CBC investigation finds majority of BC rehab clinics use 12 step model

In a report for CBC News, journalists Yvette Brend and Manjula Dufresne document their findings from calling every drug rehabilitation facility in British Columbia.

They found:

Many more — in fact the majority that we spoke to — adhere to AA or 12-step regimes, and resist harm reduction as a waste of time. They insist it's all nonsense, despite compelling science.

Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step program are religious programs that require submission to a higher power. A thorough review of all available clinical studies found no evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness.

The journalists also found that wait times, quality and range of service vary widely between centres. Some centres were even said to offer "no real programs, rules or concern" and were only interested in payment. There are few government standards and no central list of approved facilities.

Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:

This damning investigation echoes what we told MLAs on BC's health committee in June. There is an urgent need to ensure secular and evidence based treatment is the first option for people with substance use issues. This is particularly vital for vulnerable individuals who are required to follow treatment plans by the courts or their employer.

In June, Bushfield and Byron Wood presented at the Government of BC's Select Standing Committee on Health. The following week, the BC Human Rights Tribunal agreed to allow Wood's complaint to proceed. Wood lost his job for refusing to attend AA as part of a mandatory treatment plan.


What we learned phoning every drug rehab facility in British Columbia by Yvette Brend and Manjula Dufresn, CBC News

See their findings.

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