The Data Behind Miraculous Rapid Detox Cures

December 13, 2007

Trevor Butterworth

STATS’ Senior Fellow Maia Szalavitz has a blog posting on Scientific American about a recent 60 Minutes story on

“… a new therapy that is said to break the grip of drug addiction in a simple treatment. Addicts who have tried everything and remained hopelessly hooked say their drug cravings ended almost overnight.

The therapy is called “Prometa.” As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, it’s being promoted by Terren Peizer, a former junk bond salesman whose business is business, not medicine. He skipped the usual medical research and government approvals to rush Prometa to market.

Why the shortcuts? Peizer, who stands to make millions, says there’s no way he can sit on Prometa when he believes it’s the miracle treatment that millions are dying for. …”

As Szalavitz notes,

“The fact remains that anyone can introduce and sell an addiction treatment regime– whether it be behavioral, psychological, physical or using unusual combinations of medications approved for other conditions– without having to prove that it is effective or even safe.”

And the history of drug reporting on these “cures” has often overlooked the drawbacks, even after rigorous, peer-reviewed research declared them to be riskier than traditional detox.


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