This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.
The conventional treatment of drug addiction by psychiatrists has never been conspicuously successful. In our increasingly "do-it-yourself" culture it was inevitable that drug addicts, impatient of the vagaries of "square" medicine, should claim the right to try to cure themselves in their own way and in their own choice of setting. Synanon is a lay organization founded on these principles.
This book, an interesting, well-written if unashamedly partisan piece of sociological reportage, tells the story of Synanon and its creator, Chuck Dederich, a cured alcoholic and a dynamic, practical extrovert with a strong sense of mission. Synanon minimizes all the permissive overtones of the current management of addiction, subjects its selfstyled "dope fiends" to brutal cathartic assaults on the emotions in an autocratic family situation, is uncompromisingly antiaddict and anticriminal in its approach, ridicules back-sliding, and insists on complete candor with pitiless self-examination from its members. Despite irrational communal antagonism
Harry. Synanon: The Tunnel Back. Arch Intern Med. 1967;120(3):382–383. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.00300030124034
Best of JAMA Network 2022
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.