The idea for Straight, Inc. was born in January of 1976
The idea for Straight, Inc. was born in January of 1976 according to the July 27, 1976 article in The Evening Independent.
Straight, Inc. was registered as a business with the state of Florida on April 22, 1976, (Straight-Articles-Of-Incorporation-1976) though they wouldn’t open for business until September, 1976. The article, written by The Evening Independent Newspaper Staff Writer, Joe Childs, indicates that the project backers who are prominent in public and private life in the St. Petersburg, Florida area were ending their “seven months of quiet organizing and fundraising with the announcement that Straight Inc. indeed will become reality and by setting Sept. 1 as the target date for opening the facility.”
The article also states that Straight Inc. would be located at 700 43rd St. S., a two-story, former office building donated to the project that could accommodate their goal of serving 200 to 300 clients. This is the same building that the former board member spoke of in the interview on this blog post.
This particular article identifies Dr. Leon Sellers, a veterinarian, as the founding father of the Straight, Inc. program who said the program would like to stay clear of government financing to avoid dependence, but may eventually be forced to seek public funds.
James E. Hartz, a 27-year-old (who was erroneously identified as a clinical psychologist in this article, since he only had his bachelor’s degree at this time) from Augusta, Georgia was introduced as the first director of the new program, Straight, Inc.
This article also indicates that the program would be aimed at youths 12 to 18 years old who are not addicts, who do not have a physical dependence on narcotics, but may be “stirring worry among parents.” Then they mention that they will also treat youths who have known extended drug use, as well as court-referred drug offenders.
With regards to who supported this adolescent program the article states: “Straight Inc will attempt to fill what is regarded as a void in the community’s drug treatment system. Judges and law enforcement officials supporting Straight from its inception have argued this community lacks a program for non-addicts. Chief Circuit Judge David Patterson, a major program backer, has said young drug offenders who are not hard-core users can only be referred to overloaded probation officers because no treatment facilities exist.”
Drug program will treat youths
Drug program will treat youths was the headline in the July 28, 1976 edition of the St. Petersburg Times. This article introduced the scheduled opening of Straight Inc. too, stating that “the program was organized by a group of Pinellas County citizens who hope to fill the gap created by the closing of the Seed, Inc. last October. However, backers say Straight Inc. is not affiliated in any way with the Seed.”
Click on the link above to read how Hartz says the program will treat “the individual as a total human being” rather than concentrating simply on drug use. For example, he said youths with school problems will be directed to remedial programs.
The treatment goal of Straight, Inc. is to encourage the youth to be a contributing member of society.
It has been stated in the first two articles published about Straight, Inc., a supposed drug rehabilitation program, that straight will treat non-drug-addicted youths with drug problems, social trauma, school problems, those that stir worry among parents, and court-referred drug offenders. Straight, Inc. has also been referred to as a day care program with a foster home component.
If that seems confusing to you, you are not alone. The more you read the more curious this business becomes and that is why thousands of people who’s lives have been touched by this business have come seeking answers. These are the answers I hope you will find by reading this blog and future publications. These materials are the results of 15 years worth of research and interviews which still continue to this day.
So please, as you read, buckle up and enjoy the white-knuckled ride.