“Spirituality can go hand-in-hand with ruthless single-mindedness when the individual is convinced his cause is just”
― Michela Wrong, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo
The New York City Medical Society on Alcoholism was started in the 1950s by Dr. Ruth Fox to promote AA and 12-step to doctors. This organization subsequently became the American Medical Society on Alcoholism (AMSA) and eventually the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Like the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), an organization that promotes the A.A. yet claims to have no formal ties, the ASAM is considered by many to be a front-group that purports to represent one agenda while in reality serving other interests. The ASAM can be considered both a political (prohibition, 12-step spiritual recovery) and corporate (inpatient rehabilitation facilities, drug testing industry) front group in this regard.
ASAM physicians have gradually and systematically infiltrated state physician health programs (PHPs), gained control, and now have a near monopoly on these programs. They organized under the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP).
Based on scientific methodology, critical thinking and evidence base, the field of medicine is incongruent with the single minded spirituality based doctrine espoused by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Because the first business of an authority is to maintain itself as an authority it must protect itself from conflicting or alternative viewpoints that could potentially dismantle the power scaffold. Promoting the agenda of the group demands blind faith to orthodoxy and challenges to the status quo must be deflected, suppressed, or neutralized to prevent the undermining of authoritarian view. Imposing fundamentalist spiritual recovery anti-science zeal on the medical field and individual physicians is an insurmountable goal on a level playing field as it is incongruent with the scientific rigor and evidence based decision making that the medical profession demands. This conflict with reality necessitates insulation from scrutiny. The ASAM FSPHP physician health complex accomplishes this by both promotion and and secrecy. As the “voice of addiction medicine” the ASAM tirelessly promotes itself as an organization of scholarship, advocacy, and integrity. The prototypical “research” design is to formulate a self-serving hypothesis, generate data that supports the hypothesis,generate data that supports the hypothesis and promote the favorable conclusion. These methodologically flawed puff pieces are then used as stepping stones to support subsequent positions. For example “Physicians in Alcoholism: A Study of Current Status and Future Needs” 1 surveyed 820 members of the American Medical Society on Alcoholism (AMSA) to “shed light on medical manpower needs in the alcoholism field” and found that the consensus among this “diverse group” of physicians was that Alcoholics Anonymous is necessary and “non-medical counselors” are effective in the treatment of alcoholism. The authors note most of those surveyed were on medical school faculties, “evenly divided between office-based and institutional practice” and “broadly distributed among specialties” to portray the pool of respondents as a qualified and representative sample.
Using a plethora of tactics and strategies these self-declared addiction experts who board certified themselves and usurped state PHPs simply arrogated themselves the ability to control all aspects of the system. Through misleading public campaigns and a swaggering parade of self-promotion the ASAM created an impression of omnipresent and omniscient capability and care and successfully gained sway in addiction medicine. In a similar vein, the FSPHP arrogated themselves the ability to control all aspects of the state system through labyrinthine pathways and magisterially formulated dogma. They did this by shaping regulatory, legal, and administrative orthodoxy through propaganda and misinformation to reset the standards that cooperating authorities could follow in the procedural handling of accused doctors. By creating loopholes in and revising procedural and administrative regulation and law they have trampled due process for accused physicians. Fundamental fairness has been lost as boards focus on technical procedures and blindly accept the views of the PHP. Their assumed veracity and integrity has led to the has resulted in the acceptance of junk science that has caused great harm to not only physicians being monitored but to other groups. The ready acceptance of Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) by regulatory medicine with no evidence base created an implicit endorsement of a test that should have never been introduced. But through authoritative opinion and logical fallacy the PHPs have convinced medical boards of their expertise and esoteric knowledge. They have essentially been granted unrestrained managerial prerogative, a power unto itself. And with logical fallacy and authoritative opinion they have been able to get away with whatever they want.
The drug testing industry is a commercial organization and the companies that produce the equipment and conduct the tests have a business interest in promoting testing and opening up new markets.
Methods of testing should be of the highest quality and reliability. These, most assuredly, are not!
During the height of the witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries, common belief held that a witch could be discovered through the process of pricking their skin with needles, pins and bodkins – daggerlike instruments for drawing ribbons through hems or punching holes in cloth.
This practice derived from the belief that all witches and sorcerers bore a witch’s mark that would not feel pain or bleed when pricked. The mark alone was not enough to convict a person, but did add to the evidence. Pricking was common practice throughout Europe, but was most prevalent in England and Scotland. Professional witch finders earned a good living from unmasking witches, travelling from town to town to perform their services. Hollow wooden handles and retractable points have been saved from these finders, which would give the appearance of an accused witch’s flesh being penetrated to the hilt without mark, blood, or pain. Other specially designed needles have been found with a sharp end and a blunt end. Through sleight of hand, the sharp end could be used on “normal” flesh, drawing blood and causing pain, a process which appeared to mount further evidence against the accused, while the dull end would be used on a supposed witch’s mark. The ASAM~FSPHP is doing the same thing today only instead of using witch pricking bodkin and needles they are using an array of junk science and pseudoscience both invented by ( Alcohol biomarkers, unvalidated neuropsych testing aimed at uncovering “character defects” and resentments) and resurrected ( they got the American Polygraph Society out of there parents basements). It’s all anti-science bargain basement tomfoolery and shenanigans. Anti-evidence based palmistry and sorcery.
The best available evidence shows little support for any of it yet the alarmist calculations of denizens of impaired and disruptive doctors wreaking havoc on the exam floor have institutionalized the tinker toys of these self-appointed “experts.”
It is imperative the greater medical community be awakened to the actual nature of the ASAM FSPHP state physician health program agenda and apprehend the true significance of this spirituality based nanny statism. Unfortunately it may be too late as it is. Strange days have tracked us down.
1. Galanter M, Blume S, Bissell L. Physicians in alcoholism: a study of current status and future needs. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. Fall 1983;7(4):389-392.