Monday, February 19, 2007


Teen Challenge continually boasts about their unbelievably high success rates. You've heard those success rates being told by Teen Challenge over & over again to promote their faith-based treatment program. So where do these unbelievably high success rates come from?

-The last statistically significant evaluation of the Teen Challenge program was in 1975, which was done by The National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago. They developed the survey instrument, located survey participants, conducted the personal interviews, and obtained a urine sample to test for drugs. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded the first year of the study. The evaluation came from a sample of Pennsylvania Teen Challenge graduates from 1968!
FYI: 1975 was 32 years ago! 1968 was 39 years ago!

-A total of 186 persons, divided into 3 groups, were interviewed for this project:
  • P1=70 people (students that entered Brooklyn Teen Challenge, but dropped out and never attended the Rehrersburg program.)
  • P2=52 people (students that completed the Brooklyn program who later dropped out of the Rehrersburg program.)
  • P3=64 people (graduates of the Rehrersburg Training Center program.)
The results claim that 67% of the graduates (P3) are drug-free as indicated by the urinalysis test, even though 86% stated they were drug-free on the questionnaire. So, that would mean that 67% of the P3 group, or 43 people remained marijuana and heroin-free 7 years after graduating from Teen Challenge.

So, if 43 graduates remained marijuana and heroin-free 7 years after this survey, what about the other 21 graduates and the remaining 143 people who dropped out of the program? Also, the test results do not indicate whether the graduates tested positive for other drugs such as alcohol, other narcotics or nicotine!

This study suggested that Teen Challenge had a success rate of 86%. But Bill McColl, executive director of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, dismisses both the statistic and the study. He states that the study was done too long ago and conducted with an extraordinarily small sample group. This leads us to believe that this study has almost no statistical validity. I tend to side with his opinion.

FYI: Upon doing an internet search of this study, I am only able to find 'excerpts' of this particular study only on the Teen Challenge websites, which leads me to once again wonder, "Why?"

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Family members who have loved ones in Teen Challenge programs across the country have many unanswered questions. Many seem to be crying out for help because they are not able to find out how their loved ones are 'really' doing! Please read the side-bar on the right to read excerpts from some of the family members comments and questions. These excerpts are linked to the original website that they were posted on, which is where you can read the full post.

Upon reading the excerpts and original posts, you will also realize that many people are complaining about many issues, including:
  • Teen Challenge staff are not returning phone calls to concerned family members.
  • Teen Challenge staff closely monitor conversations and visits so as not to allow the person who is in for treatment to be able to tell their family members exactly what is happening or has happened to them (or others) while in Teen Challenge.
  • Teen Challenge staff will actually disconnect telephone conversations when either party mentions something they do not think is appropriate.
  • Teen Challenge staff reprimands your loved one using various forms of punishment as discipline that you may not approve of.
  • Teen Challenge severely limits contact with the outside world during the entire one-year (or more) stay at Teen Challenge.
  • Teen Challenge staff have also been accused of physical, mental and spiritual abuse.
  • Very high drop-out rates that will completely change the publics perception of those incredibly high success rates that Teen Challenge continually boasts about.
It is also becoming quite clear to me that people are having a very hard time finding others who also have loved ones in Teen Challenge. You can only begin to imagine what they are also going through.

Friday, February 16, 2007


The Teen Challenge Program

Teen Challenge is offered as a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center not only for teenagers, but also for adults. The program seems to be based solely on the fact that a person can literally 'pray away' their alcoholism and drug addiction. As far as I can tell, the program is not even certified because it uses pastoral counselors instead of licensed clinical counselors. This has led me to do some research to find out what Teen Challenge is really all about and I highly recommend that you do the same before either admitting your teenager or yourself into it! (I feel sorry for the people who join while they are incarcerated. Teen Challenge does alot of their recruiting in jails and prisons! Nothing like getting you when you're already down, hey?)

Based on my findings, I feel that Teen Challenge should be classified as a brainwashing cult. Why? Well, first click here to view their Daily Schedule. (If you spend some time exploring their many websites across the U.S. and world, you will find that this schedule is rarely modified and strictly adhered to. You will also find that their Daily Schedule is quite hard to find!) Note how the schedule incorporates the daily times for the morning Devotions, Praise & Prayer and evening Devotions. From what I've heard, after you wake up and right before bedtime are when your subconscious is the most susceptible to change.

I printed out the schedule so I could evaluate just how many hours per day and week that a person would be required to spend doing the religious aspect of the program. I also realized that Lecture, PACE and Study Hall are all centered on the Bible. So, if you add up those times with the amount of time you needed for Devotions and Praise & Prayer, you realize that the students pretty much 'live & breathe' religion the good part of the day, every day, for an entire year!!!

I was also amazed at how many hours are spent in church on Sunday! The students must attend church, not once, but twice every Sunday!!! This totals 6-1/4 hours of solid religious programing every Sunday, not to mention the 1/2 hour that is spent doing the daily Devotion forty-five minutes after waking up that morning!

This is an Overview of the Teen Challenge Program. Some of their websites call it 'The Student Manual'. This site calls it Student Guidelines. (I recommend reading both of them in their entirety!) Regardless of what it is called, it is also very hard to find because most of the Teen Challenge websites do not offer it! (I wonder why? Is it because they don't want the public to know?) I also wonder if new 'recruits' are informed of these very strict rules before they are admitted. Strict dress-codes, no television, no contact with boyfriend / girlfriend / friends, no speaking to the opposite sex unless you have permission, very limited telephone usage, 5-min. showers? The list of no-no's goes on & on!

Here is their Global Teen Challenge Worldwide Directory. If you dig deep enough, you may be able to uncover a few more of their secrets that aren't disclosed on most of their websites!

Another good place to start finding out more would be to read the Proselytizing Report about Teen Challenge from the website of The Rick A. Ross Institute For The Study Of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements.

Personally, I highly recommend doing some serious investigating before either admitting your teenager or yourself into it! And if you know someone who is incarcerated that is thinking about applying to this faith-healing treatment center, let them know what your findings are!

Also, ask questions! Ask others if they agree that Teen Challenge very aggressively pushes their religious beliefs upon those who do not share them and whose main goal is to recruit you so they can convert you to their extremely 'hyper-religious' religion. And don't forget to ask others if they sometimes have to behave like Holy Rollers / Jesus Freaks who roll around on the floor and 'speak in tongues' in an uncontrolled manner.
"Is this really what I want my loved one to experience?"