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For Mark Willenbring, Substance Abuse Treatment Begins With Research
The New York Times

On the rainy fall morning of their first appointment, Dr. Mark Willenbring, a psychiatrist, welcomed a young web designer into his spacious office with a firm handshake and motioned for him to sit. The slender 29-year-old patient, dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans and a baseball cap, slouched into his chair and began pouring out a story of woe stretching back a dozen years.

Addicted to heroin, he had tried more than 20 traditional faith- and abstinence-based rehabilitation programs. In 2009, a brother died of an OxyContin overdose. Last summer, he attempted suicide by swallowing a fistful of Xanax. When he woke up to find he was still alive, he overdosed on heroin.

At a boot camp for troubled teenagers, he said, staffers beat him and withheld food. After he refused to climb a mountain in a team-building exercise, they strapped him to a gurney and dragged him up themselves.

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