The Recovery Revolution

The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States

Claire D. Clark

Columbia University Press

The Recovery Revolution

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Pub Date: May 2017

ISBN: 9780231176385

336 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£27.95

Pub Date: May 2017

ISBN: 9780231544436

336 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.95

The Recovery Revolution

The Battle Over Addiction Treatment in the United States

Claire D. Clark

Columbia University Press

In the 1960s, as illegal drug use grew from a fringe issue to a pervasive public concern, a new industry arose to treat the addiction epidemic. Over the next five decades, the industry's leaders promised to rehabilitate the casualties of the drug culture even as incarceration rates for drug-related offenses climbed. In this history of addiction treatment, Claire D. Clark traces the political shift from the radical communitarianism of the 1960s to the conservatism of the Reagan era, uncovering the forgotten origins of today's recovery movement.

Based on extensive interviews with drug-rehabilitation professionals and archival research, The Recovery Revolution locates the history of treatment activists' influence on the development of American drug policy. Synanon, a controversial drug-treatment program launched in California in 1958, emphasized a community-based approach to rehabilitation. Its associates helped develop the therapeutic community (TC) model, which encouraged peer confrontation as a path to recovery. As TC treatment pioneers made mutual aid profitable, the model attracted powerful supporters and spread rapidly throughout the country. The TC approach was supported as part of the Nixon administration's "law-and-order" policies, favored in the Reagan administration's antidrug campaigns, and remained relevant amid the turbulent drug policies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. While many contemporary critics characterize American drug policy as simply the expression of moralizing conservatism or a mask for racial oppression, Clark recounts the complicated legacy of the "ex-addict" activists who turned drug treatment into both a product and a political symbol that promoted the impossible dream of a drug-free America.
Using an impressive array of sources, Claire D. Clark meticulously and thoughtfully traces addiction treatment from Synanon's therapeutic communities in the 1960s to the surge of treatment centers in the twenty-first century. A magnificent achievement. W. J. Rorabaugh, University of Washington and author of American Hippies
Clark provides the most authoritative account to date of the origins and evolution of modern drug treatment in the United States. Beautifully written, The Recovery Revolution embeds treatment developments in the social, political, and cultural moments from which they sprang instead of treating them out of context and provides real insight into the development of the modern, punitive system of criminal justice and the era of mass incarceration. Joseph Spillane, Professor and Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida
The Recovery Revolution recounts the origins, history, and influence of modern 'therapeutic communities' as a treatment for addiction. It argues that these shrewdly marketed programs and their charismatic leaders played a central role in the shift of American drug policy away from traditional punitive responses and towards therapeutic responses starting with Synanon in the late 1950s.... Clark's book is extensively and creatively researched, intelligently and fluidly written, and it performs a crucial task for modern drug historiography. David Herzberg, University of Buffalo
Clark presents an excellent overview of the history of American addiction treatment [and] the ideological battles within the field that continue to plague it to this day. Reason
List of Illustrations
Preface
Introduction: The Roots of Revolution
Part I: Revolution
1. Selling Synanon
2. Synanon Rashomon
Part II: Co-optation
3. Selling the Second Generation
4. Left, Right, and Chaos
Part III: Industrialization
5. Selling a Drug-Free America
6. Courts and Markets
Conclusion: The Revolution's Aftermath
Acknowledgments
Appendix: Historical Actors
List of Abbreviations
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Claire D. Clark is an assistant professor of behavioral science at the University of Kentucky. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health and Social History of Alcohol and Drugs.