A STUDY OF THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE DRUG FREE AMERICA FOUNDATION. INC. (formerly Straight Foundation, Inc.) IN AMERICAN AND INTERNATIONAL DRUG POLICY
by Wesley M. Fager, the Oakton Institute (c) 2002
|[Note: This un-funded study was underway on June 27, 2002 when the United States Supreme Court issued its historic decision in the case of BOARD OF EDUC. OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. NO. 92 OF POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA Petitioner, v. EARLS. Management at the Oakton Institute decided that overwhelming public interest exceeded the need to complete the report so the DRAFT report is being shown publicly. Please excuse our grammar and please check back over the next few days to find updates which will be published in blue. Wes Fager 6-27-02/]|
From 1976 to 1993 a corporation based in Saint Petersburg, Florida named
Straight, Inc. operated the world's largest chain of juvenile drug rehabilitation
programs. Straight's amazing growth can be attributed to its very successful
marketing program which gained it articles in the likes of The Readers
Digest and the The Ladies Home Journal; talk show
appearances on programs like Maury Povick and Ophrey--even a special
glowing report on NBC News Magazine. A made-for-TV movie was produced
called Not My Kid. Another
reason for Straight's success is
because so many prominent Republicans supported it. Ronald Reagan endorsed
a Straight pamphlet while Nancy Reagan took Princess Di to a Straight
near the nation's capital to show her how we deal with druggie teens
in America. George H. W. Bush made TV commercial for Straight out of
the Oval office. Straight was so successful because Straight parents
were bullish on Straight and lobbied Congressmen for Straight and took
their kids to high school PTA meetings to demonstrate how Straight had
turned their child around. Straight was successful because since medical
insurers refused to pay for it's unorthodox, controversial and
unproven methods Straight had to rely on parents' pocket books. So Straight
targeted parents who could afford their high costs. Straight was so
successful because they did not have to compete with traditional medical
establishments. There were no doctors. Programs were run out of warehouses.
Kids were fed and slept in foster homes so there were no hospital bed
costs. Most counselors were unpaid kids themselves or recently graduated
young adults, many still working on their high school education.
But there was a dark side to Straight. Straight abused kids. There has never been a Straight program (not one) that has not been accused of child abuse. Straight was also successful because there was collusion between Florida state officials where Straight was home-based and Straight officials. Straight was so successful because it had ties to the highest levels of drug policy decision making in the country. Former drug czar Robert DuPont was a Straight consultant. He was an expert witness for Straight in many civil cases. Donald Ian Macdonald, Straight's former national research director became the White House Drug Czar. Drug Czar Carlton Turner endorses the cover of one of Miller Newton's books (Straight's former national clinical director Dr. Miller Newton recently settled with a former client in hi sown Straight legacy program for $4.5 million.) George H. W. Bush made Bob Martinez his second Drug Czar. In 1992, Tampa's Channel 13 Eye Witness News handed Martinez the minutes from a Straight board of director's meeting which recorded that "John Martinez, former governor of Florida, will work with Straight on our licensing issues." When asked by Channel 13 News whether this was he, Martinez would make no comment. Bill Bennett was George Bush's first Drug Czar. In 1989 Bennett assembled together prominent Americans from all over to help him develop the President's drug budget. These esteemed individuals proposed to the President to increase the drug war purse by 94% to a whopping $7,900,000,000, including nearly a half billion increase in treatment, prevention, and research to $1,727,000,000. This collection of America's best recommending $500 million dollars more to drug treatment programs included Mel Sembler, Robert DuPont, Carlton Turner, Joyce Tobias, Mac Vines and a host of others who had positive relationships with Straight. During his term as president, Americans would spend more on the Drug War than on private health insurance: $120 billion.
For years Straight was able
to prevail upon drug policy thinkers the wisdom in using
draconian methods in order to save kids form the ravages of drug addiction.
But instead of saving them Straight has been trailed with a lot of
dead people--former clients who have committed suicide. Many feel
that the organizers of this Great American Holocaust should have been
tried for criminal child abuse, but contrarily, many of them serve
today at the highest levels of government.
In 1985 Straight, Inc. lost an appeal for a $220,000 jury judgment against
it for falsely imprisoning an adult; and it was facing a slew of other
civil suits. Fearing additional jury judgments against Straight, Inc.
and against Mel Sembler and other Straight directors (and rightfully
so, one of those cases resulted in a 1990 judgment against Straight
for $720,000) Straight, Inc. reorganized. On September 26, 1985 Straight's
board of directors changed the by-laws to reflect a new mission from
one of "juvenile addiction treatment" to one of "educating the public
of the dangers of teenage drug addiction." To further protect Mel Sembler
and other board members from civil actions, the by-laws were changed
to state that foundation funds could be used to hire attorneys to defend
directors should they be personally sued. The by-laws were also amended
to state that should there be a judgment against a foundation director
then foundation funds could be used to pay that judgment. And finally,
to distant themselves from the name Straight, Inc., the name was changed
to Straight Foundation, Inc.
And then they created a brand new organization called Straight, Inc. which would provide for "juvenile addiction treatment." Straight Foundation kept all the money and property and gave grants to the new startup treatment program which leased property from the foundation. The new Straight, Inc. continued to build upon a reputation of criminal child abuse. State criminal investigations, threatening and losing civil suits, exposure from newspaper and magazine articles and negative television reports, plus organized resistance from groups such as Claire Martin's Families Against Destructive Drug Rehabs in Maryland and Richard Bradbury's Community Improvement Program in Tampa, Florida forced Straight, Inc. to finally close on July 1- 2, 1993. But did Straight really ever close? Through the years former Straight officials branched off and formed their own Straight-based programs. Some building successful chains. People like Reverend Doctor Miller Newton who settled out of court in 2000 with one former client for $4.5 million for abuses she sustained in his KIDS chain; and likes of Dr. George Ross who was acquitted in 1985 of criminal wrong doing in a jury trial in Louisville, KY. One of his character witnesses had been a woman who herself has been publicly accused of child abuse. On December 5, 1995 in a further effort to distance itself from the name Straight, Inc. which has forever become synonymous with "organized child abuse", Straight Foundation, Inc. changed its name once again to its current name--the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. (DFAF).
|As further background,
it is important that the reader understand the political influence that
Mr. Sembler has been able to wield due his generous financial contributions
to the Republican Party. In 1988 Melvin Sembler, in return
for his work as a Republican fund raiser, and also for his own personal
financial contributions, was given an ambassador's job by George W.
Bush. In that year Straight co-founders Mel Sembler and
Joseph Zappala each gave over $125,000 in almost matching donations
to Republican causes. Mel Sembler was given the ambassadorship to Australia
while Joe Zappala, his sometimes business partner, was given the Madrid
job even though he did not speak Spanish. And though he had no published
writings, Ambassador Zappala had, at least, graduated from high school.
Straight board members have always been good Republicans. Mel Sembler
was George W. Bush's finance co-chairman in Florida in 1988. Straight
board member Alec Courtelis was Republican Party Finance Chief.
Roy Speer, founder of cable TV's Home Shopping Network, was another
Straight board member to pitch-in $100,000 to the Republicans
in 1988. Zappala got the ambassadorship to Spain, and, interestingly,
Speer got the concessions to the Madrid Summer Olympics! You can learn
more about the 1989 Saint Petersburg Twins' appointments here.
Through the years Mel has been generous to Republican causes. His contribution tally sheets from 1980 to 2002 attest to that. Last year, as one of George, Jr.'s Regents, who include the likes of Enron's Ken Lay, Mel bought rights to the Italian embassy. Here's the sales receipt. On October 31, 2001 Mr. Sembler addressed the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee which was then considering his nomination and told them, in part:
INVOLVEMENT OF THE DFAF IN NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL DRUG POLICY
1. Robert DuPont is the former head of NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) which funded Straight's predecessor--The Seed. After leaving federal service Dr. DuPont became a paid consultant for Straight. Today he is on the advisory board for DFAF. In 1995 Straight changed its name to DFAF. In 1996 Betty Sembler attended NIDA's National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research. In 1997 Betty was back in Washington. This time she was a special witness before the House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources at a hearing on "Medical Marijuana, Federal Drug Law and the Constitution�s Supremacy Clause." A co-witness was Florida Congressman Bill McCollum, former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime. Betty would be on McCollum's finance committee when he ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2000. He would be on the short list for Drug Czar in 2001.
On October 21, 1988, Congress enacted the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 as part of the Omnibus Drug Initiative Act of 1988. This statute requires that all institutions receiving grants from any federal agency certify to that agency that they will maintain a drug-free workplace. The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1998 authorizes the U. S. Small Business Administration to hand out grants to "qualified intermediaries" that can provide technical and financial assistance to small companies in setting up Drug-Free Workplaces by providing for drug testing, employee assistant programs (EAPs) and such. $4 million dollars was appropriated. Straight got one of those grants from the SBA. It was for $314,539. Randall S. Pawley's National Drug and Alcohol Testing, Inc, Straight's partner in Saint Petersburg which actually does the drug testing part, received $234,000. Calvina Fay, executive director of DFAF used to operate a drug testing company. Just before coming to DFAF she was the director of the Houston Drug-Free Business Initiative which had as a charter sponsor Drug Screens, Inc.--a drug testing company. Drug Free Business Houston got $170,000 of the SBA's grant money. Former White House Drug Czar and paid Straight consultant Robert DuPont has teamed up with Peter Bensinger, former director of the DEA, to form Bensinger and DuPont--another organization offering companies assistance in setting up EAPs--and in drug testing.
DFAF INFLUENCE ON US SUPREME
COURT DECISIONS. Mel Sembler once made a proposal that we
should require all kids age 16 to submit to a drug test in order to
get a driver's license. While this clear violation of the fourth amendment
would certainly curtail illegal drug use, it would also provide a
boom for Mel Sembler cronies and associates-by-proxy like Bob DuPont,
Randall Pawley and H. Wayne Huizenga. As a rite of passage to age
16 the parent of every teenager in America would have had to pay homage
of $100 to a drug tester. Mr. Sembler did not get that wish and had
to settle for a lesser solution in the mean time--only high school
age athletes would be drug tested without cause. When James Acton
refused to pee in a jar as a condition to play high school football,
he sued Vernonia School District in Oregon to protect his fourth amendment
right against illegal search. While the suit was in the United States
District Court for the District of Oregon, the school called in as
their expert witness former Straight consultant and former White House
Drug Czar Robert DuPont. Dr. DuPont has defended Straight against
many charges of abuse, and while he may sincerely believe that Straight
does not abuse kids, he was paid handsomely for each defense. In other
words, the more Straight was accused of abusing kids, the more money
he made defending Straight. In the case of the Veronia School District,
Dr. DuPont may have felt that it is appropriate to drug test high
school athletics as a condition of playing sports, and while I am
not sure when he became the chairman of the scientific advisory board
for Psychemedics--the world's premier hair testing drug program--it
is clear that the more athletes who are tested by Psychemedics, the
more money he can potentially earn.
Drug Watch International and Calvina Fay. Calvina Fay is the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. She was formerly the director of Drug Free Business Houston (another SBA Drug Free Workplace grant recipient). She is director the International Scientific and Medical Forum on Drug Abuse. She is also the director of Betty Sembler's Save Our Society from Drugs TM (SOS). Dr. Mark Gold is on the board of directors of SOS. Calvina Fay is current member and past president of Drug Watch International (DWI). Straight's former national executive director Bill Oliver is an Honorary Advisor for DWI (he also became director of parent training for P.R.I.D.E.) The International Drug Strategy Institute is a division of DWI and includes Straight's consultant Robert L. DuPont and his business partner Peter Bensinger, former drug czar and Straight's former national research director Donald Ian Macdonald, Straight's former national clinical director Miller Newton, Straight-Springfield's former research director Richard Schwartz, Mark Gold and former drug czar Lee Dogoloff who endorses the cover of one of Gold's books. Many members of the International Drug Strategy Institute signed the Amicus on behalf of BOARD OF EDUC. OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DIST. NO. 92 OF POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY.
On June 27, 2002, in a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court decided in favor of the school district.
In November 1996, California
voters passed Proposition 215, which permitted Californians to use
marijuana for medical purposes. Several groups organized "medical
cannabis dispensaries" to distribute crude marijuana. Similar legislation
came before voters in Arizona. In January 1998 Betty Sembler met with
the cabinet of the governor of Florida and got them to agree to take
a stand to fight against any such initiatives happening in Florida.
In May 1998 DFAF and SOS joined with Florida's Department of Law Enforcement
to sponsor the Marijuana Education Summit to disprove the efficacy
of marijuana use for medical purposes. U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Orlando
(Betty Sembler was to be his finance co-chairman) helped kick of this
seminar for 400 police, school and youth officials in Orlando.
In September 1986 USA TODAY
ran an article headlined: DRUGS: Teen abusers start by age 12 which
opened with: "Almost half of the USA's teen drug abusers got involved
before age 12..." The article was based on a study conducted
by Straight, Inc.!
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."
|Multijurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force Training program (MCTFT). The MCTFT trains law enforcement and military personnel in state, federal and local governments in America, and police and military officials in other countries throughout the entire world in combating the War on Drugs. It is located at the saint Petersburg Junior College (recently upgraded to a college). It is funded by the DoD and administered through the Florida National Guard. Betty Sembler is on the Advisory Board along with Mr. James McDonough, Florida's Drug Czar who is a member of DFAF's advisory board. Pinellas County Sheriff Everett S. Rice is also on the board.|
|DARE. Betty Sembler was on the White House Conference for a Drug Free America, and ahs served as a member of the Governor's Drug Policy Task Force in Florida, and as a board member and vice chairperson of DARE International (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), an organization that provides drug resistance education for elementary and middle school students worldwide. As the wife of Mel Sembler, former United States Ambassador to Australia, Mrs. Sembler began a DARE Foundation in the Australian Capital Territory, regularly conducted seminars for DARE, and started an anti-drug outreach organization through the Advertising Federation of South Australia. DARE has been accused of getting kids to spy on their own parents.|
|Dr. Mark Gold and the partnership of
modern medical addiction treatment with newage treatment philosophies.
In the 1980s Dr. Mark Gold, formerly research director for Fair
Oaks Hospital in Summit, New Jersey [a member of the giant hospital
chain NME (National Medical Enterprises, Inc.)] invented the 1-800-COCAINE
hot-line. If you called the toll-free number chances are you would be
referred to an NME hospital or one of its subsidiary PIA s (Psychiatric
Institutes of America) provided you had a good health insurance plan,
or you would be referred to the nearest public health facility if you
did not. If you called inside Florida you were probably transferred
to a Florida hotline managed by Dr. Gold's cousin Peter which, if you
had insurance, referred you to PIA's Fair Oaks Hospital in Delray Beach,
Florida where the cocaine treatment cure cost $22,000 for a 28
day stay! Cable TV's The Justice
Files did a segment on PIA in 1991 in which Robert Stuckey,
an NME hospital official, was quoted saying that if a person came into
the hospital for alcoholism and his insurance coverage for alcoholism
was $10,000, but his coverage for depression was $50,000, then his diagnosis
would be changed and he would be treated for depression. James Hutchison,
a psychologist who used to run the outpatient program at NME's Baywood
Hospital in Texas said that prizes like pizzas, theater and sports tickets
were given to employees who were responsible for the most admissions
to the hospital. He claims that the hospital's outreach program of sending
guidance counselors, drug-abuse counselors, and speakers to public schools
were ploys to identify people who might be admitted to care. It was
the hot line's director Arnold Washton who started the lie that crack
cocaine is "instantly addictive" from an interview he gave to Newsweek
in the March 17, 1986 issue. Dr. Gold was a consultant to Reagan's drug
czar and to drug czar Bennett. DuPont's cohort and former Drug
Czar Lee Dogoloff apparently joined Dr. Gold at Fair Oaks Hospital.
Former White House drug czars Dogoloff, DuPont and Bennett endorse the
jacket of Gold's book Good News About Drugs and Alcohol.
Straight is a newage drug treatment facility that does not use medical doctors in its therapeutic process. Dr. Mark Gold is a world renowned psychiatrist who does use medical professionals in his treatment process. Dr. Gold is on the board of SOS TM, a Betty Sembler organization.
|Jeb Bush joins
DFAF Advisory Board. Check out this incredible document.
As of October 11, 2001 Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida and brother
to the President of the United States, is on the Advisory Board for
Straight which now calls itself the DFAF (Drug Free America Foundation,
Inc.) And so is his wife Columba! But that shouldn't surprise
you. Straight-Orlando closed on August 14, 1992. On that very
day Michael Scaletta Straight - Orlando's executive director (taking
Loretta Parish, Straight - Orlando's marketing director, with him)
opened SAFE, Inc. out of the same facility Straight had used. In the
morning the kids had been in Straight; after lunch they were in SAFE.
In late 2000 TV station WAMI from Miami, Florida did a two-day exposition
on SAFE. Because Governor Jeb Bush had previously visited SAFE he had
been contacted while the segment was being produced to get his thoughts
of SAFE. Even though he had been told that the segment was going to
be controversial, Jeb Bush sent the station this letter
of endorsement of SAFE! Even without Jeb and Columba,
the list of names on Straight's Advisory Board is nothing short
of extraordinary!. Here they are:
In 1997 Alfred Hoffman, Jr., Jeb Bush's finance co-chairman, paid $32 million for a Coral Gables yacht club that he bought from one Armando Codina, a leader of the right-wing Cuban American National Foundation. Armando Codina is an ex-business partner of Jeb Bush. According to Salon ezine, "American intelligence and law enforcement authorities firmly believed that [one Orlando] Bosch was responsible for . . . the 1976 explosion that brought down a Cuban airliner, killing all 76 civilians aboard, although Venezuelan prosecutors had failed to convict him of that terrible crime." In 1989 Bosch was in prison in America for entering the country illegally, but prominent Miami Republicans, including businessmen with the Cuban American National Foundation, pressured President Bush to pardon Mr. Bosch. President Bush's son Jeb had made a fortune in real estate deals with some of these Cuban exile businessmen who had advocated Bosch's release. George H. W. Bush pardoned Bosch and worked out a deal so he could stay in America despite the Justice Department's desire to have him deported because he had, "repeatedly expressed and demonstrated a willingness to cause indiscriminate injury and death."
|Conferences. Beside the Orlando Conference, DFAF has helped sponsor a closed conference in Michigan on May 3 and 4, 2000 called Training the Trainer: Putting the Brakes on the Drug Legalization Movement. In 2002 DFAF helped sponsor a closed conference in Canada. Betty Sembler has been a speaker on Drug policy in Sweden.|
|DFAF has taken an action to get the medical license of physician Lester Greenspoon revoked. Check here.|