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October 25, 2009 - 10:36am

GCASA official suggests agency being captured by government to promote 'social control'

posted by Howard B. Owens in GCASA, criminal justice, substance abuse.

Interesting post from David G. Markham on the GCASA Cares blog.

We've seen comments before from readers on The Batavian that suggest that the criminal justice system is in cahoots with GCASA just to funnel substance abusers into the program to subsidize GCASA's payroll, at taxpayer expense, of course.

Markham's post suggests that there is a different attitude at GCASA.

It has been impressed on me once again that self destructive behavior should not be equated with criminal behavior. Most of the clients I evaluated were sent by the criminal justice system or other governmental bodies such as the Department of Social Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles, Probation, the courts, etc. The health care system for substance abuse disorders has been captured by government to coerce behaviors which government has determined is in its own best interest and not necessarily in the individual's. What Michel Foucault calls "governmentality" increasingly deprives individuals from their freedom. There is a fine line between whether agencies like GCASA are health care agencies whose mission is to help individuals improve their health or coercive agents of social control. It looks to me like 75% of GCASA's services are designed to exert social control and the client's right to self determination is marginalized if respected at all.

Markham has recently had to put more time into the Albion office because of the recent departure of three counselors. He's been buried in government-mandated paperwork that he says has nothing to do with ensuring good outcomes for patients.

Regulatory agencies have no viable means of measuring beneficial treatment and good outcomes, so they rely on compliance with paperwork completion as a proxy. This is a false assumption, and a dangerous way of evaluating quality care.

It sounds like something is broken in the system.

For further reading, and it's not light reading, here's the Wikipedia entry on governmentality.

Marty Stucko
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I used to think that education was the biggest business of all. But if you back that thought up a little, education is a division of government, which after all is truly the biggest business of all. The business of government is to rule and what a business it is... "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws". "Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgement and nothing can help you escape it -- that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life". Ayn Rand
daniel cherry
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In my opinion ... why must people be made to go to gcasa if they don't want help.It ruins it for the few who do.It cost so much.How much is rehab now?What is the success rate?AA is free for those who'd like help.
john bennett
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Just for the record, David Markham is the kind of executive director that rolls up his sleeve and helps out when times are tough. I have been in the field for twenty-three years and have worked for David for the past nine. His commitment to our mission, the patients and employees goes beyond his title and job duties. David is not afraid to say it like it is....and "yes" there are problems in our system. There are problems in most if not all systems. You can think what you want about GCASA or the substance abuse treatment system, but the truth is that systems like ours help thousands establish and maintain sobriety and improve the quality of life for those impacted by addiction. In the end, treatment saves lives, money and most importantly helps heal families who's loved one's suffer from addiction.
Jim Rosenbeck
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Mr Markham said; "The health care system for substance abuse disorders has been captured by government to coerce behaviors which government has determined is in its own best interest and not necessarily in the individual's. What Michel Foucault calls "governmentality" increasingly deprives individuals from their freedom. There is a fine line between whether agencies like GCASA are health care agencies whose mission is to help individuals improve their health or coercive agents of social control. It looks to me like 75% of GCASA's services are designed to exert social control and the client's right to self determination is marginalized if respected at all." I totally agree with you Mr. Markham. It takes a brave man to tell the truth.

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