By David Tucker
for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
This moving video tells the dramatic story of Krystal Meade, a teenage drug addict and runaway, who is forced under court order to confront her personal demons through a unique alcohol and drug treatment program. The story may sound familiar, but the Alberta Addiction Recovery Center (AARC) differs from other drug rehabilitation programs in its insistence on treating the families of abusers alongside the young addicts. AARC's method is premised on the reality that everyone in the family is affected by the teen's addiction. Some of these young people are also the product of parents and families who are substance abusers themselves, like Krystal's father. Other parents, including her mother, may be enablers, helping their kids access the alcohol and drugs they crave or looking the other way while they continue their abuse.
AARC works with troubled teens and their families over an intense and often grueling eight to twelve-month period. Though structured on a minimum-security model, the program nonetheless entails tracking the activities and whereabouts of the teens at all times. Therapy is based on the twelve-step Alcoholics Anonymous program, plus both one-on-one counseling and group sessions. It requires that both the teens and their parents receive therapy, to address the devastating emotional scars of their dependencies. During treatment, the teens are not permitted to live at home or to communicate with their families until all members have been involved in the recovery process. Instead, they are accommodated by the families of other students who have completed the program.
While the approach shown may not be effective with all substance abusers, the stories of Krystal and her friends reflect the realities experienced by thousands of other adolescents. Emotionally harrowing, this compassionate program challenges professionals to explore new ways of reaching troubled teens and their families.
Purchase $199 VHS
Order No. QA-378
ISBN (VHS) 1-57295-378-0
"Recommended for college and university libraries. The viewer leaves with a sense that the addict has made great progress toward getting well. Public Libraries may wish to make this title available to parents who may be facing a similar situation." Educational Media Reviews
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