Drug charities attack TV showdown

Discussion in 'Drug Policy Reform & Narco Politics' started by Abrad, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Abrad

    Abrad R.I.P. Platinum Member & Advisor R.I.P.

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    Two charities have criticised Channel 4 for tricking a pair of heroin addicts into confronting their families

    In the documentary Intervention: We're Coming to Get You two addicts are told they will be disowned by their relatives unless they seek treatment.

    DrugScope branded the programme "shameful, unethical, appalling", while Addaction said it used could lead to "division, tension and mistrust".

    Channel 4 said it was "a last and desperate attempt" to save their lives.

    The addicts, who are referred to as Richard and Anna, are told they are taking part in a show dealing with their dependency on illegal substances.

    But they are secretly lured into a meeting with their families, who say they will never see them again unless they check into a rehabilitation clinic immediately.

    "As a basic premise, trying to guilt trip someone like that is not the way to get people into treatment," said Harry Shapiro from DrugScope.

    "This seems to be a very cheap and gimmicky piece of reality TV."

    He went on: "The fact that the addicts are being set up in this way seems very distasteful and unethical and unlikely to succeed in the long run."

    A spokesman for Addaction claimed the approach could not work because "trust, mutual respect and support are key for anyone seeking help for a drug and alcohol problem".

    However, Channel 4 insisted the mothers of the heroin addicts had tried everything else to help them.

    The parents were taking part - and enlisting the help of "radical" addiction specialist Tracey Towner, who features in the show - as "a last and desperate attempt to stop their children killing themselves", a spokesperson said.

    "Intervention therapy may be the subject of debate, but it is a valid technique that is well established in the US and growing in use in the UK.

    "All the participants gave their full consent to take part in the film about the process."

    The documentary will be broadcast in September.