Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Great Drug War now in second edition

In 1983 a young man named Fred Collins made a daring escape from a private prison annex by throwing a chair through a window and climbing out. Having been starved for months he looked like a victim from a Nazi concentration camp. Amazingly, the prison annex happened to be the home owned by his own parents! The prison was the infamous Straight, Inc. which operated juvenile torture camps in the name of drug abuse treatment all over the country. In 1984 a federal jury awarded Mr. Collins (who had been an honors student at Virginia Tech before being shanghaied into Straight) $220,000 for being falsely imprisoned. $180,000 was for punitive damages alone! Arnold Trebach is a professor emeritus of law and social justice at American University. He learned about the trial from the local papers and was aghast from what he read.

In 1986 Professor Trebach published a book about the Reagan drug war of the Eighties and of the harm it caused to ordinary Americans as well as to our concepts of freedom. Today, to his own surprise, Professor Trebach is an admirer of Ronald Reagan for his dealings with the old Soviet Empire. Nevertheless, while the Reagans claimed to believe in personal freedom, they launched a campaign that justified perverse intrusions into the very bodies and bodily fluids of American citizens. Ronald Reagan endorsed Straight brochures and Nancy visited most of the Straight torture camps. Professor Trebach called his book The Great Drug War. An entire chapter is devoted to the Collins' trial and to the abuses of Straight up to that time. Psychology Today has this to say about TGDW, "At last! A professor, attorney, and writer who offers a reasonable and realistic approach to the drug problem in America." In the 1980s Arnold Trebach (and his Drug Policy Foundation) was the only intellectual voice around exposing institutional abuse in bogus treatment centers.Now a second edition of The Great Drug War, with a new introduction, is available. We wish the new edition could have been called The Late Great Drug War but this insidious, phony war rages on. The book is published by Unlimited Publishing, LLC. It should be a required text for the cause of reform by high school and college teachers in courses dealing with health education, drug policy, criminal justice, sociology, social work, and history. See Professor Trebach's write-up at

Order The Great Drug War at today.
School book stores should order from Baker & Taylor.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The O'Reilly Factor vs. Calvina Fay

Last month Fox News Bill O'Reilly interviewed Calvina Fay of the Drug Free Foundation. The topic: medical marijuana and how easy it is to get it in states that allow for this substance. Both O'Reilly and Fay were concerned over how easy it is to obtain. And then O'Reilly mentioned Montel Williams and his plight with MS. O'Reilly said that if the cigarette helped Montel live with the pain he didn't Americacare how much he smoked. Here Calvina took an opposing view. It was obvious that Bill O'Reilly did not know that his own FOX News wrote a blistering report a couple of years ago about Straight or that Straight is now called Drug Free America Foundation--the group that his guest Calvina Fay is with. It was obvious that O'Reilly did not know that in January Montel aired a story on the horrors of Straight. Straight should have been prosecuted for insurance fraud, deceptive business practices, criminal child abuse. Instead it just changed its name and mission. Mel and Betty Sembler are now self-proclaimed drug policy experts and people like the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the US Supreme Court and Bill O'Reilly seek out their opinions on how this country should wage a war on drugs. Somebody needs to contact Bill and Montel, give them the background on DFAF and get them to hold another conference with Calvina, Mel and Betty, only this time include people like Arnold Trebach, Kevin Zeese and myself. The issue when it comes to DFAF and drug policy is not what is best for the nation. The issue is why should any reasonable person listen to anything Mel and Betty have to say--about anything. Related article: Mel and Betty on national drug policy

Mel Riddile, former National Executive Director for Straight, Inc., named 2005 Outstanding Principal in Virginia

The award was announced in the Falls Church News Press. Riddile's background is given in the article but there is no mention of Straight. It is stated, however, that Principal Mel Riddile is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Mental Health Association of Northern Virginia. This is ironic because in 1984 a federal jury in northern Virginia awarded Fred Collins $220,000 because he had been held prisoner in the Straight camp in northern Virginia that was directed by Mel Riddile. Reports have it that young Collins had looked like a starved victim of the Holocaust when he finally escaped from Straight. Riddile went on to become the national executive director for Straight. Fred Collins returned to his studies and became a Ph.D. in mathematics. And the Virginia Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse yanked Straight's license after 9 stormy years of allegations of criminal child abuse. Dr. Riddile will receive his award in June in Williamsburg, Va. We have already received emails from those who would like to protest the award's ceremony. See Fornits for a discussion. story Fred Collins' abuse fornits discussion