The Trebach Report "Addicts are the scapegoat of our age."
--Reverend Terence E. Tanner, London, 1979

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  • Welcome Message from Arnold

    Phyllis and David York and Ted Wachtel, Toughlove. New York: Bantam Books, 1997.To order, click here.

    In my regular university classes I always saw to it that the readings assigned to the students covered the spectrum of opinions in the field of drugs, addiction, and social policy. Obviously that included influential works with which I strongly disagreed. Accordingly, in this cyberspace class it is also vital that attention be paid to those who support harsh measures that are central to the current war on drugs and to related policies. One of the most important ideas at the core of those current policies is Toughlove, often appearing as follows in all capital letters: TOUGHLOVE.

    The Toughlove ideology was developed several decades ago as part of the so-called parents' movement that sought to combat the effects of Sixties-style permissiveness on their children. In order to understand that parents' movement and its mirror-twin, the Toughlove movement, it is essential to read the works of Phyllis and David York and Ted Wachtel. They bill themselves as "the Founders of the National Toughlove Movement." In their important book, Toughlove, they explain how to reach troubled teens, how to control them, how to keep them off drugs and sex, and how to win them back into the family. Teenagers are seen as dominated by the common denominator of rotten behavior that might well destroy whole generations of youth unless tough and loving measures are taken.

    I studied at close hand both the parents' and the Toughlove movements in preparation for the writing of my book The Great Drug War, which was published in 1987, and is listed elsewhere in this bookstore. As I reported in that book and in subsequent statements, the experience positively chilled me. I know that many decent people believe fervently that only truly harsh measures can save our children from the threat of drugs and immorality, but what I saw and heard scared the hell out of me.

    The programs and procedures carried out in the name of saving our children have an alien tone to them. They clothe hate and intolerance in the raiment of love and caring.

    Even more scary than what I saw is the fact that these ideas still dominate the war on drugs and are held sacred by many leaders of both major parties. That includes President Bush the Younger who has openly declared on national television that he is a believer in Toughlove.

    You may not want to read this book if you prefer to avoid truly disturbing and scary ideas.

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