by the Fifth Estate’s report, the kids in residence at the AARC have no rights at all and no one they can turn to for help. It’s extremely disturbing to know that facilities such as the AARC can operate in our country with no government agency oversight or involvement whatsoever. I thought the Fifth Estate’s report was rather half-hearted, not hard hitting and thorough enough to spur the type of outrage that could possibly bring about changes in how organizations such as the AARC are allowed to operate. Children are being grossly maltreated in this country and nobody gives a damn? That’s what I really don’t want to believe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s