The world’s most peculiar drug rehab centers
Being put into a coma might not seem an obvious choice to someone looking to overcome their addiction to drugs, but it is one option on offer. Here is a flavour of the world’s less usual rehab centers and their methods.
The Thai way
At the Thamkrabok monastery near Phra Putthabat in Thailand, drug addicts hoping to cure their addiction live among Buddhist monks and learn from them how to detox in a different way. The rehab programs promise mental and physical healing through a natural and spiritual approach.
Puke until you’re sober
Participants have to commit to the program for at least 10 days; they can stay longer, too - until they’re ready to face the outside world again. But it’s no walk in the park: at the crack of dawn, everyone has to swallow a herbal mixture that makes you throw up immediately. The monks call it “disgusting, but effective”. Before leaving, participants also have to swear to never use drugs again.
The get-high-to-get-clean way
Hundreds of people go to the Ayahuasca healing centre in Peru each year to undergo treatment with the natural hallucinogen. Native tribes swear Ayahuasca heals mental and physical conditions and promotes spirituality. But reactions vary; Western doctors warn that it can cause frightening visions, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy sweating and even death. Therefore Ayahuasca is banned in many countries.
The religious way
This rehab center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, follows a spiritual approach. These former drug users are gathered in a circle outside their shelter for morning prayer, shouting “Glory to God!”. All of them are offered accommodation in the shelter next to the Love of God evangelical church.
The shackles and chains way
This is Amanullah, a drug addict, during his ‘rehab’ that involves being chained to the wall of a holy shrine for 40 days. People in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, believe that drug addicts, the mentally ill and those possessed by spirits will be cured this way. ‘Participants’ live on a strict diet of water, black pepper and bread.
Help from above
The local population believes that those chained at the shrine will be helped by Mir Ali Baba, in whose honour it was built. This kind of belief is not limited to Afghanistan but is deeply rooted in many countries around the world. In a lot of addicts are punished or even killed for using drugs.
The labor camp way
If you’re an addict in China, you can be jailed and forced to go into rehab. Anyone caught using drugs like cocaine, heroin or marijuana can be sent to a rehab center. The men in the picture are doing a compulsory hour of exercise at a clinic in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. Human rights groups accuse China of using drug rehab clinics as labor camps, exploiting inmates for work.
The ‘experience death’ way
Perhaps one of the most extreme rehab methods is the ‘coma-treatment’, developed by a doctor in Kyrgyzstan. Patients are injected with a substance that puts them into a coma-like state for hours, in the belief that when they wake up, they’ll be cured of their addictions. Many experts criticize this approach as dangerous and poorly researched.
The fancy way
Many celebrities choose luxurious facilities to cure their addictions. One of the most famous is the Betty Ford clinic in America, where Pete Doherty (picture) and other famous musicians or actors check in regularly.The clinics provide clients with lavish facilities and the feeling of staying in a luxury hotel.
Deprived of drug addiction treatment
A lot of addicts worldwide do not have access to facilities for drug treatment. According to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), only 10.4 percent of those who needed treatment in the United States received some sort of treatment at a special facility. In poorer countries the access is even more restricted.