In Spencer, Iowa, a 26-year-old man in a faith-based treatment program was talked out of taking medications by two pastors he was friendly with.
But a few days after entering a program, he told one of them that he wasn’t feeling right and that he was suicidal.
Rev. Nick Hanges told him it would pass.
A few days later, Hanges found the man — Alex Jacobsen — in a pool of blood. He had cut his own throat.
“They do not have the medical or psychological training to do what they’re doing,” Dave Jacobsen, Alex’s dad, said. “If the state doesn’t require some sort of oversight, this will happen to other families.”
The incident has prompted a two-part series this week in the Des Moines Register.
His father wants to know how a faith-based program for drug treatment is exempt from an Iowa law that requires licensing of treatment facilities.
“They do not have the medical or psychological training to do what they’re doing,” Dave Jacobsen said. “If the state doesn’t require some sort of oversight, this will happen to other families.”
But, since 1975, faith-based organizations that rely “solely on prayer or other spiritual means for healing” have been given a blanket exemption by the Iowa Legislature, the Register reports.
“If a person is taken off (some drugs) abruptly, it can be life-threatening,” Anne Fletcher, an author who studied research on the effectiveness of drug treatment programs nationally and who works at a Minnesota treatment center, told the paper. She said she doesn’t buy the program’s claim that it has a 90-percent success rate.
“No (treatment program) has rates that high. We’d all be flocking to those programs if they did,” she said.
Unfortunately, the paper didn’t answer Dave Jacobsen’s initial question: How is it that faith-based programs are exempted from closer monitoring?
More treatment: The public scorns the addiction treatment Prince was going to try. They shouldn’t. (Washington Post)