Betty Schlesinger Sembler of Treasure Island has dedicated more than three decades to fighting the war on drugs, starting in 1976 when she and her husband Melvin Sembler became founding members of Straight, Inc., a nonprofit drug treatment program that served 12,000 young people across the country. (fcsw.net)
For 16 years this couple [Melvin and Betty Sembler] directed the leading juvenile drug rehab business in America, STRAIGHT Inc., which prosecutors closed in 1993 after reports of sexual abuse, beatings, prisoner-of-war-style torture and unrelenting cover-ups. Despite the six-figure settlements that sucked the business dry, the 40-plus client suicides, the clinic licenses state health officials yanked, the Semblers came out of it all smelling like a rose. The program legally changed its identity to the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF). Director Calvina Fay denied it's the same organization when I first interviewed her, but the name change is listed in corporate filings. DFAF no longer treats clients, but it's still a major player in shaping domestic and international drug policy.
Quote from the article: "Straight abused kids. There has never been a Straight program (not one) that has not been accused of child abuse. Straight was also successful because there was collusion between Florida state officials where Straight was home-based and Straight officials. Straight was so successful because it had ties to the highest levels of drug policy decision making in the country. Former drug czar Robert DuPont was a Straight consultant. He was an expert witness for Straight in many civil cases. Donald Ian Macdonald, Straight's former national research director became the White House Drug Czar."
✡ Mel Sembler (Personal)
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