A leading drug and alcohol rehabilitation expert has expressed his dismay and shock and questioned the professionalism of some of the world’s most famous rehabs in treating ‘addictions’ and changing people’s behaviour in light of the recent story about a dad putting his son in to rehab to stop him being gay.

Mr McLean’s comments come after the breaking story of a 16-year-old boy from Moscow who has been medicated against his will at a drug rehab clinic – for being gay.

Addictions expert John McLean, head of Abbeycare Foundation, a rehab based in Scotland, said: “I feel sorry for this boy and outraged that this rehab has even considered yet attempted to treat this boy for a so-called ‘addiction’. The gay community – as well as many other right-minded people – are outraged by this and I condemn the father’s behaviour too. Being gay is not an addiction and to try and treat it as if is in an addiction using drugs and therapy is nothing short of lunacy and barbaric.”

The incident happened when the boy told his friends and family that he was gay. The boy’s father reacted furiously and sent him to the clinic where he hoped it would change his son’s mind – or least force him into changing his mind.

The story has caused wide outrage in the Russia with human rights activists campaigning outside the clinic.

Mr McLean is a leading interventionalist, therapist and addictions expert and has been working in the field for over 25 years, treating people at his addictions clinic in Ayrshire as well as travelling the world training other rehabs in alcohol and drug treatment.

“Psycho-social interventions only work to changed either learned-behaviour or addictive illnesses as they are cognitive in terms of compulsive and obsessive behaviour. You sexual orientation is not a compulsion, addiction or something that can be treated. I’m disgusted by the clinic for even taking the boy in never mind giving him medications to treat this. It’s nothing short of an ill-attempt at brain-washing and the rehab should be investigated and disciplined for this. Too many rehabs out there are just fancy hotels and holiday retreats and are simply in it for money. Proper rehabs such as Abbeycare would never even consider this and in fact, would report such behaviour by parents as neglect and abuse should it occur in the UK.

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.