TEENS IN TROUBLE - 1988-12-27
Among the most controversial of these programs is Straight Inc., where youths get one very clear message from the outset. "We give them the message, 'We don't trust you,' " says Deborah Tychsen, administrator of the Springfield, Va., branch. " 'You need to earn our trust and your family's trust back.' "
The highly regimented Straight programs, using an approach called "tough love," attempt to turn around the peer pressure that led to drug use in the first place. At night, the teens live with host families whose own children are in or have been through the program. During the day, "old-comers" -- those who have been in the program longer -- watch the newcomers' every move; they are not even allowed to shower alone. They also confront the newcomers, pushing them into admitting their drug use and acknowledging that they have hurt their families -- the first step in their struggle to "gradually earn back what they have lost."
After six weeks or so, they return to their families but continue with the program as outpatients for more than a year.