An Idea for a Conference About Harmful Treatment Programs was born in 2000.
In 2000, I decided to hit the internet to search for information about a place called Straight, Inc. It was a program that my parents got me involved in and in which I was effectively cut off from the real world for about two and a half years. A lot of insane and illegal things took place in this program, and I wanted to know more about how this program was not only allowed to exist but also was endorsed by highly regarded physicians, politicians, and other dignitaries. In fact, Nancy Reagan started her “Just Say No” campaign with the influence of some of Straight, Inc.’s most notorious founders. (I will add supporting evidence for this statement at a future date)
Early Websites about Straight, Inc. and Harmful Treatment
There was virtually nothing online regarding this place. After several days of searching, I came across Scott Wagner’s website* and realized there were other “former students’ thinking along the same lines as I was. This encouraged me to see if I could uncover anything else about those crazy Straight, Inc. years.
(*These links will take you to the internet archive. This is to give you an idea of what the websites were like then, but when I found the websites they looked different as they didn’t contain nearly the amount of information shown on the archive pages.)
Eventually, I found Anonymity Anonymous*, created by Ginger Warbis. I ended up having many long conversations with both Ginger (now Ginger McNulty) and Wesley Fager.
The three of us compared notes about our personal experiences within the Straight, Inc. program and we shared research we had been doing independently up to that point.
Arnold Trebach on Harmful Treatment Programs
During my research, I came across an article that truly surprised me. Moral Integrity and Presidential Appointees: The Straight Skinny, by Arnold S. Trebach. This article mentioned Straight, Inc. by name, a person who had been in Straight, Inc. with me, and one of the founders of Straight, Inc.
The article I found on a website called The Trebach Report, described Trebach’s experience at a major international conference in Melbourne, Australia in 1989. He tells of his shock when he heard the American ambassador to Australia brag that he and his wife had formed a drug treatment organization called Straight in Florida. In this article, he also tells of his conversation with a top Dutch drug policy official who said, “Oh yes, I know about the program, Hitler Jungen!”
After reading this article, I immediately called Wes. I wanted to do more to bring the Straight, Inc. phenomenon to light. Eventually, Wes and I met with Arnold Trebach, and the first conference on this topic was born.
Saving Our Children from Drug Treatment Abuse Conference, July 21-22, 2001
Here are the first couple of introductory paragraphs in the conference agenda folder:
The major purpose of this conference is to re-examine the destructive role that certain highly approved treatment programs have had on the children they were supposed to help. Thus we are turning conventional logic on its head and purposely coining a new phrase, drug treatment abuse. There are good reasons for doing so.
In this conference, we will review the record of the harmful impact that these treatment programs have had on their young inmates. Discuss methods to close these destructive institutions, examine the reasons why these programs have received such high-level support, and suggest better, more effective methods for helping children with problems of all kinds. In addition, we will seek to provide guidance to those children already harmed by these programs so that they may obtain redress or compensation in a court of justice either through civil lawsuits, filing criminal complaints or both.
The idea for this conference originated with Kathy Martin,** one of the survivors of Straight, Inc., a controversial youth treatment program that has garnered endorsements of presidents and top addiction physicians along with widespread condemnation by former clients, government officials, and adverse court judgments.
That original idea has been broadened in scope and participants. The Trebach Institute has agreed to take a leading role in developing the conference as well as in creating a project that will carry this effort into the future beyond the conference. Survivors of numerous programs similar to Straight, Inc. have come forward asking to be involved in this multi-faceted effort. While some of these programs bear remarkable similarities to Straight. Inc., others have their own brand of destructive treatment. Moreover, all of them seem to have zealous supporters as well as equally zealous critics. We welcome them all to this open conference. (The full write-up can be found here.)
** Now known as Kathy Moya
Video Clips from the Conference
Jim Turney of Liberty Tapes attended and videotaped the entire conference. I bought the entire set of tapes and have obtained Jim Turney’s permission to publish clips from that conference. Here are a few introductory clips from the 2001 Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. More clips will be available at a future date when I obtain more funds to digitize the rest of the VHS tapes. ***(Feel free to donate through Paypal – the link is in the sidebar. Thanks!)***
Kathy Moya, 2001 Conference
Wes Fager, 2001 Conference
Dr. Arnold Trebach, 2001 Conference
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Books by Arnold Trebach
In each of these books, Trebach devotes entire sections to the Straight, Inc. program.