The short biography of a University of Virginia egghead who wrote a diatribe against rehab in general and Alcoholics Anonymous in particular — in an op-ed that appeared in The Roanoke Times and other newspapers recently — tells us all we need to know about his background, his prejudices and his agenda:
Bankole A. Johnson is chairman of the department of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia and has served as a paid consultant to pharmaceutical companies developing medications to treat alcoholism. His book “The Rehab Myth: New Medications That Conquer Alcoholism” will be published in January.
In other words, Johnson is a paid shill for the big drug companies and will — no doubt with their financial assistance — publish a book that promotes their medications that he claims will “conquer alcoholism.”
For decades, Americans have clung to a near-religious conviction that rehab — and the 12-step model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous that almost all facilities rely upon — offers effective treatment for alcoholism and other addictions.
Here’s the problem: We have little indication that this treatment is effective.
Bull. We have indications all around us. I’m a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 16 years, two months and 25 days and I wouldn’t be so without AA. I know hundreds of people who owe their sobriety to the 12-step program.
I work with recovering alcoholics who — like myself — fight the beast one day at a time. Few can do it alone. It takes help, support of family and friends, and a good rehab program.
When The Roanoke Times chose to publish Johnson’s diatribe last month, I put it aside and decided to think about what he wrote for a couple of weeks. I hoped the anger over the misinformation and outright lies that this psuedo-intellectual passed on would subside.
Johnson is a quick-buck artist who lives off the largess of big pharma. The fact that he uses his position at one of Virginia’s major universities to pass off corporate propaganda as scientific research is psychiatric malpractice and should be considered as such.
Instead of promoting his corporate benefactors, Johnson should spend time at a few AA meetings and talk with recovering alcoholics.
He might learn a thing or to.