Posted by: AHuman | 2009-06-28

Dodgy Rehabs

When I was 17, my parents sent me to a rehab (for smoking marijuana) run by religious fundamentalists. I consider this to be the single most traumatic event of my life. A man hung himself while I was there  ' exorcisms'  were performed we were forced to undergo strenuous physical exercise. Two years after leaving this place I still regularly had nightmares from which I awoke sweating and twitching. I was quite fortunate in that I only stayed there for a month, as most of the people were there for at least 6 months. I think that if I had stayed there for that long I would have been driven to violence.
I am concerned at the lack of oversight of rehabs in this country. From speaking to others, it would seem that my experience is far from being an isolated case. Where are the regulatory authorities? Why can people be abused and indoctrinated by Bible-thumping madmen under the banner of ' treatment' ? What are the laws governing this sort of thing, and why aren' t they being implemented? The people who ran the rehab I was at belong in prison, yet they are considered by many to be saints, because they supposedly save people. But they don' t. They lie, and make huge profits off desperate people. The Church of Scientology backs at least one rehab in South Africa. Why is this legal?

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Our expert says:
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Dear A Human
You speak of a sad practice which is unfortunately still a reality in many countries. In SA rehabs are 'governed' by the Department of Social Development, who registers all these centres and is responsible for monitoring them. They must now adhere to a set of minimum norms and standards, or face closure. I can tell you that in the Western Cape a number of centres have been closed because of this. Unfortuantely centres which may not want to register formally, could sometimes continue their activities under 'a different banner' or just unofficially, even though this is illegal. This is then probably a matter for the SAPS in most cases.

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