Safe, Inc. in Orlando, Florida
A Straight-descendent synanon
My son Weaver was a thrill seeker, a real free spirit. His idea of fun was to rappel down 130 foot cliffs, or to ride down seven mile ridge on a mountain bike with the brakes disconnected. As he grew up unfortunately the thrill seeking was expressed via law violations, alcohol and drug abuse. When he was seventeen it all really came to a head. His long standing history of problems sent me on a quest for help.
In a very distraught frame of mind I called the SAFE program in Orlando and was deceptively recruited into placing my son there. I was told so many lies. I was told the program had an 80% success rate, that the length was 8-12 months. I was especially happy to hear that after a very short time my son would be attending college during the day or working and would receive the guidance of professional counselors as he faced the challenges of returning to the real world. Insurance coverage was assured, fees were agreed upon, and lastly there was the casual mention of our family’s participation being required one weekend a month at some meetings and classes.
In reality I placed my son in an abusive mind-control cult and have lost him to them. The program first drove a wedge between my two children, who up to this point had been best friends. I found quickly the group required complete obedience and devotion. I was basically held hostage for my child. My daughter refused to participate at all in SAFE. I was berated, humiliated, harassed on a regular basis. I became depressed, suicidal, and later lost my job.
After trying very hard to stick it out I decided after 10 months I could no longer cope with it. I tried to get my son to leave with me, but he refused and told the cult leaders of my criticisms. All contact between us was blocked. In 1999 I saw my son only once. I visited him outside of SAFE and he told me he felt dissociated from reality and very depressed. I was only allowed phone contact for three months in 1999. I am not a drug addict, a criminal or otherwise unsuitable parent, I love my son very much. My only crime was that I was critical of their program and refused to submit myself to their abuse.
SAFE took him to see a new Psychiatrist shortly after my visit in 1999. He was started on medication for ADD. He was placed on 90mgs of ADDERALL (amphetamines) a day. Shortly afterwards he told me that he was only being allowed to sleep three hours per night because he had so many responsibilities. I reacted with outrage and so once again I was no longer allowed contact with him.
The average daily dosage of ADDERALL is 20-25 mg a day. In other words my son has been on four times the normal amount. The pharmacy across from the facility told me there are so many children in SAFE on such high doses of ADDERALL that they must special order a supply just for them.
I have tried desperately with little success to get my son to leave. He has been brainwashed during my absence into believing I am bad and must be avoided. He has been at SAFE since February 1998. In May, 2000 Weaver commenced from the SAFE program. Today he remains there as a junior “counselor” and a captive of their “aftercare” program. He is allowed no contact with anyone outside of their cult.
Between 1976 and 1993 Straight, Inc., a Saint Petersburg, Florida-based charity, operated the biggest chain of juvenile drug rehab synanons or therapeutic communities in America. (A synanon is a mind-control approach to rehabilitation where the addicts themselves assist in their own recovery by shouting brutal, verbal indictments at one another.) Straight closed its Orlando, Florida facility on August 14, 1992. On that very day Michael Scaletta, who had been Straight-Orlando's executive director, opened SAFE, Inc. out of the same facility that Straight-Orlando had used. There has never been one Straight that has not been accused of child abuse.
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