DFAF has a dark past, so why has DPNA's Stephanie Haynes teamed with it?
by Wes Fager (c) 2003

It's wrong for kids to use illegal drugs; it's worse for adults to abuse children under any circumstance. In 1996 Texas Governor George W. Bush appointed Stephanie Haynes of Alpine, Texas to the board of directors of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA). [Today Ms. Haynes is president of Drug Prevention Network of the Americas (DPNA.)] Five years before, on August 8, 1991, Ms. Haynes' TCADA notified officials at Straight, Inc., a juvenile drug rehabilitation center in Dallas, of its intent to revoke Straight's license. The TCADA letter stated, "It has been determined that Straight, Inc. has consistently failed to abide by the requirements of law ... Among violations cited were: the unsupervised dispensing of medications; treating clients who did not meet Straight's criteria of being chemically dependent or being in danger of becoming chemically dependent; forcing clients to sleep in beds with other clients; failing to care for injured clients; and restraining clients with nylon rope. It was noted that at least one [host home] family failed to provide proper bathroom facilities for the clients of Straight, giving them only a container to urinate in during the night." In 1989 TCADA revoked the license of another juvenile rehab--this one called Kids of El Paso. TCADA commissioner Bob Dickson explained to a reporter on CBS' West 57th Street (1-21-89) why. "The violations that we found when we investigated," he told her, "were overwhelmingly of violations of civil rights and safety and health and people being held against their will, sleep deprivation, restraint, seclusion, things like that." Kids of El Paso had been founded by Dr. Miller Newton, Straight's former national clinical director.

But TCADA was soft on Straight-Dallas compared to John Hurst of the LA Times after his interview with Straigth spokesperson Joy Margolis. His comments are here.

And it wasn't just in Texas that Straight and Kids were accussed of child abuse. Dr. Newton ran a Kids program in California. When state authorities closed him there, Straight moved in and took over his clients. A year later state authorities closed Straight there citing, "Documentation on file indicates that there have been incidents where children have been subjected [to] unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threat, mental abuse or other actions of a punitive nature, including . . . interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping or toileting, or withholding of medication. [From a letter dated June 27, 1990 from Fred Dumont, Santa Ana, California District Manager for Dept. of Social Services to Straight, National Headquarters.] In fact, Kids and Straight were closed down all over the place. In 2000 Dr. Newton settled with one former female client for $4.5 million for abuses she sustained at Kids in New Jersey. A few months after a DFAF/DPNA planned summit in Vancouver in 2002, AARC (a Straight-legacy program in Canada) announced there had been a call to establish an AARC in Vancouver. [Straight's abuse is well documented: see professionals comment on Straight; Straight and newspaper headlines; and Straight and court cases.]

Many Straight, Inc. newcomers had faces caked with dried spit. Kids were made to soil their pants and urinate on themselves. Sick kids vomited in a common pail and menstruating girls sometimes soiled their clothes with blood. Straight literature claimed that kids used drugs because they had low self esteem, and then Straight robbed them of any self esteem they had left. So what does this have to do with Stephanie Haynes. In 1993 Straight got out of the treatment business and perhaps uses the money it gained from treatment, plus federal and private grants, to work to determine national and international drug policy. In 1995 Straight changed its name to Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF). Today Ms. Haynes, DPNA and DFAF are partners in drug policy initiatives all over the world. And George W. Bush, the man who appointed Stephanie to the TCADA, how does he fit in? DFAF founder Mel Sembler was the finance chairman of the GOP when George Bush ran for president. George Bush made him our ambassador to Italy and Ms. Haynes attended a drug policy summit at Mel's house in Rome. What's more, Mel's wife Betty, another DFAF founder, was Jeb Bush's finance cochairman. At the recommendation of DFAF, Governor Jeb Bush named a day in Florida for Betty Sembler, in part for the work she did at Straight! So Stephanie, why have you teamed up with the Semblers?