Start / Intro / Ch 1 / Ch 2 / Ch 3 / Ch 4 / Ch 5 / Conclusion / App A / App B / Bibliography / JRCM Home

By John E. Russell



I have had but two visions in my lifetime. The first came to me in 1958, when a vision of God took me from a little town in Pennsylvania to New York City to work with teen gangs and drug addicts. That was not a false vision. Now, years later, its reality is shown by the youth centers [Teen Challenge] spread all around the world. Gangs and addicts have not only been converted, but many are even preaching the gospel as ministers and missionaries. [David Wilkerson, THE VISION (New York: Pyramid Books, 1974), p. 11].
These words by David Wilkerson chronicle the start of a worldwide movement, now called Teen Challenge.

Teen Challenge continues thirty-five years after its inception. It has a 70 percent cure rate of drug addicts, who complete their course. This contrasts with a 4-15 percent cure rate of most other programs. The federal drug rehabilitation program at Lexington, Kentucky was closed because of its 4 percent cure rate.

The 70 percent cure rate gained the attention of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which did a study to determine if Teen Challenge's 70 percent figure was exaggerated. Catherine Hess, M.D. headed the study. Her findings are shown in her research summation. [Catherine B. Hess, M.D., MPH., RESEARCH SUMMATION: H.E.W. STUDY ON TEEN CHALLENGE TRAINING CENTER REHRERSBURG, PA (Springfield, MO: National Teen Challenge, n.d.)]. The study was limited to heroin addicts and was conducted in 1975. Seven years after leaving Teen Challenge, 86 percent were still not using heroin. Since the Teen Challenge standard is to be drug free, and some former heroin addicts were using alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, etc., there was a 70 percent cure rate using Teen Challenge standards. Dr. Hess stated concerning Teen Challenge, "IT WAS PROBABLY THE MOST EFFECTIVE REHABILITATION PROGRAM I HAVE EVER SEEN--AND IT STILL IS." (David Manuel, "Teen Challenge: Conquering Drugs," THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, December 1987, reprint).


Copyright © 1995-1997 by John E. Russell, Revised 1997
Internet Version Copyright © 1998 by John E. Russell