What professionals say about the Straights 

They run very close to really performing psychic murder.
Marge Robertson,  executive director of the Cincinnati Chapter of the ACLU,  speaking of Straight, Inc., from Cincinnati Post
Everything I see smacks of child abuse.
West Palm Beach, Florida Circuit Judge Michael Gersten commenting on Growing Together,  a Straight-descendent program in Lake Worth, Florida [The Palm Beach Post, 3-9-90, p. 8a] 
Several children attempted suicide while staying with host families, but the attempts were not reported and the children were not treated. . . Some teen-age clients were forced to reveal their sexual fantasies during group sessions. Others were subjected to "spit therapy," where children would spit on each other to reduce their egos.
Jacqueline M. Ennis, formerly head of licensing for Virginia's Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, speaking about Straight. [Saint Petersburg Times, 7-31-91] 
It is too easy for tyranny to eclipse therapy when teenagers have authority over other teenagers.
David Rosenker, Program Director, Louis House North, Blaine, Minn. The [Bergen] Record, 7-26-87, p. A17.
Straight officials have generously allowed me to witness some of their group sessions firsthand . . . I believe that Straight's treatment can be fairly compared with 'brainwashing' in prisoner-of-war camps as documented by Brown (1963, chap. 2)*. Thus, procedures that would be reprehensible in any context outside of a prisoner-of-war camp are considered acceptable 'treatment' in the case of drug addiction.
Dr. Bruce K. Alexander of Simon Fraser University in Peaceful Measures: Canada's Way Out of the 'War on Drugs', p. 75; [*Techniques of Persuasion: From Propaganda to Brainwashing by J. A. C. Brown
So we were very concerned about a program which we looked at as being something of a private jail, utilizing techniques of torture and punishment which even a convicted criminal wouldn't be subject to. . . and I use their terminology--restraint techniques, it would be our terminology that it was child abuse and torture--was directed by Miller Newton.
David Levin, formerly assistant state attorney for Sarasota, Florida commenting on Straight's former national clinical director Reverend Doctor Miller Newton on CBS' West 57th Street (1-21-89)
Straight conducts a program that practices psychological coercion and physical assault against children under the guise of drug and alcohol treatment.  I believe there is reason to fear for the physical and mental safety of any child sent to the program.
Dr. Richard Ofshe,  author and thought control specialist at the University of California, Berkeley
She seemed quite fearful and seemed to project an image of a child whose spirit and sense of confidence had been totally crushed.
Coral Springs psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Moskowitz commenting on a 15 year old girl named Dana who recently got out of a Straight- descendent program called Growing Together in Lake Worth, Florida [The Palm Beach Post, 3-9-90, p. 8a]
Straight represents one of the worst excesses created by the drug war environment,  where 'anything goes' kind of intolerance toward drug users prevails.  It is a cult. plain and simple,  of people who seize on parent's frustrations with their youngsters and then subject the kids to torture and brainwashing to make them obedient and drug-free.
Dr. Arnold Trebach, attorney,  author and  professor emeritus of criminal justice at American University and founder of  The Drug Policy Foundation
. . . the violations that we found when we investigated 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.
Bob Dickson, Commissioner, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse on CBS' West 57th Street (1-21-89) explaining why the state of Texas revoked the license for KIDS of El Paso--a Straight descendent program
The development which takes place is best described as a �resocialization process.' The individual is, in a fashion, �brainwashed' to give up his old deviant patterns.
Former Synanon board member and U.C.L.A. sociologist Dr. Lewis Yablonski commenting on the process of attacking old patterns in a synanon AKA a "confrontational-type" therapeutic community. From The Tunnel Back by Lewis Yablonski, p. 261. [Synanon Church is the progenitor of the Straight/Seed/KIDS peer conducted, attack therapy concept.]
. . . it was "almost unbelievable" that the director of the program,  a man with "supposedly" strong credentials,  would allow and condone the use of violence.  "We find the institution highly questionable and someone should look into it.  We think there's something radically wrong."
Secaucus, New Jersey Municipal Judge Emil DeBaglivo referring to Miller Newton (Straight's former national clinical director)  upon convicting three of Newton's counselors for beating a client at Kids of North Jersey.  "We were basically breaking his will,"  one of the counselors admitted;   also stating that Newton "did tell us to do it."  [The Record (Hackensack), New Jersey, 12-24-93, p. D01].

Here is Nancy Reagan on national TV promoting Miller Newton's book Not My Kid and a book by  Straight consultant Bob DuPont.   Former Drug Czar Carlton Turner endorses the front of Newton's book Not My Kid with these words:  "Not My Kid should be required reading for any parent concerned about their children's future."

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.
Letter dated June 27, 1990 from Fred Dumont,  Santa Ana, California District Manager for Dept. of Social Services to Straight,  National Headquarters explaining why state authorities ordered the program closed. 
Loebenberg was taken to a great hall filled with Jews who were given no food, no water, no toilet facilities�and no idea what was to be done with them.
A 1989 quote from a lengthy article about how one 14 year old boy had escaped the Nazi Holocaust. [Saint Petersburg Times, 9-5-89, National, p. 1A]  That little boy was Walter Loebenberg who went on to found the Tampa Bay Holocaust Museum and, paradoxically,  to be President of Straight Foundation, Inc.  Lied to upon entering Straight, students did not know what was going to be done to them in a place that often regulated their food and water intake.  Straight students and inmates of Nazi concentration camps were often denied the right to defecate in private. 
. . . Her current reports of drug use, in my opinion, would not warrant ongoing intensive treatment but we should continue to evaluate her. . .
Written opinion by a Straight-Springfield consulting psychiatrist on October 27, 1989 regarding a client named Nancy (not her real name) on her first year anniversary of treatment. Two weeks later an adult counselor and six old comers took Nancy into a timeout room where some spat on her, screamed obscenities at her, and bent her finger backwards until it touched her wrist--and broke!  But they were unable to get her to admit  she was a drug addict (because she wasn't) and so two and a half months later, after 16 months of  evaluation, she was finally released.  In 2001 Nancy mysteriously fell four floors from her apartment window killing her instantly.  A tattoo on her wrist read DISCIPLINE.  [In 1989,  the National Geographic (of all magazines!) reported that since 1984 the percentage of "Straight's clients admitting to cocaine use has risen from about 25 to more than 75 percent."]
[Straight is] a fascist dictatorship. . . They've got all the strong points and bad points of totalitarian groups.
Dr. Stanton Peele, world renowned addiction specialist
According to sworn testimony, Straight often left restrained group members sitting in their own urine, feces or vomit until suitable concessions were extracted.
From Treatment, Thought Reform, and the Road to Hell by Dr. Barry Beyerstein, a leading Canadian researcher on opiates and brain functioning who operates a laboratory at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada
When a person is subjected to coercive persuasion without his knowledge or consent . . . [he may] develop serious and sometimes irreversible physical and psychiatric disorders,  up to and including schizophrenia, self-mutilation,  and suicide.
California Supreme Court,  United States v. Lee [455 U.S. 252, 257, 258 (1982)
People thought we were taking away children's rights. But we saw it just the opposite - giving them back their rights by helping them get off drugs.
Mel Sembler, Straight's founder, Florida Trend Magazine, May 1997>
Straight is not a health care organization.  It is a business posing as a health care organization and as a result hundreds of kids have been hurt.  All of the business operations consist of fraud, double and triple billing of health insurance companies at the same time and they bill government grants while telling parents they are not the recipients of any kinds of government money.
Janet Kennedy, Ph.D. Pharmacy,  MS, Hospital Administration, of Austin, Texas after a private, three year investigation of Straight.  [Channel 12, Eye on Tampa Bay Show, 1992]
In 1992 the Georgia Department of Human Resources Office of Regulatory Affairs cited Straight - Atlanta for:
*Hiring unqualified staff members
*Ignoring client complaints about being denied water, sleep and medical attention.
*Violating state and federal laws on dispensing medications.
*Not evaluating and documenting a policy that allows clients to restrain other clients.
The Atlanta Journal, April 3, 1992, p. E1. 
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.
A letter to Straight - Dallas dated August 8, 1991 from the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse notifying Straight of the Commission's intent to revoke Straight's license. Straight - Dallas voluntarily closed on October 31, 1991 citing economic reasons for closing. The Irving News, December 1 - 4, 1991.
Straight, like many religious cults, has maintained its right to conceal its aims from potential inductees. . .By any objective standard, the activities of Straight Inc. and its imitators run afoul of these criteria [Susan Andersen's Four Criteria for inferring cult-like deceptive practices]. While Straight may be among the worst offenders, it is far from alone.
From Treatment, Thought Reform, and the Road to Hell  by Professor Barry L. Beyerstein, a leading Canadian researcher on opiates and brain functioning who operates a laboratory at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.
We must make every effort to end drug and alcohol use among our young people and Straight has an excellent record of success in meeting this goal... That's what organizations like yours are about--our children, our families, and our future.
President Ronald Reagan [from a Straight pamphlet].
As one parent to another,  I know there's no hurt a parent can be given that can equal that that your child can give you...But I'm proud of you  because you have supported your children and given them the love they need.
Nancy Reagan, a frequent visitor to Straights all over the country, from a Straight brochure  
[SAFE]  fits my model of a destructive, mind-control cult.
Steve Hassan--internationally known expert on mind control commenting on the Straight-descendent program SAFE, Inc. in Orlando, Florida.
SAFE  is a very successful substance abuse recovery program and is a valuable tool in assisting our youth in overcoming their drug and alcohol dependency.
Florida Republican Governor Jeb Bush from a letter dated September 30, 2000 and  written even though he had been advised that a Florida TV station was doing a controversial series on the Straight descendent program SAFE.  Betty was Jeb's finance co-chairman.  Jeb Bush declared August 8, 2000 Betty Sembler Day in Florida  in part for her work work with the Straights.
Other forms of behavior modification techniques employ intensive "encounter sessions" in which individuals are required to participate in group therapy discussions where intensive pressure is often placed on the individuals to accept the attitudes of the group. . . Once the individual is submissive, his personality can begin to be reformed around attitudes determined by the program director to be acceptable. Similar to the highly refined "brainwashing" techniques employed by the North Koreans in the early nineteen fifties, the method is used in the treatment of drug abusers. . . "The Seed", a drug abuse treatment program in Florida that, until recently, received funding from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, is based on a similar philosophy.
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND THE FEDERAL ROLE IN BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION by the Committee on the Judiciary,United States Senate, Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, November, 1974,  pp. 15 - 16 describing a juvenile drug rehab program in Fort Lauderdale, Florida called The Seed.  [In 1975 The Seed closed all of its expansion programs. In 1976 Melvin and Betty Sembler, along with some other former Seed-Saint Petersburg, Florida  parents, opened Straight--Saint Petersburg. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, under the directorship of former Drug Czar Robert DuPont,  had administered a $1.4 million dollar grant to The Seed.  Later he became a paid consultant for Straight and testified for Straight in many civil cases that Straight found itself in.]  Link at: http://www.thestraights.net/images/seed-Ervin-brainwash.gif
. . . In some instances they were locked in rooms by themselves and denied food for days. They also reported that they were made to sit in chairs without speaking while listening to others berate them for hours. . . I recently interviewed a child that would be diagnosed as an emotionally unstable personality with paranoid overtones. The use of the above noted practices with this kind of child could easily result in a precipitation of major mental disturbance. Fortunately this child was able to run from the Seed before very much damage had been done to her psychologically. She did manifest some confusion and paranoid ideation which she felt was a result of the manner in which she was treated by the Seed personnel. I have also interviewed children who made suicide attempts following their running from the Seed. Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and despair were in evidence.
Letter from  Jeffery J. Elenewski, Ph.D., clinical psychologist,  The Children's Psychiatric Center, Dade County, Florida to   Mr. Alex Miller , Youth Coordinator, Florida State Drug Abuse Program, Miami which is included as part of the 1974 U.S. Senate report on Straight's predecessor:  The Seed.
It [Straight] has many of the poor points of The Seed and few of the good points.  If I had to recommend one I�d recommend The Seed.
Straight board member Theodore Anderson  upon joining the ranks of  a half dozen  board members,  almost all former Seed parents,   who resigned within the first 16 months of Straight's founding. 
. . . kids trying to hurt themselves, slashing their wrists because they found the program so hard to cope with, and those sorts of things, along with the fact that children who are at the program have no contact with their parents where they can tell their parents, "Gee! Something's going wrong here."
Bette McClure of Massachusetts' Office for Children on Stoughton TV Checkpoint News Center 9, c. July 1991, a week after OFC's decision not to renew Straight - Boston's license because of findings of "abuse, strip searches and a dangerous environment for the kids at Straight".
Straight is not a health care organization. It is a business posing as a health care organization and as a result hundreds of kids have been hurt. All of the business operations consist of fraud, double and triple billing of health insurance companies at the same time and they bill government grants while telling parents they are not the recipients of any kinds of government money.
Janet Kennedy, Ph.D. Pharmacy, MS, Hospital Administration, of Austin, Texas after a private, three year investigation of Straight. [Channel 12, Eye on Tampa Bay Show, 1992]
. . . we left there [Straight-St Pete], on the way back I said--we walked in the motel room and I remember saying, "It's a cult. There is something about this place, this is a scary place.
Sworn court deposition of Patricia Crandall, a drug addiction specialist from Minnesota, on May 7, 1983 for the Fred Collins' trial. Ms. Crandall had accompanied Sharon Wegscheider to do an evaluation of Straight at Straight's request. She is relating her comments at the time to Ms. Wegscheider.�

Because the children and young adult peer staff are turned loose with a high degree of authority, moderated by like-thinking executive staff, it felt to me, in another time and another country, that Hitler had fired their imagination and captured their thoughts. And that I, as a Jew, could be the target of more than their emotional fury with a snap of a finger of their guru. It felt like a cult and a deprogramming, not a confrontational program.

Sandy Levy Barbero, M.S.W. (today a LCSW) from her report on her visit to Kids of Bergen County, a second-generation Straight where she spent two and a half days in 1989.

There are indications that a cult of The Seed has developed which leads seedlings to associate only with other seedlings and to ostracize those who associate with non-seedlings. This has led to the formation of continuing limited peer groups outside the program which restrict seedlings' interaction with normal society. Allegiance to such a peer group may lead to a transfer of decision-making and opens the possibility that if the peer group shifts direction it may return its members to drug abuse or turn them to other anti-social behavior.

1974 Report by the Staff of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. [Saint Petersburg Times, 4-26-74, p. 7B]. The Seed was the immediate program upon which Straight was built.

I know many returned Seedlings, there are many here at the High School. When they return, they are "straight", namely, quiet, well-dressed, short hair and not under the influence of drugs compared to their previous appearance of stoned most of the time. However, they seem to be living in a robot-like atmosphere, they won't speak to anyone outside their own group. . . I have noticed that it is almost necessary that the Seedlings be rehabilitated into social situations upon their return from The Seed. . . I attempted to visit The Seed in order to speak to them about how we could work with them and what we should do. I asked for help. I was treated rudely, two people who went with me, were denied permission to enter and were closely watched in a separate room. In addition to rude treatment, I was told that The Seed was not interested in helping us. The Seed counselor with whom I spoke, said, "We are not interested in educators or any of the people out there because they don't know anything. The world out there stinks, we will not come to school people.

Seedlings seem to have an informing system on each other and on others that is similar to Nazi Germany. They run in to use the telephone daily, to report against each other to The Seed. . . I used to take kids there. Now, I know that a number of the children are back on drugs and I am not sure whether the method in which they do return home and the difficulties they have in school, is an improvement over their previous condition of being on drugs.

Telephone statement of Helen Kloth, Guidance Counselor, North Miami Beach Senior High School to Paul T. Schabacker, Senior Health Planner, Individual Rights and the Federal Role in Behavior Modification, A Study Prepared by the Staff of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Committee of the Judiciary of the United States Senate, November 1974, pp. 190 -191

It's a question of philosophy. What do you want for an end product? Do you want a robot, or someone who can think and act for himself.

Thomas Perrin, a former alcoholism counselor talking about the Straight-legacy program Kids of Bergen County [Bergen Record, 7-27-86, p. A17]

I wasn't me anymore, I was them. I thought what they thought, I did what they wanted me to. I could feel a sense of brainwashing. 

Twenty-two-year-old Lenny in 1986 describing how he felt after leaving the Straight legacy program Kids of Bergen County in 1984. [Bergen Record, 7-27-86, p. A17]
To be blunt, I have spent 15 years working in the drug-abuse field, traveling to more than 20 countries and visiting hundreds of prevention programs. Straight, Inc. is the best drug-abuse treatment program I have seen. Lest there be any doubt that this is an accolade I have bestowed easily or casually, I can tell you that I have not said that about any other program.
Former White House Drug Czar, founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and paid Straight consultant Robert L. DuPont, Jr., M.D. from a Straight brochure. As director of NIDA Dr. DuPont had administered a whopping $1.4 million dollar grant to Straight's predecessor The Seed whose methods had been likened by the US Senate to those of North Korean brainwashing.��
In 1976 Betty and I helped found STRAIGHT, a non-profit, adolescent drug treatment and rehabilitation program with branches across the U.S., which successfully treated and graduated more than 12,000 young people nationwide. For 17 years, I served as chairman of the board of STRAIGHT. Other than our children, nothing was more rewarding than this effort. Betty and I initially agreed that if we helped one child it would be worth all the effort. With 12,000 successful graduates . . . It was a gratifying accomplishment. 
Melvin F. "Buddy" Sembler addressing the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee on October 31, 2001 during his nomination hearing for the ambassador post to Italy which he had recently bought. The sales receipts are at:

http://www.opensecrets.org/bush/ambassadors/sembler.asphere   and 

We share the same democratic heritage and respect for humanity and human rights.
Straight co-founder Ambassador2 Mel Sembler, AO comparing the people of Australia with the people of America at a speech given at the Tiger Bay Club at the St. Petersburg Hilton Inn and Tower [St. Petersburg Times, May 17, 1990, Section: TAMPA BAY AND STATE Page: 3B Edition: CITY]
As a proud American, I find Melvin Sembler, our ambassador to Italy, and his wife, Betty, to be profound embarrassments. It is important that their advice on the drug war and especially on drug treatment be ignored. Indeed, it might be best if Italians listened to what this powerful couple had to say about drugs - and then followed policies in precisely the opposite direction.
Arnold Trebach, Professor Emeritus of Law at American University. Citation