Twelve-Step Coercion: Legal and Ethical Issues

Linda Sisson, RN

This presentation will cover a critical perspective of the disease concept of addiction, the history of 12-step programs, the religious nature of such programs, scientific evidence on the effectiveness of 12-step treatment as well as alternatives (not common in the US since over 90% of all treatment centers are 12-step facilities), and First-Amendment challenges to coerced 12-step attendance. Other issues discussed are defining addiction in non-disease terms, the frequency of 12-step coercion, why it can be damaging, and practical ways to prevent or resist it.

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