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?"


Anonymous said...

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kevin said...

if you are thinking about enrolling in the teenchallenge program word of advice DON'T what you have read and heard from people are not exagerations I was in one in Minnesota and lasted 9 months and left and went and did my jail time which was a very good decision, yes jail was much better