Teen Treatment in the Dominican Republic?

I just ran into my friend this week after not seeing her for three years. She got sent to teen rehab, too- in the Domincan Republic. We met up for coffee and she filled me in on the horrors of “treatment” in a third world country. Since her passport was taken by the directors, she had to stay- not like she was going to try and get past the guards with sawed-off shotguns posted at the gates. The walls were solid cactus, not fencing, so there was no way over or through. Each day they were forced to go to school and then change into work clothes to do hard labor, which included digging trenches and cutting sugar cane in the fields with machetes. When she misbehaved, she was whipped. None of her issues were directly dealt with, and the only counselors she saw were volunteers with no recovery experience, only religion. When she acted out and self injured with a machete, she was beaten rather than treated. She turned 18 at the facility but couldn’t leave because her passport was gone.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Since then, her drug problem naturally resurfaced as she tried to deal with the traumas she faced living in that environment. Treatment outside of the United States is a bad idea. Tough love programs in third world countries don’t hold the same human rights standards as American facilities, and teen safety is never guaranteed. Therapeutic environments have to be facilitated in the proper ways in order to achieve maximum success. Beating and breaking teens doesn’t provide them with any tools for recovery. I used to complain about having to do writing or chores at Visions. I hated having to go to group and whined about what movies we saw on our recreational outings. Now that I realize what a really bad experience my friend had, I am so grateful to my parents for ensuring my safety when I was sent to adolescent drug treatment. I had therapy, group sessions, and as good a time as you can have in rehab. I am so glad that my friend managed to make it out and I hope she finds the help she needs to repair the damage done. Please contact us for adolescent treatment alternatives.

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