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April 19, 1965

The Tunnel Back: Synanon

Author Affiliations

Lexington, Ky

JAMA. 1965;192(3):266. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080160086043

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The Tunnel Back is a warm and moving account of the struggles of opiate addicts to treat each other for their addiction. In the Synanon Houses addicts live together, withdraw themselves from drugs, work, and give each other "therapy" in the form of "synanons," or seminars. In these sessions, the participants may assault each other vigorously but only verbally. The synanons are designed to debunk the false ideas the addict has had about his own behavior, the joys of using drugs, etc. The Synanon organization has already received wide publicity, both good and bad. Mr. Yablonsky's book is the best available description of the Synanon technique and will be read with interest by all persons interested in drug dependence and delinquent behavior. It will probably have even greater appeal to lay audiences.

The author, a professional sociologist, lived in Synanon House at Santa Monica for a period of time and

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