This episode of Saint Jude Retreat’s Radio show features  a conversation about the troubled teen industry and addiction. The topic was provoked by investigative journalist and author Maia Szalavitz and one of her books, “Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids”.

The Intro:

The radio show opens with the radio host and Executive Director of Saint Jude Retreats, Michelle Dunbar, touching on the subject of what Saint Jude Retreats is, and what is the philosophy behind it. She also advises parents how to evaluate if a program they have chosen is safe for their teen.

In The News:

Trending topics follow, with local and national new.

  • An article on medical amnesty/Naloxone Law in the Huffington Post
  • An article on Palcohol (powdered alcohol) from The Scientific American
  • An article on Coloradans backing the legalization of marijuana, only 15% bought pot, from Washington Post
  • A remarkable story of a guy who lost more than 400lbs with the support of a virtual friend, quit drinking, from

 The Interview:

The interview with our guest  Maia Szalavitz follows. Szalavitz is an investigative journalist and has been published in TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Scientific American Mind, Washington Post, among many others. She has been awarded the American Psychological Associations Division 50 Award for Contributions to the Addictions and the Media Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. 

Szalavitz  and Dunbar discuss the topic of addiction, the troubled teen industry and all the risks that it poses for teens and their parents. Effectiveness of AA, moderation, harm reduction and marijuana legalization were also addressed. “This industry thrives because nobody believes teenagers” Szalavitz says,  “The reality is that if you are in a treatment center, and you feel compelled to lie about something as extreme as sexual abuse, that treatment center is not working for you“. She then adds “The fact that these kids are seen as so discredited and always lying really enables abuse for generations.”

The Listeners’ Questions: 

The radio show ends with Dunbar answering questions by listeners.

  • Aaron” from Saratoga Springs, age 47 : My wife has been through rehab 2 times and I currently found out that she is drinking again. We are still repaying the money from her previous rehab stay and I am considering the option to not support her if she decides to go to rehab again, because of the toll it takes on the family. She is promising she will stop drinking but I’ve heard that before. I don’t want to alienate her, but I have to think of our children too. If I have to choose to pay for college or rehab…I think I will choose to help my kids. Does that make me an awful person?
  • “Parker” from Troy, age 26:  All or my friends are married with kids, have nice jobs, houses and stuff. I didn’t go to college, I am trying to find a job and I am single. Recently I started drinking because I feel depressed when I compare myself to my peers. One morning after a particularly bad binge I realized that I am turning in my father ( he was an alcoholic). I don’t want to blow my life away like he did his but I don’t know how to get out of this either…