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stopping drugs, part 1

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(4:04) FRONTLINE follows what happens to a young woman--addicted to cocaine, speed and heroin--as she tries to stay off drugs after completing a 21-day treatment program.
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#503
Original Air Date: February 10, 1987
Written, Produced, and Directed by Hector Galan
Part two can be viewed here.
NARRATOR
Tonight, on FRONTLINE, the national crusade and the personal battle against drugs.

DEBBIE STUDER
I love dope, I mean I love the way it makes me feel, you know, I just, I mean I don't drink or nothin' else, I just shoot dope I mean, I just love the feeling you know, I love the way it makes me feel, the only thing I don't like about it is what it's cost.

NARRATOR
Addicts trying desperately to kick their habits. And only a few will stay clean.

MIKE KELLY
I always thought for a long time--treatment--well, you know, I'm gonna go through treatment and I'm gonna be cured, but, there is no such thing.

NARRATOR
Tonight, a special FRONTLINE presentation "Stopping Drugs, Part I."

JUDY WOODRUFF
Good evening.

Last September President Reagan called on all Americans to "rise up together against the cancer of drugs. "

Newspapers, magazines, and network television joined the crusade and something akin to a national frenzy took place.

By October, congress had passed a bill worth nearly three billion dollars.

Most of the money--2.4 billion dollars--will be spent on stopping drugs with state and federal police, international narcotics squads, and border patrols.

The rest will be spent on what is called "demand reduction." Mainly two programs: treatment and education.

For the next two weeks FRONTlINE examines those two elements of the president's plan. For tonight's program, producer Hector Galan spent months interviewing scores of addicts. Now that the headlines are gone, it is in the small treatment clinics like the ones you will see tonight where the real battles of drug addiction are being fought...every hour.

NARRATOR
Austin, Texas.

Ron Burns is twenty-one years old and a drug addict.

Recently convicted for credit card fraud, he's been ordered by the court to be treated for his addiction to methamphetamine--speed.

The drug treatment program will last three weeks. If he doesn't make it, he'll go to prison.

DANY PRYOR, COUNSELOR REAP:
You'll be expected to follow the rules. There's no passes, and there's no phone calls. T.V. and radios are off at 10:30. There's no sleeping between 7:00 in the morning and 8:00 in the afternoon. While you're still detoxing off the chemicals, the body tends to tire at the strangest times. We're not going to let you sleep.

NARRATOR
REAP--the recovery, evaluation, and placement program, is located on a farm twenty miles outside of Austin.

One of the counselors at REAP--himself an ex-heroin addict, is Dany Pryor.

DANY PRYOR
The people that we usually deal with out here are usually just quote "bottom of the barrel" with no other place to go, last chance, so to speak. The person that wants to change their life is going to change their life in twenty-one days out here. We're going to get something across. For some people, it's plenty of time; sometimes it's not enough. It's not that they, they want to continue using, but it's their world. Uh, that's all they've known, it's what they've grown accustomed to, the battle, the ongoing battle of, of survival. And drugs or alcohol become part of that survival and they don't. They can't just quit on their own, they need treatment.

NARRATOR
Ron's treatment is for a two-year old habit of shooting up speed--injecting himself with methamphetamine. His habit began when he dropped out of school, at nineteen.

RON BURNS
I had everything going for me, had a nice car, a nice girlfriend, out of high school, I had a scholarship to go play ball. I was going to have my chance to start as a freshman and uh, somebody went and told the coach that I was smoking marijuana, and the coach called me in and asked me about it you know, I was honest with him, said yeah, I smoked a couple of times since I, I've been here and he said uh well, we'll have to think about it. And, uh, unfortunately, they kicked me off the team. That hurt me 'cause, uh, that's what I strived for. I mean, I never missed a day of working out. I felt guilty if I missed a day of working out. Uh, I felt like I let myself down, I, I let my parents down, I let my coach down, everybody, everybody that I cared for I felt like I let 'em down. Uh, that's probably really the, the uh beginning of all this.

NARRATOR
REAP, a private non-profit treatment center, costs seven hundred and fifty dollars. Usually, public agencies pick up the cost. For many here, like Ron, the only alternative is jail.

REAP CLIENT
Nervous? We're all in the same boat...you know I, I was on probation and I was almost you know... had mine revoked. It was this or hard times...so come out here with a good attitude...learn a lot of things...I have. It's a great deal and it's a simple program...real simple.

NARRATOR
The program is based on the fifty-year old philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous. Ron's three weeks here will include education, counseling, group sessions, and round-the-clock supervision. It's a program that's used by most drug and alcohol treatment centers around the country.

To get into REAP, you mustn't have used for five days. Waiting out those five days is Mike Kelly. He's going through detox--the withdrawal stage of his addiction. At thirty-three, he's been shooting up speed for five years.

This is Mike's third try at getting into the program. But it's the first time he's gotten beyond the initial screening process, which took place the previous day.

DAVID HALLMARK, DIRECTOR,WRIGHT ROAD FARM:
Your...Your number one uh, love is speed?

MIKE KELLY:
Yes sir. I don't drink.

DAVID HALLMARK:
How much did you use yesterday? And tell me straight.

MIKE KELLY:
I'd say a half a gram probably, maybe a little less.

DAVID HALLMARK:
Pretty good little. And how much the day before? 'Bout the same?

MIKE KELLY:
The same, maybe a little more.

NARRATOR
Arrested for possession. he too faces a choice between REAP or prison.

MIKE KELLY
I hope this REAP program helps, it's you know, either this or the penitentiary so...I've got to keep that in mind too.

NARRATOR
While Mike waits to enter REAP, Debbie Studer is about to leave. She's completed the twenty-one days.

RON HOLLEY COUNSELOR, REAP:
Okay so, your treatment and rehabilitation, you had individual, you had group, you had PSAT...

NARRATOR
Debbie is twenty-two years old and the mother of three. She's been using drugs like speed, heroin, and cocaine since she was sixteen.

DEBBIE STUDER:
I didn't care about anything, the only thing I cared about was where my next shot was going to come from, you know, and I've known, and I've known for the last, let's say, the last four years, I've known I've been an addict. I know, I knew I had a problem with dope. I accepted the fact, I know that everything that's happened to me in my life is my own fault. I chose to do that to myself, you know, and that's one thing that's kind of hard for me to believe that I did it to myself, nobody did it to me, I did it to myself.

That's like peoples been telling me, "I've seen a drastic change in you at the last week...I'm so proud of you." "Thanks, I'm proud of myself," that's like you telling me...

NARRATOR
Debbie was arrested for check forgery. Like Mike and Ron, she was given the choice between treatment or jail. The three weeks she's been at REAP are the longest she's been straight in six years.

DEBBIE STUDER:
I'm leaving and I know that I'm gonna have to go out there and that temptation's there, you know, it's, it's there and I mean that's something I got to accept and I'm scared, you know.

DEBBIE STUDER:
(On the phone) Hi, Tolley, this is Debbie. Hey, you guys gonna come pick me up? Alright, I'm gonna be leaving here in a few minutes so if you guys wanna get there around nine. I want y'all to be there when I get there 'cause I don't wanna have to sit around and wait. Yea, you know where it's at? Okay.

DEBBIE STUDER
It's a progressive disease, you know, when you think that you got it, you know, it's gonna, it's gonna grab, I'm, I'm afraid really and I'm sad because out here I know I'm safe, you know, I know that, you know, that there's no drugs out here. Uh, I'm happy, uh, and I don't have to face things, you know, it's kind of like an escape, find myself, and out there it's, it's where it's all gonna begin.

NARRATOR
To help cope with the temptations of the outside world, Debbie plans to go to a halfway house for several weeks, where she can be joined by her children. She left REAP at 9:00 a.m. on July 24. She never arrived at the halfway house.

DEBBIE STUDER:
It really bothered me.

NARRATOR
After losing track of Debbie for two weeks, we found her at her parent's house.

Debbie had used within three hours of leaving REAP.

DEBBIE STUDER:
Made this block and was fixing it out on the second block and I said where can I get, where can I get some dope and she's trying to talk me out of it. No, no, you don't need it and I says you know, you can either take me or I'll go find it myself. You know, I said, I want, I want, I want a shot.

CAROL DRONEBARGER, (DEBBIE'S MOTHER)
She's very self-destructive. She's gotta overcome that and I still feel that's the drugs within her system. They're still, I don't think they can clear out of anybody's system and well it was twenty-one days, and now it's only been what five, six.

DEBBIE STUDER
Even when I was in treatment, I was thinking, I don't want to do no dope, I don't want to do no dope, but then again, I was thinking I've been in treatment for twenty-one days and there's no temptation and stuff out there and I was thinking yeah just one more time. You know.

WARREN DRONEBARGER (DEBBIE'S FATHER)
They've gotta find something to replace...this...what...they're enjoying.

DEBBIE STUDER
I love dope, I mean I love the way it makes me feel, you know, I just, I mean I don't drink or nothing else, I just shoot dope I mean, I just love the feeling you know, I love the way it makes me feel, the only thing I don't like about it is what it's cost you know.

WARREN DRONEBARGER
It's really been uh, a terrible experience. We went through some real tough times. If they're so intent on destroying themselves, why don't they just take rat poison, that's cheap or arsenic or something that's cheap and the suffering is not prolonged. You know, it's tough having...

WARREN DRONEBARGER (CONTINUED)
it's a terrible thing to say. You know, I, I'd hate to lose Debbie, but it'd be better to lose her one time permanently than lose her week after week, month after month, year after year, wouldn't it?

NARRATOR
Is what happened to Debbie the exception or the rule for addicts who go through treatment? Austin is a useful place to look for an answer. The Texas state capital, Austin has an estimated forty thousand of its half million residents in need of help for drug or alcohol addiction, and there are a wide variety of treatment programs available. Tom Hawkins sought help at one of them in an attempt to cure his addiction to speed.

TOM HAWKINS
I went from the social user, the casual snorter to a hardcore drug addict that was using a needle. It was an overnight process. It didn't take years, it took two weeks.

NARRATOR
A recovering drug addict, Tom has been clean now for two months. Before seeking treatment, he was doing shots every ten minutes. Yet as recently as two years ago he'd never even experimented with drugs.

TOM HAWKINS
When I first saw it, I didn't know what they were doing, I didn't know what the razor blade and the mirror was for, and whenever they, uh, lined it up, they pushed it at me and said, "Try this." And I, of course I said "No." In the back of my mind saying "It's not right. I shouldn't do it, I've never done it. You're not supposed to do this." And after it was pushed at me two or three times, I just, I did it because everybody - was saying "Do it, do it, do it."

RHONDA HAWKINS
For some reason, it just didn't kick in. That he was havin' a, a serious problem until I found the needles. You know.

TOM HAWKINS
Everybody that I talked to, including the people who used the needle, told me "Please don't ever use a needle, don't pick it up. Don't, don't try it. You'll ruin your life."

RHONDA HAWKINS
It really hurt me because he did it on our honeymoon. And I felt like this man is, has really got a problem.

TOM HAWKINS
I realized that I had to do something about it. That I had two choices: to leave or to try to go get help.

NARRATOR
Tom sought help from the Austin Drug and Alcohol Abuse program, ADAP.

BRAD BERGESON,ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ADAP:
Most people that have a problem with drinking or drugging, don't become addicts...

NARRATOR
Unlike REAP, ADAP is an out-patient program. But it too uses Alcoholics Anonymous principles, the six week course which meets three nights a week, costs a thousand dollars and actively encourages the involvement of the addict's family.

TOM HAWKINS
I was going to lose my job over it, I was going to lose my, at the time future wife, Rhonda. Um, I didn't have a social life. I didn't have my normal relationship with my family. At that point is when I realized that this couldn't continue.

NARRATOR
Tonight is family night and Tom's entire family is here.

BRAD BERGESON
A lot of times the family members don't have any idea that the person had that much of a drug problem. A lot of times they don't know what's involved in the treatment. We know that the family will a lot of times have anger about, uh, the fact that he's using drugs, they'll be confused, they'll be feeling hurt. And we hope to uh, help them feel better about the fact that Tom has an illness and that he's into recovery.

ADAP FAMILY NIGHT

BRAD BERGESON:
Did you ever blame yourself for his drug problem or wonder what you did wrong or how you went astray?

TOM HAWKINS' MOTHER:
Oh, certainly, anytime any of my children have done wrong, I have felt that had I had been... done something different, I realize I didn't know...a different way. I thought the way...

NARRATOR
The goal of this session is to encourage the family to deal openly with issues normally too difficult to talk about.

TOM HAWKINS' MOTHER:
I think we have a wonderful family...and Tom is more or less the head of it. I mean Tom has...I have always felt Tom has taken responsibility for all of us, even his married sisters.

TOM HAWKINS' SISTER:
The problems you caused me were the problems you were causing yourself just because I love you... but we're gonna get through it, everything is going to be all better.

TOM HAWKINS' BROTHER:
You supported me one time in my life and I'm, I'm ready to support you, just like the rest of the family, they're...we're, uh, the whole family has high respect of you because you got this disease. It doesn't decrease that respect in any way. When in fact...

TOM HAWKINS:
The process that I'm going through now, is to understand my own feelings and to understand why I would want to use. And rather than deal with those feelings in the past, I simply used drugs.. to escape those feelings. And now I'm learning to recognize those feelings, to deal with them, to try to understand them. I'm a drug addict. I'll always be a drug addict. I will...live day by day...and continue with treatment for the rest of my life.

I feel like I hurt you the most.

TOM HAWKINS' SISTER:
You were the father that I never had and I guess I always did look up to you. That will never change. I know you're sick and need help, and

TOM HAWKINS' SISTER:
I'll be there if you need me.

TOM HAWKINS:
I need you.

TOM HAWKINS' SISTER:
I'll be there.

TOM HAWKINS:
I wanna...I wanna be able to make him stop hurting.

BRAD BERGESON:
Feel guilty?

TOM HAWKINS:
I feel guilty.

BRAD BERGESON:
Ashamed?

TOM HAWKINS:
Ashamed.

BRAD BERGESON:
Feel low about yourself?

TOM HAWKINS:
I feel low. I have feelings inside and I won't show you.

TOM HAWKINS' NEPHEW:
Why?

TOM HAWKINS:
For fear I will lose more respect from you.

TOM HAWKINS' NEPHEW:
You won't...you'll never lose respect from me, Tom.

TOM HAWKINS:
I heard you say you wanna be just like me.

TOM HAWKINS' NEPHEW:
I do... You'll never lose respect from me...I love you, Tom.

TOM HAWKINS:
I love you, Michael.

BRAD BERGESON:
Tell him what your fear is? What you're afraid of? Are you afraid he may become a drug addict?

TOM HAWKINS:
Yes.

NARRATOR
So far, Tom has remained drug free.

But for Mike Kelly, the lure of the drug prevented his treatment from even beginning. After four days, waiting to enter REAP, he's back on the street. Overseeing Mike in detox was David Hallmark.

DAVID HALLMARK
When, uh, a fellow is coming off of drugs such as speed, alcohol or any of the narcotics you...you go through a compulsive stage where you really do crave the stuff. And he started experiencing this craving and he had to go back out.

MIKE KELLY
I was really trying to stay clean.

I've been using, today's Thursday, three days. this morning, that's all. I slept about four hours this morning, that's all.

NARRATOR
Back at REAP it's Ron Burns' fifth day.

RON BURNS
I feel better about being here now than I did when I was coming here be- cause you know, I didn't know what to expect and now, uh, I really kind of enjoy it, really, uh, it's not that bad.

WENDRA HILL, COUNSELOR, REAP:
It began to take more of the drug to get us to feel the way we felt up here. The tolerance began to increase...

NARRATOR
The REAP program includes daily lectures on the disease concept of drug addiction and alcoholism, one of the basic tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous. These group sessions are built around a highly structured daily program designed to provide discipline, motivation and alternatives to using drugs and alcohol.

RON BURNS
It's gonna help everybody who's here, but what it's all gonna boil down to is whether they want, you know, I can't, I can't force you to quit doing something and they can't force me to quit doing something. You know, if I don't want to quit, you know, I'm not gonna quit and that's period, you know, you have to have a self want inside for it to help you completely, but it's gonna help.

NARRATOR
Mike Kelly now faces arrest for failing to enter treatment. In the five days since he walked out, he's been using speed constantly. And having quit before he began, he'll be lucky to get another chance to enter REAP.

CELIA WATT, ADMISSIONS COUNSELOR, REAP/STRATFORD HOUSE:
What you're playing with is real serious, Mike. I talked to your P.O. and uh, he indicated to me that you're in pretty big trouble, uh, that, this is probably your last chance to uh go into an institution that doesn't have bars. Do you understand that?

NARRATOR
Celia Watt is an admissions counselor at REAP.

CELIA WATT:
I'm not into a power trip here either...

CELIA WATT
The ball's in Mike's court as far as I see it. He needs to show us some real willingness right now. We've worked with him, uh, on his entry dates several times and we may have to be a little hard on him to realize the seriousness of his treatment.

NARRATOR
Mike was given another chance at REAP, but only if he stays clean this weekend.

In Austin, with its population of five hundred thousand, there are over four hundred Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings each week. They are held seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. And there are over forty alcohol and drug treatment programs to choose from, aimed at all sectors of society, from the poor to the upper middle class. It's this last group that's been targeted by new for-profit treatment centers like the Faulkner Center where a four-to-six week in-patient stay could cost from fourteen to eighteen thousand dollars.

STAFF MEETING, FAULKNER CENTER

COUNSELOR #1:
John's had some significant problems with cocaine.

NARRATOR
Like REAP and most of the other treatment centers, the program here is based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model. None of them guarantee success.

TV ADVERTISEMENT, CNARTER LANE HOSPITAL
...Signs your son has a drinking or drug problem...

NARRATOR
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation has become big business, with intense competition for patients.

CHARTER LANE COMMERCIAL
Get professional help. Call Charter Lane Hospital. It's okay to ask for help.

NARRATOR
Charter Lane is the newest and most aggressive of these private facilities. This is the locked adolescent wing of the hospital. FRONTLINE was not allowed to film any patients here, but we were given a tour. The unit's director is Noel Love.

NOEL LOVE, DIRECTOR, ADOLESCENT UNIT, CHARTER LANE HOSPITAL
I need to emphasize that we do have twenty-four hour coverage. There is no time at all that the patients are left on their own that have no type of coverage. Uh, particularly during the sleeping time, during uh, midnight to eight or ten to eight, we do frequent room checks. That type of thing.

Right now we are on a half-court gymnasium. A lot of times adolescents as well as adults need to learn new leisure skills that are non-chemically related, uh, "can I have fun without being stoned?" That's a big question, a lot of kids are real concerned is there life after drugs?

We're real proud of the cafeteria. It's, uh, not typical of a cafeteria, it's real loud, and it's real cheerful and real bright and when I first saw it, I wasn't, uh, real convinced that I'd like it. It's grown on me, I thought feathers on the wall were strange.

We're moving much quicker than we expected, um, generally when a hospital first opens the first year is a real slow tedious process of developing a referral base and, and getting people familiar with the hospital enough to trust us to put their children in here, or their brothers and sisters or fathers or sons or whatever.

NARRATOR
Addressing a meeting of the school board is a mother who did put her son in Charter Lane Hospital, Rusty Arimes.

RUSTY ARIMES:
Dr. Rock, members of the board and guests, my name is Rusty Arimes and here with the Parents Action League to address drugs and alcohol abuse our school district. My family is a statistic of drug and alcohol because in February of this year I committed my son, Kevin, to Charter Lane Hospital for what I suspected was harmful involvement in chemical dependency.

NARRATOR
Kevin is now seventeen. He first tried marijuana when he was eight. Since age twelve, he's been using a variety of hard drugs and for the last two years, has been using up to three times a day.

KEVIN, RUSTY ARIMES'SON
I was abusing marijuana, LSD, um crystal meth, speed, um...uh, different kinds of uppers and downers, that uh, you know, I could steal from mom or you know, just about anywhere um, that's, that's mainly all the drugs that used on a regular basis.

RUSTY ARIMES
I went into his room to clean it out, and the things that I found were things that I no longer could ignore. I mean they just hit me right in the face and uh, Kevin's always been a real smart kid, he was taking accounting so he had himself a little ledger of his assets and his liabilities, but they were all in drugs. And that, and there was a lot of letters and a lot of small evidence that I should have seen before, but I didn't and I sat on his floor and cried most of the day going my God, what am I going to do?

NARRATOR
What she did was put Kevin--against his will--into treatment at Charter Lane, at a cost of almost fourteen thousand dollars.

Kevin spent forty-four days at Charter Lane and despite one relapse, it appears that so far treatment worked.

RUSTY ARIMES
I really feel that it was the only thing that would have worked, uh, and uh an in-patient incarceration if you will, was the only thing that I think I would have had any sort of impact on Kevin. At the time, I didn't know that, but I know it now more than I knew it then.

SCHOOL BOARD ADDRESS

RUSTY ARIMES:
And I know that it's going to be a long road to recovery for communities and our kids and our families...

NARRATOR
For two members of Rusty's audience, Rick and Mary Anne Smedley, Charter Lane also seemed the only hope for their son Jeff.

RICK SMEDLEY
We discovered that uh, Jeff had this problem from our daughter, uh, upon returning from a vacation trip and, and our daughter, our youngest daughter felt that uh, she needed to tell somebody about it and she confided in my wife that our son was using drugs.

NARRATOR
Jeff Smedley, eighteen years old. With access to drugs at the pizza place where he worked, he'd been using marijuana, cocaine and a designer drug called ecstasy for four months before his parents found out.

MARY ANNE SMEDLEY
Marijuana scared me when she said that, but ecstasy and cocaine, those are big time things and that's...you know, I didn't realize it was so prevalent, that so many people used that. But to hear that word just blew my mind, and I realized that we were out of our league. We...it wasn't something we thought we could approach Jeff with and try and handle ourselves. We knew we needed help for Jeff.

NARRATOR
Against his will, Jeff was put into the locked unit at Charter Lane for six weeks of treatment.

JEFF SMEDLEY
I was real scared. I didn't, I never heard, uh, really heard, I mean, I've heard about the places, but you know, I never thought that I'd ever be in one, and it was a real shock 'cause it took away my freedom which I had so much of.

RICK SMEDLEY
When he got home, uh, I guess the first thing was, you know, we sorta tried to set out some goals, and we also had a contract with Jeff, that it would be a "No Use Rule" or he'd have to leave the house.

NARRATOR
Such a contract is suggested by many treatment programs as a way of enforcing drug abstinence. But after three weeks, Jeff was using again and was kicked out.

MARY ANNE SMEDLEY
We said to him, "You know our contract, and you, you signed it, or the day that you signed it, or the day you started using, you should have been looking for a place to go, because, you know, our contract says that, 'No use in our house.' And if you do use you're out."

JEFF SMEDLEY
I don't think that my problem was really that bad and I think, it wouldn't have gotten to where it's gotten today if that wouldn't have happened...if I hadn't been kicked out.

RICK SMEDLEY
The disease is that far advanced that now, uh, I guess, uh, he's contagious to other kids. And being around other kids, and, and uh, if he's selling, then it's an easy escape.

MARY ANNE SMEDLEY
We've had, um...our daughter has told us that yesterday and the day before, he was at school at lunch time, at the high school, and of course he has no legal right to be on the grounds of the high school 'cause he's not a student. And it scared us because we know he used to sell at the school, and we're wondering if maybe that's what he's back into now. And in fact we are going to call the principal and tell him to be on the look out for Jeff, and you know, I mean they know of Jeff's problem before, but make them real aware that he has been on the campus. We feel like we need to protect the other kids.

NARRATOR
The Smedleys' total investment, was almost fourteen thousand dollars.

JEFF SMEDLEY
I'm not quite sure what they've got out of it. I know, I, they haven't gotten their money's worth out of it with me because it hasn't got them really anywhere with me. Originally, it was for me. Eventually, it was for them.

RICK SMEDLEY
It got us healthy.

MARY ANNE SMEDLEY
It was worth it. It was worth every dime.

RICK SMEDLEY
It was worth it. Because we're healthy.

RUSTY ARIMES
The treatment, that and continuing, you know, in other programs has just been great for me. Just super.

NARRATOR
Alcoholics Anonymous describes addiction as cunning, baffling and powerful, since there is no precise science to determine who will make it and who won't. Ron Burns has now been at REAP for ten days.

RON BURNS
Everyday I go along I learn something new and I feel a little bit better about myself and I...I keep, I guess I'm growing in a respect of getting better. I think it's helping me a whole lot.

NARRATOR
Jay Arkeen is nearing the end of the program. Unlike Ron, he entered REAP voluntarily. At twenty-six, he was a successful entrepreneur, with over half a million dollars in real estate and two retail businesses. Within three months, he lost it all to drugs.

JAY ARKEEN
I did speed and I had been awake for such a long period of time, a week or ten days or something and I did a shot and I still fell asleep and when I woke up about seventeen hours later, the, the needle was there and I was still just slumped over in the same position I was in when I went to sleep. I woke up that morning and I saw that and it was such a horrible grotesque picture that I said that I've really gotta do something serious, I've got to do whatever it takes. Before that I was always strong enough to or thought I was strong enough to say, uh, I don't need that, I can quit anytime I want to, I can do anything I want to.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

JAY ARKEEN:
We need to stop and snap. We are not thinking right, we have been under for a long time...most of us...me for years under the influence of...

NARRATOR
Amy Von Minden, twenty-three, divorced, once a pharmacology student. She has used drugs since she was fifteen...for the last year, heavily.

AMY VON MINDEN
I was shooting valium, I liked the high from it, but then I'd have to do cocaine on top of it to keep me awake and then, but I liked that mellow, but awake feeling I got from the mixture of the two.

NARRATOR
Amy chose to enter REAP on her own.

AMY VON MINDEN
A friend and I went out one night and we were at a bar and I woke up after sleeping for about an hour and a half and I didn't have my drugs and they were left in the parking lot of the bar and at 7:00 in the morning on one Saturday morning, I was in the parking lot looking around for my drugs. I found them and I, I realized that this is ridiculous, look what I'm doing, it's crazy and so that's when I went and I sought help.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS TAPE
Page forty-four, chapter four...

NARRATOR
Part of the REAP experience is learning the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, which attempts to achieve sobriety through a spiritual awakening.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS TAPE
If you find that you cannot quit entirely or if when drinking_you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic, such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster, especially if he is an alcoholic of a hopeless variety. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to take.

NARRATOR
The twelve-step program stresses mutual support, living one day at a time and the need for major change.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

DANY PRYOR:
You act as though you've lived an entire fuckin' life, you haven't even gotten close. And then when we ask you to change your life, you act like we're asking you to do something you've never done before in your life. All you did, all you've been doing is changing your life. Some of you lived on somebody's couch and car, out on the street wearing somebody else's clothes for the last ten years. And then we ask you to change your life a little bit, you go, "Well, shit, I don't know if I can." That's all you've been doing... is changing. I know--I screened a lot of you and you were crying, sweatin' and prayin' to get some place. You just didn't want to stay there...ten days later, you're goin', "Oh, fuck it, it wasn't that bad." You get a few meals in you and a few shots and get that shakin' to stop, and "it ain't that bad," you know. Now, you wanna laugh at that, but that's not something you laugh at because come, some of you jerkoffs in here absolutely think you can come into my office and sit down and tell me some of the fuckin' bullshit that comes out your mouth about some of the shit that goes on in your life and still gonna tell me it's okay...and when I tell you you're full of shit, you freak out. You absolutely freak out. You didn't get out here because Cheerios package you opened up and there's a free trip to REAP. You have fucked your lives up...bad. Nobody else did...you didn't need any help. Some of you worked overtime to get here. You didn't just do it in an eight hour day, you did it overtime, and then you drug some people with you. "Come on, come on with me, I'm fuckin' mine up, I'm fucking yours up too. Come on mom, dad...all that money you saved for the rest of your life, give it up, just give it up. Come on baby, take them kids, put that kid over there with grandpa, we'll fuck him later...we'll get him." And what just gets me on the shortends I when I have a junkie in my office want to sit there and try to tell me something rational about them using dope. It's the most...it's, it's fuckin' illegal, and ain't nobody in this room in a position to change those rules. And want to tell me why they got to where they're using heroin or why cocaine was so important in their lives, and my only reply is, you don't live on the planet Earth...you don't and haven't been here for some time. Twenty-one days ain't nothing for you, nothing. You're probably gonna see what yourself looks like before thirty days...six months, before you go, "shit, where have I been?" Where are you at now?...rehab. You're in rehab now. You've made a choice, some of you mean it. "I'm tired of it," and you, you don't mind saying' it and knowing what you're saying, you don't mind saying, "I'm here, I don't want to go back."

NARRATOR
Mike Kelly has finally made it to REAP. It's his last chance to comply with the terms of his probation.

Ten days later...and Mike's still here. It's the longest he 's been clean in over five years.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

WENDRA HILL:
That fits with our disease real well, there is no cure for this disease. Recovery is possible through abstinence and change.

MIKE KELLY
We've had, a spiritual group, uh, grief process. We had a real good one on grief process, which brought a lot of stuff out in my mind. There's it's a whole bunch of input and a lot of stuff to think about.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

WENDRA HILL:
The whole reason we smoke it is to change the way we feel and the way we think. There's a definite chance that it will change the way you think to the point where you.

MIKE KELLY
They were telling us some statistics in one class that, uh, really got me pretty good. It said, you know, so many percent of you are going to end up dead. So many percent are going to be using again within a month. Some of you'll come back. Some of you won't. Some of you will be institutionalized. There were percentages. And it gives you chills all over, you know, when you think about it. I hope I'm not gonna be one of the ones that are institutionalized or dead. Or come back. I hope I can work it. Because I'm really into the program and I like it. I'm learning. Something I've missed for a long time, probably learning.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

WENDRA HILL:
I used to think that if I drank peppermint schnapps, it'd my breath smell real minty and nobody would know. That's not true. Going to the bathroom and then you come out of the bathroom and they wonder why you're not hungry...

ROY BURNS:
...smoke a quick joint on the way home.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

DANY PRYOR:
A lot of us are flung into situations we didn't ask for..but at some point socially speaking we didn't know, we didn't say no. I mean you can say no.

NARRATOR
Another ten days have passed.

MIKE KELLY
I feel good, I feel clean, I feel sober, I feel like I don't wanna use anymore. And, I want to get on with my life and make something of it. I want another business. I want another shop. But I don't want to rush it. And, and get my days unbalanced, and my life unbalanced again by working too much. And have a relapse. I've got to take my time and ease back into it.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

DANY PRYOR:
Out here in twenty-one days there's a good chance that the first few days, we're not gonna want to deal with anything like that cause we are not aware of it. We're not thinking about it. It's the farthest thing from our minds...

MIKE KELLY
I always thought for a long time, treatment, well, you know, I'm gonna go through treatment and I'm gonna be cured. But, there is no such thing. There is no such thing. I've just got tools to work with, and a little knowledge now that I didn't have about my problems.

GROUP SESSION, REAP

DANY PRYOR:
Simple thing of being able to get back to where emotion controls intellect. When you walk in there and she's gone, there's a note saying I told you I'd leave if...

MIKE KELLY
I've had a lot of compulsion but I'm learning how to control it a little better...

NARRATOR
Having completed the three week course, Mike's ready to leave. His counselor is Ron Holley.

RON HOLLEY
I see a great, uh, a great change in him because uh, he was really pretty miserable when he came in here. He sees some uh, light in the end of the tunnel.

RON HOLLEY:
What, what rewards have you already started getting...just while you've been out here?

MIKE KELLY:
Just feeling better, you know. I actually get up and, in the morning and look outside and go "damn it's nice to be alive.

RON HOLLEY:
Happy, happy to get up...

MIKE KELLY:
Yeah.

RON HOLLEY:
Wake up.

MIKE KELLY:
Yeah.

RON HOLLEY:
Instead of coming to.

MIKE KELLY:
Coming to...

RON HOLLEY
He has as much of a chance as he'll give himself. But, uh, methamphetamines is a sneaky drug. Of course, they all are. And the obsession will come on when we least expect it. He's aware of all those things. And if he'll just remember then, uh, he'll, he'll go on, he'll go on in his recovery.

NARRATOR
Mike's continued recovery now depends on successful completion of the next phase...a three month stay at a halfway house in town. It'll be his first time on his own since entering REAP.

Mike arrives at Stratford House. This will be his home for the next three months. Here, Mike will be required to observe strict house rules, find a job and regularly attend A.A. meetings.

Also entering Stratford House today is Amy Von Minden.

AMY VON MINDEN
I'm gonna try my hardest, because there's no way and I, I, you know, I think about it that I can go back to living the way I was doing and lying to myself the way I was. It was...it was ridiculous and there's no way that I can go back to that. And I haven't laughed and been happy straight in so long...it feels good and I want to keep it.

AMY VON MINDEN:
(On the phone) Um, here at Stratford House for a couple months...get an apartment. Uh, that's history, Cathy...

AMY VON MINDEN
I'm gonna have to stay away from the places and the people, and all the things that I was with and dealt with before. I'm gonna have to stay away from that, which is gonna be very hard, it's gonna to be a whole new life. You know, you've got to adjust to everything that's new. I know this is a new start for me and I'm very excited about being able to try it and do it again. A lot of people don't get second chances. A lot of people go till they're gone.

NARRATOR
Six weeks have gone by. Mike is back at home. His planned three-month stay at the halfway house last only four hours.

MIKE KELLY
I thought I could, you know. I thought I had enough willpower but it's just an uncontrollable thing in my life right now. I don't know. I can't stop.

I've quit for a few days...thinking about treatment and reading my books. I eventually turned right back around and do it again. I don't...I don't know. They...I see people that have kicked it and talk about kicking it, but it's not as easy as just go to treatment and that's it. You're... you're done.

You know, I feel a lot more guilty using, you know. I think about what they taught me and stuff. What they showed me about myself. But, you know, I don't...right now, I don't give a shit. I guess I'm just tired...I don't know.

INTERVIEWER:
Try to describe every feeling that's going through you right now.

MIKE KELLY:
Just, uh...I need to do something. I need to go work on my car something. There's no...there is no feeling. I guess that's why you do it. You just block everything out. You don't think about anything, except you need to do something. You get chest pain, your heart works so hard, you know. Just unreal pulse. Just real fast.

INTERVIEWER:
Do you ever get scared?

MIKE KELLY:
Um...I don't well, yeah. I get scared, you know, when I do too much. Sometimes I do too much. And like, I can't move, you know. It's all I can do to just sit still and talk myself into not dying. Because you feel like you're gonna die. I always taken' to the limit though. I like...I like to go to the edge and look over. But one of these days, I'm going to fall off.

NARRATOR
Amy Von Minden lasted almost four weeks at the halfway house, until she was discharged after admitting she was using again.

AMY VON MINDEN
I felt guilty after I did it, but, um, I guess not guilty enough, or not bad enough. Um, I really wasn't thinking anything at the time. It was just there and so...if it wasn't there, I would have found it. I wanted to use. I thought I had reached bottom before, but I guess I hadn't gone down far enough for me to, to stay straight.

NARRATOR
Treatment was not enough to combat the power of Amy's addiction but she plans to try again.

AMY VON MINDEN
I still think there is hope for me somewhere down the line. There's got to be a light at the end of my tunnel, I hope. Um, I feel that I'll get it together and I'll do it someday. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday I will, and just hope that someday is just not too far away...way, way off.

NARRATOR
Debbie Studer was given a drug test by her probation officer a week after leaving REAP.

DEBBIE STUDER
I went in to, uh, to turn in my specimen and report to my probation officer. And went upstairs to wait for him to talk to me, and when he come up he had the two officers there to arrest me.

NARRATOR
Although Debbie stayed clean for more than a month after the drug test, her probation was revoked and she was sent to the Travis County Jail to await sentencing.

DEBBIE STUDER
I'm gaining things that I had lost through drug use. You know, it's like, yeah, I might go down. And I might do time. But, you know, I'm still... when I come out, you know, I still know that I'm gonna have things, you know. I don't feel like the...living in, you know.,.I don't...I...I want to live today, where before I just wanted to die, you know. I want to see, you know...I want to...I want to see things, you know. I want to experience things, you know. I want to have things. Where before, I didn't care. You know, even being in jail it's...to me, it's still worth it.

NARRATOR
After forty-four days in the County Jail, she was transferred to Gatesville Women's Prison to serve a sixty-day sentence.

After staying two months at REAP's halfway house, Jay Arkeen now has a job on a construction site, his own apartment, and hasn't used drugs for a hundred days.

JAY ARKEEN
I wouldn't only suggest treatment to other people, I would really urge that they go through treatment. It's three weeks of your life when you can forget everything out there, when you can learn how to change your whole life around, you know, how to be a whole different person, how not to need that garbage anymore in your life.

Treatment and the whole thing is nothing but a con job to me that I pull on myself, but it's okay because it's whatever works to keep me clean. Whatever it is, if it's brainwashing, if it's, which it's not, but whatever it is, I don't care if...if they could tell me it was anything, it's keeping me clean today. I don't have a needle in my arm and that's the thing that's the most...that's what I went there for.

NARRATOR
So far, treatment has worked for Jay. But he is one of the few--perhaps only one in thirty-six...who win their battle with addiction after a single course of treatment.

But those who make it can go on to live productive lives. REAP counselor Dany Pryor, once a two hundred and fifty dollar a day heroin addict, has been clean now for six years.

Like Dany, REAP counselor Wendra Hill went through the program twice. She hasn't used speed now for five years.

And it took Ron Holley, Mike's counselor, three treatments to conquer his alcoholism.

DAVID JONES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REAP/STRATFORD HOUSE
We're dealing with a disease of denial. Many of 'em go back to the street and die. Many of 'em have got...obtained something through this program, that realizes there is a better life for 'em. And we will see them in AA or NA or another support group and will end up making, making it on their own. Uh, it's very difficult to track someone as we try to, that has failed in the program. But, uh, we don't ever give up on anyone.

NARRATOR
REAP hasn't had an empty bed now in over eight years. Every Tuesday and Thursday, new clients check in as others leave. They nearly all leave with a new knowledge of themselves and of their addiction but the fact is that for most of them, it's still not enough.

Ron Burns checked out of REAP after completing his three-week stay.

RON BURNS
I feel a whole lot different. I feel better physically. I feel a whole lot better mentally. I got a lot of stuff out of my mind. I'm dealing with things again.

Now I see that I can make out of my life what I want to make out of it. And uh, I've got a chance here to go for it and, and if I don't, I'll be a fool, you know.

I got a disease. That's what they call it and that's what it is. A disease. And I'm never...I'm never going to be cured, you know. Uh, I could go out and use tomorrow. I don't want to go use tomorrow. I'm...I'm just not gonna use today.

NARRATOR
Ron arrived at Stratford House to begin his three-month halfway house program on the morning of August 21st.

CHECK-IN, THE STRATFORD HOUSE

ADMINISTRATOR:
This afternoon at 4:00, y'all have House orientation to go over the rules, the regulations of the House.

RON BURNS:
At 4:00, where's this at, at 4:00?

ADMINISTRATOR:
At 4:00 it'll be in the dining room, okay. Okay, but at 3:00 your counselors will be in...so come look...Who's Charles Shores?

CHARLES SHORES:
I am.

ADMINISTRATOR:
Okay, you're in room eight. We don't have a key yet, we'll have one made. Okay, your counselor is Ed Cambio.

NARRATOR
On his fourth day at the Stratford House, Ron failed to make curfew. He's not been heard from since.

JUDY WOODRUFF
Since our program was completed, we've found out about Ron Burns. After leaving REAP, he's been in jail three times on a variety of charges, including burglary and probation violation. We don't know if he's using again.

This program has been about the difficulties of treatment, about the realistic chances of kicking the habit, and staging clean. It's clear, it's very hard.

The alternative is to persuade people to stay off drugs in the the first place--this in a culture saturated with talk of drugs, of alcohol and the pleasures of escape.

Next time, on FRONTLINE, we'll look at prevention through education. The Department of Education is spending an extra $100 million this year on programs for the young. Can they help? Can they really persuade teenagers to stay clean?

Please joint us for part two of "Stopping Drugs."

I'm Judy Woodruff. Good night.

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