Methods 'break will'; ex-clients tell of abuse
AUSTIN - Harsh rehabilitation techniques such as those used by KIDS of El Paso can cause patients to shift their dependency from drugs or alcohol to the program. ***, a psychiatrist, and expert on alcohol abuse, said in court here that such techniques can destroy a person's ego, making it difficult to rebuild. "You run the risk of not gaining a solid ego," he said. *** was testifying at the hearing to determine whether KIDS of El Paso County Inc. may stay in business until the state rules on whether the organization may keep its license. ***, who did not testify directly about KIDS of El Paso, said that harsh programs can cause people to become dependent on the system for support, making it difficult for them to lead productive, independent lives."But you always run the risk of the treatment changing to a cult," *** said. Programs that are maintained by fear "are not good." *** said to 258th District Court Judge ***. “ Basically the individual is not getting well. Inducing this degree of fear is terrifying to the individual. You're taking their will away and putting another in its place." ***, program director for KIDS, said the focus of the program is the recovery of the young adults who are its clients. When they enter the program, they have already shown they cannot be trusted, and their privileges are taken away. KIDS has a 70 percent success rate, *** said. The program works closely with parents during the treatment of children, he said. Many clients enroll themselves into KIDS, he said. About 60 parents and relatives of young adults enrolled in program in El Paso traveled to Austin for the hearing. On Thursday, the judge recessed the hearing until Monday. The hearing Thursday was on a temporary injunction to close the program until the license issue is decided. ***, executive director of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, revoked the program's license June 2, after investigations revealed that KIDS may have abused clients or violated their civil rights. Also testifying Thursday were two former clients of the program and a parent of one of the clients. ***, 17, and *** 20, who left the program this year, said they were abused and participated in the abuse of others in the program. *** complaints also were contained in an affidavit. She said she and other clients took a young girl into the ‘quiet room’ after the girl “soiled her pants.” They not only held her on the floor but also put a diaper on her, *** said. "Then we stood her up and held a plastic bag containing her feces up to her face and made her smell it," *** said in the document. Clients were instructed "to shove her face in it," she said in court. *** said her stress was so great that her menstrual cycle was interrupted for 19 months. *** joined KIDS in September 1987. He said KIDS staff members coerced him into signing himself into the program, after his parents found a pornographic magazine in his room. "They told my parents I had a drug problem. They told me I wouldn't see my family again if I didn't join, so I joined," he said. ***, who was representing parents of almost 60 clients wanting to stay in the program, said after the hearing that he questioned the truth of some of the testimony against KIDS. He said Thursday's testimony showed that the program is working and that "the end result justifies the means."