Sunday, April 29, 2012

Zoey 101 Matthew Underwood, Fort Pierce actor, arrested on drug charges in Port St Lucie

Meth Lab Explodes In Man’s Pants « CBS St. Louis

Hand sanitizer: The new vodka for teens?

There's a new trend among teens looking for a buzz, doctors say, and it surrounds an unlikely household item designed to keep us germ-free: ethanol-based hand sanitizer. Teenagers are using it this stuff to get high, according to health officials. Poison control centers nationwide say reports are on the rise. The big issue here is the alcohol content, says Dr. Robert J. Geller, a medical toxicologist and Emory University pediatrician.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A&E Intervention: Season 11 Episode 10

I have been getting requests to post the complete email exchange with A&E Intervention Executive Producers

Complete Correspondence 
Chain with the Executive Producers of A&E Intervention

Ban 'A&E Intervention' Altogether?

The following comment was submitted by a treatment provider in the UK, who had never heard of 'A&E Intervention'. Her reaction and perspective on this issues is thought provoking and may be something licensed professionals need to examine and debate as future ethical considerations for their fields of practice. Should licensed professionals ban involvement of clinical practice in 'entertainment' formats.
    We don't get that programme, or any even approaching it in the exploitation ranks, in the UK, but it seems that the addicts get a chance to go through rehab if they get filmed? i assume that they are all consenting adults, but here in the UK it does not count as consent if the person is under the influence of drugs, sex would be rape, marriage would be invalid, and to film a person for entertainment would be exploitation. the places i have worked have had a blanket policy of no contact between the media and our clients, and as workers we are only allowed to be interviewed or filmed under very specific circumstances, it's hard to believe that in the modern world that anyone would think that programme is ok.


Your Reaction to A&E Intervention's Censorship over Unethical Conduct of Interventionist Donna Chavous

  1. Interventions based upon confrontation, hostility, name calling and surprise attacks are harmful and unethical! It is time for recovery advocates and professionals to stand up against Interventionists that use these tactics and recognize that we must all first DO NO HARM in our work. Promoting recovery is about helping people rebuild their lives by encouraging hope and optimism and all involved need to offer compassion, kindness and acceptance if they want to be part of the solution.
  2. Accountability is an absolute in our chosen field.
    I'm also not surprised...entertainment trumps therapy...ratings are everything.

    Peter B
    Aurora, Canada
  3. A&E is making money off peoples misery, plan and simple. And we are to be entertained by watching this? I guess they will do anything for a buck. The Florida drug courts with the help of the Marchman Act have been a responsible successful response to the growing problem of drug addiction. To see A&E sensationalize the process and exploit those in need of treatment for ratings is sickening.
  4. Shocking!!! I never liked that woman and now I know why!!!!
  5. A&E should be ashamed of itself. It's one thing to make a profit on exploiting those who suffer. It is quite another thing to knowingly promote a person who exacerbates the situation to the detriment of the suffering AND over the objections of experts in the field. Shame, shame, shame A&E. End the suffering NOW by taking this woman off the air!

  6. Although I have not seen the episode in question, I do have a good deal of experience with using the Marchman Act successfully. It is not a scare tactic, but a useful tool for terrified families and very ill addicts. The justice system of Florida have provided lawyers and skilled clinicians with this legal recourse for families who are hopeless. It is a shame that this interventionist used the Marchman Act in the way she allegedly has. Personally, I can no longer watch Intervention due to the negative effects, intended and unintended consequences that happen in most episodes.
    As a clinician, practicing in the state of Florida, I feel that the commercialization of addiction and recovery is ridiculous. It SUCKS that A&E is disregarding or ignoring Ray's expertise and advice.
    Addiction and Recovery is already shrouded in misunderstanding and ignorance, I fear that this show may only make things worse.

    Concerned Clinician in Florida
  7. Christopher I.Apr 18, 2012 03:51 PM
    I have been following this thing since I first saw the Episode and then read the article in the Huffington Post. I was encouraged, initially, that A&E was taking this situation seriously and had been waiting to hear that Ms Chavous had been properly reprimanded, and, at minimum, required to re-certify herself before continuing to act as an interventionist.

    I am absolutely appalled at A&E's change of attitude on this matter. It seems to me that they have opened themselves to all kinds of legal trouble and I hope that every ounce of that trouble now finds them.

    I, for one, will not be watching anything on A&E until I have heard they intend to take appropriate responsibility for Ms Chavous' actions. The show I took pleasure in supporting, because of the good I thought they were doing, has become willfully dangerous and recklessly irresponsible.

    Christopher I.
    Encino, CA
  8. Can anyone send the link to that episode?
  9. Dear Attorney Raymond G. Ferrero III,

    Thank you. As a Treatment provider, Advocate and person in Recovery for the past 18 years I applaud your recent post I just viewed on your Blog and also Addiction Professional Discussion Board about "Courtney's story"! I also want to see an immediate response and action by A & E for their failed promise to investigate Donna Chavous’ conduct.

    Although like you and others I do not expect it. With this being said, I had a thought to share with you. Since you have written Blogs which has brought attention to this matter and many in the recovery community have also voiced their concern I wonder if you should visit the website of "Change" ( ) . This is a site that allows individuals to raise awareness to a topic and generate national media attention. I feel this would be a wonderful way to get "Courtney's Story" out to the public and the Recovery Community. This would serve to raise awareness and also provide the means to request everyone support the cause to hold A & E responsible for their actions and demand they take action to correct the harm they have inflicted!!!

    I hope you will consider my suggestion. I have seen the benefit this site has provided and recommend it highly. Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely, T.T. RN CMA
  10. Since I don't watch the show, I will rely on your thorough recap of the behavior of the interventionist. In a historical sense the intervention is a relic of the halcyon days of the medical model. At least from what I saw, treatment has greatly changed based in large part upon the work of William Miller and his associates in the development of Motivational Enhancement Therapy. For the better. Intervention used to be a patient finding strategy for inpatient programs, most of which went out of business by 1995. From your description of the Marchman Act, it seems to fill a gap we often saw here. However, making it easier to involuntarily commit substance abusers doesn't necessarily mean that intervention is the best way to get people help.

  11. Although I have not seen this episode as well, I am astonished and terribly disturbed by this report. I believe from an ethical perspective, it is imperitive that councelor's recognize the impact of their ehtics,values and lack of interpersonal skills can negatively affect a client rather than help. We must remember "Cause No Harm"

    Kimberly, Canada
  12. Good job. That was my first thought - until there is public awareness of this - it will be brushed under the carpet....
    Posted by BM, LMSW
  13. Accountability is an absolute in our chosen field.
    I'm also not surprised...entertainment trumps therapy...ratings are everything.

    Aurora, Canada

  14. A&E is making money off peoples misery, plan and simple. And we are to be entertained by watching this? I guess they will do anything for a buck. The Florida drug courts with the help of the Marchman Act have been a responsible successful response to the growing problem of drug addiction. To see A&E sensationalize the process and exploit those in need of treatment for ratings is sickening.
  15. This maybe more of an opportunity than a problem! I read your open letter regarding A&E Intervention and agree with your perspective. I am a Chemical Dependency Counselor in Ohio which has recently passed new legislatoin creating a process for commiting addicts and alcoholics to treatment for thefirst time. It appears to be modeled after our exixting process for involuntary commitment of mentally ill. It occurs to me that your experiance in Florida could inform our process in Ohio.
  16. It's about time! I have been an addictions counselor for about 8 years, and I get great results because I NEVER tell the client what to do, nor do I ever use pressure or force of any kind. My success rate is often six or sevenfold that of other counselors in the same agency who just can't resist giving advice or using overly directive interventions.

    I will, no doubt, get slammed for this, especially by those whose wallets are getting fat from doing interventions, but I will say it anyway. Interventions are ALWAYS wrong! It is flatly inappropriate to stage what I call the "Nasty little surprise party." People stop when they are ready to stop and NOT before. I have worked with many, many clients who were the recipients of interventions, and in every case I have ever seen, even if there was a brief period of white knuckle sobriety, they not only went back to using, they went back with a vengeance, trying to make up for "lost time." My suggestion for every interventionist out there working right now is to get a copy of "Motivational Interviewing" by MIller & Rolnick, read it about three times and then get some training. You just cannot jump the shark on this step. Yes, maybe you stopped them on a downward spiral, but it's the other treatment counselors that get to deal with the wreckage you caused.
    Q: "Have you ever been the recipient of a home intervention?"
    A: "Oh, yeah. It was awesome -- got me sober and saved my life, man!"
    Q: "Yes, but I notice you're back in treatment again. How many times have you been back to inpatient treatment since the intervention?
    A: "Fourteen. But that intervention REALLY worked, man!"

    Sometimes they say 9 or 12, one guy had been through inpatient treatment again 17 times! Interventions evoke short term compliance, and in my experience, nothing more. They do, however, seem to evoke a chronic "revolving door" treatment patient.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A&E ‘Intervention’ Condones Addict Abuse By Donna Chavous of Intervention911 And Silences Audience Outrage

“With each additional day of silence, I truly recognize what is potentially the greatest threat posed by A&E Network to the treatment and recovery community - their indifference.”
- Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq.

A&E Intervention Season 11 is coming to a close, but not without controversy. Episode 10 - "Courtney," which aired on March 05, 2012, resulted in a flood of harsh criticism against the show over the intervention of 20 year old heroin addict Courtney (the self-identified "junkie princess") by interventionist Donna Chavous of Intervention911. Donna Chavous' heavy handed tactics, unprofessional language and threats of incarceration against Courtney were described in posts on A&E’s website by viewers as "bullying tactics" and "lies" from what one poster 'Marisa' called a "power hungry bully." Additional comments warned A&E to: "get rid of her before she gets someone killed." The message was clear. A&E viewers were outraged at the overall direction of their beloved ‘Intervention’ with additions to the cast like Donna Chavous – and, they were going to be heard.

Lone bloggers on the outskirts of the web were not the only ones to take notice of A&E Intervention’s alarming new direction, however. On March 06, 2012, the day after Episode 10 aired, the Huffington Post published an article entitled:  'Intervention' Gets Dangerous As Courtney Lashes Out, Tries To Escape, which detailed Courtney’s failed intervention, including the chaotic conclusion where the audience watches as one of her family hangs from the open door of a truck driven by Courtney’s heroin addict boyfriend with “Courtney prodding [him] to go faster” from inside as she struggles to detach anyone trying to prevent her escape.

I watched Episode 10 online, days after it first aired, from my Florida based law firm: Addiction Recovery Legal Services. I sat slack-jawed in my chair watching Courtney’s botched intervention play out and becoming incensed by the outrageous, unprofessional and unethical behavior of Dona Chavous. Specifically, and most troubling, false threats she made to both Courtney and her family about the power she possessed under a Florida law called the Marchman Act to have Courtney arrested for refusing treatment. The Florida Marchman Act has been my personal passion and the foundation of my 17 year legal career. I am a former member of Florida’s Drug Policy Advisory Committee under Governor Charlie Crist; a legal adviser to the 2010 Florida Marchman Act legislative redraft; and, the actual lawyer who, in 2009, provided a Florida Marchman Act training to “Intervention A-Lister” Ken Seely’s ‘Intervention911’ team (Donna Chavous’ current employer). Accordingly, what I witnessed during Episode 10 concerned me gravely personally and for the recovery and treatment community as a whole. 

As an active professional within Florida’s treatment and recovery community, I say without pause that Donna Chavous’ handling of Courtney’s intervention during Episode 10 was wantonly reckless, extremely dangerous and undoubtedly unethical. Specifically, in the "pre-intervention" scene where she explains to Courtney’s family, her power under Florida’s Marchman Act law to summon police at will and have Courtney arrested, if she refused treatment on the day of the intervention - a bold faced lie. The Florida Marchman Act is an “involuntary commitment” statute to compel addicts into detox and treatment, but it is also a legal “process” that could never grant Donna Chavous such power. The Florida Marchman Act is not a legal sword to punish addicts with incarceration for refusing care. Instead, the Florida Marchman Act is a legal shield to protect addicts from the criminal justice system and incarceration; but, most importantly, from ending up in the morgue. My outrage at the misinformation this woman spewed on national television, I first personally vetted on the A&E Intervention discussion board. Hours later, I directed a more formal email to the show producers, which began a personal email exchange with the executive producers of A&E Intervention.

Initially, our exchange was hopeful, and convinced me (at least temporarily), that the executive producers of the show were in fact “very concerned,” over Donna Chavous’ conduct and ready to protect the “integrity of the interventions [they] conduct.” Specific promise was made to me that they would personally investigate: “Ms. Chavous’…overall conduct with appropriate clinical professionals..,” and told me that they would be “grateful, if I could provide them with the specific inaccuracies in any language during the episode, concerning the [Florida] Marchman Act.” They asked me to further detail any “specific inaccuracies Ms. Chavous articulated” during Episode 10. The correspondence very quickly devolved, however, into clear posturing by A&E to distance the entertainment and production aspect of the show from what they described to be “a strict division on ‘Intervention’ between the television professionals and the clinical professionals.” Despite this, I ultimately did what they asked and provided them with a detailed transcription of the specific abuses that I witnessed aired on the show. It was then, that our seemingly fluid exchange turned to corporate stonewalling and abrupt silence. My request concerning the specific actions A&E Intervention intended to take to address Donna Chavous conduct and set the record straight were ignored. More troubling, A&E Intervention quickly went about systematically “sanitizing” all trace of my original discussion board venting under the title “Marchman Act Attorney.” Only the posts of equally outraged audience members, who noticed A&E’s removal of my earlier comments, remain:

"Where's the Marchman Attorney's messages? What happened to the messages from the Florida Attorney about the Marchman Act? Did someone from A &E take them down because he was right &; Donna lied!"

"I AGREE!!!...Honey, I just posted about the same thing. Donna Chavous is not an appropriate interventionist. Screaming after her, "I'm shutting down all your tricks girl! You're going to jail!!" I HATE this woman and she needs to find a new field of work. She's hurting these already sensitive and confused, scared addicts."

"[Re: Where's the Marchman Attorney's messages? Posted By: shined33] What messages are you referring to? I never saw [them]."

My outrage with Donna Chavous has been compounded by the subsequent inaction of A&E, whom I now hold equally accountable to the treatment and recovery community. A&E Intervention could easily have remedied their predicament by: (1) suspending Donna Chavous from further interventions until the allegations of her misconduct were fully investigated; (2) pulling all existing (or, future airings) of episodes she appears in until the allegations of her misconduct were fully investigated; and (3) publicly remedy her lie by spending equal air time rehabilitating audience perception of the Florida Marchman Act as was spent showcasing Donna Chavous misrepresentation of the law. I am sure the Reverend Hal S. Marchman; if alive today, would have found this a reasonable approach to remedy such a lie. I’m not so sure the lawyers for Hal S. Marchman’s current Estate would be so forgiving should they learn A&E had not only turned a blind eye (and ear) to such deception, but profited from it as well.

Considering the evidence at hand, A&E Intervention critics like Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe prove to be shockingly insightful: “[A&E Intervention] makes prime-time sport of vulnerable, desperate people and their spiral to the bottom.” Has the A&E Network not struck Hollywood pay dirt with its Emmy Award winning show? Have they not generated nearly unlimited sources of potential advertising revenue showcasing addicts, who Mr. Gilbert quite accurately described as being on the countdown to self-destruction? Another TV critic, Melanie McFarland, of Seattle believes that A&E Intervention blurs the line between “compelling depictions and exploitation with every episode following addicts at the lowest coils in his or her downward spiral and only confronting the person in the very last quarter of the show whereby the viewer is not left to contemplate the subject's healing process as deeply as how messed up that person is.” How unrealistic or non-objective is McFarland’s assessment of the show’s formula, which she accurately describes to be “25 percent recovery, 75 percent chaos.”

I respectfully submit to the treatment and recovery community that we all need to wake up and simply act. In regard to Donna Chavous of Intervention911, as treatment providers we have an ethical and legal duty to report unethical conduct by a licensed professional within our field, regardless of celebrity or association. All treatment providers need to be held to the same exacting standard of care, whether that care is being performed at a treatment center for Hollywood’s most affluent, or, on the front line of any indigent based facility in any city across this nation. Our duty is equal; as is our accountability. In regard to A&E Intervention, we must recognize how vital it is that we police the influence we allow an entertainment giant like A&E to have over the treatment industry and recovery community. We must hold A&E accountable for every single cent they profit on every single second of content produced on the back of every single addict like Courtney. Why? A&E Network produces television content in the name of entertainment. How can we know A&E Network holds entertainment value over their concern for addicts? In the face of credible allegations of abuse by an employee, A&E sits silent. As a community we must judge such silence unacceptable. More so, we must judge A&E’s censorship of valid corporate criticism equally unacceptable. Never forget, A&E entered the treatment profession and recovery community for no other reason than to create entertainment content for profit. In fact, A&E transformed its entire network on a long shot that they could also transform treatment and recovery into television gold. Don’t take my word for it, just a year ago A&E programming Vice President, Rob Sharenow, stated in the article ‘How A&E Got Rich Off of Recovery’ by Joe Lynch: “Intervention was a critical turning point for us…it signaled a big change in the network's entire approach to programming... interventions are quite dramatic…they come with a built-in climax, which makes for powerful TV.”

In conclusion, thirty-nine (39) days have passed since A&E was placed on notice of Donna Chavous abuse of Courtney and her family. Yet, Donna Chavous remains an untarnished member of the A&E “Intervention Team” without repercussion; without accountability and without public or, private apology. I humbly call on every member of our community to let A&E hear your voice by signing the petition at Tell A&E and Donna Chavous: “(1) I publicly hold you accountable for your conduct; and (2) I demand independent clinical oversight of your entertainment product from today forward.” This has never before been more important for our community than right now. Especially, with A&E’s plan for even greater influence over our community with the ‘Intervention’ spin-off: 'The Recovery Project' scheduled to air this year with celebrity endorsement by Whoopi Goldberg, Russell Simmons, Benjamin Bratt and Christopher Lawford (among others). Peter Hamilton Consultants (who develop, produce and market television content for other network giants like CBS, Discovery, AETN, National Geographic and NBC) has referred to ‘Intervention’ as a revenue “Sweet-Spot” for the A&E Network. ‘The Recovery Project' is clearly intended to replicate A&E’s success with ‘Intervention’ by selling a similar theme to the estimated 100 million U.S. home the show will reach weekly (thanks in total to A&E's pre-existing “Sweet-Spot”). What does A&E say about their new endeavor? According to A&E Network:

“[The Recovery Project]…was inspired by our work on the ‘Intervention’ series and in the community…to break the stigma of addiction...[A&E] celebrates people in recovery and pays tribute to those who support them: treatment providers, family and friends.”

Let that sink in for a moment, while thinking about Episode 10…About Courtney…About Donna Chavous…About A&E Network. Absolutely no reconciliation can exist between A&E’s lofty claim above to “pay tribute to every individual in recovery, provider or family member” while they condone the abuse and exploitation of any single addict – just like Courtney - and then silence public concern over such abuses.

Author Note:

For my part, I know which way the wind blows and will continue to see how many more days will tick past before A&E responds and attempts to regain any semblance of credibility in my eyes, but more so in the watchful eyes of the treatment and recovery community itself. I hope for immediate response and action by A&E, although I expect none. As A&E has no incentive to change unless we demand that they change!

With each additional day of silence, I truly am beginning to recognize what is potentially the greatest threat posed by A&E Network to the treatment industry and recovery community - their indifference. I will continue to do my part to share Courtney’s story. I hope this "Open Letter" will result in A&E eventually learning that every addict is significant; and, a person’s significance is not somehow devalued, simply because you happen to be standing at the door selling tickets to the show.

Please sign our petition and share Courtney’s story with a friend today.

Thank you.
Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq.

REPOST: A&E Intervention Condones Unethical Conduct and Silences Audience Concern


Obama Says No to Legalization of Illicit Drugs | The Partnership at

Substance Use More Highly Stigmatized Than Smoking or Obesity, Study Suggests | The Partnership at

Substance Use More Highly Stigmatized Than Smoking or Obesity, Study Suggests | The Partnership at

Teens Say Drinking and Driving Riskier Than Texting and Driving, Survey Finds | The Partnership at

Could weed affect my work?

Drug trafficker accused of pimping Orlando runaway teen

Drug trafficker accused of pimping Orlando runaway teen

Friday, April 13, 2012

America’s pill-popping capital

America’s pill-popping capital

Bahamian dope smuggler who landed on Palm Beach under threat of death to deliver, feds say

Grandma busted with 4 lbs. of pot

A&E Intervention Condones Unethical Conduct and Silences Audience Concern


Scientists Work to Make Prescription Painkillers “Unabusable” | The Partnership at

Scientists Work to Make Prescription Painkillers “Unabusable” | The Partnership at

Manipulating Memories Could Help Prevent Drug Addiction Relapse | The Partnership at

Manipulating Memories Could Help Prevent Drug Addiction Relapse | The Partnership at

Scam Artists Sell Prescription Drugs Online, Then Use Information for Blackmail | The Partnership at

Scam Artists Sell Prescription Drugs Online, Then Use Information for Blackmail | The Partnership at

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bulk purchasing increase of painkillers leads to DEA investigation

DEA Focuses on Walgreens in Crackdown on Prescription Painkillers | The Partnership at

DEA Focuses on Walgreens in Crackdown on Prescription Painkillers | The Partnership at

Prescription Drug Abuse Leads to Rise in Armed Robberies of Pharmacies | The Partnership at

Prescription Drug Abuse Leads to Rise in Armed Robberies of Pharmacies | The Partnership at

“Bath Salts” Abuse: What You Need to Know Part II | The Partnership at

“Bath Salts” Abuse: What You Need to Know Part II | The Partnership at

India's Heroin and Prescription Drug Concerns

10 surprising benefits of quitting smoking

Rick Morris is one of seven CNN viewers participating in the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He quit smoking on an episode of "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." and has been smoke-free since. 

Woman accuses Lindsay Lohan of nightclub battery

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wall Street Journal - Pill Mill Crackdown

Sales of Prescription Painkillers Increasing Across the United States, Analysis Shows | The Partnership at

Dr. Drew analyzes Whitney Houston's full autopsy report

Whitney Houston drowned in a foot of hot water, autopsy says

Painkiller sales soar around US, fuel addiction

Support Congressman Buchanan’s “Pill Mill Crackdown Act

Share your opinion on Congressman Vern Buchanan’s legislation to crack down on prescription drug abuse nationwide!

Buchanan’s bill will reschedule hydrocodone combination drugs – one of the most addictive and deadly drug mixtures.   It will also double the penalties and triple the fines for ‘pill mill’ operators and use assets seized to fund prescription drug databases.