Floyd Bloom

NEW YORK STATE CIVIL COMMITMENT PROGRAM The New York State Civil Commitment Program was the largest and most expensive drug treatment program of its kind during the 1960s and 1970s. Modeled after the California Civil Addict Program (CAP), it was established in the early 1960s in response to the dramatic rise of New York's heroin-addict population. The first reaction to the problem was expressed in the Metcalf-Volker Narcotic Addict Commitment Act of 1962, which sent arrested addicts to state mental-hygiene facilities for treatment. The total failure of this program prompted New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to substantially modify and expand the program in 1966 by creating a Narcotic Addiction Control Commission (NACC). NACC was established to administer the New York State Civil Commitment Program, which involved a major statewide network of residential treatment centers.

Six different types of centers handled the following phases of treatment: examination and detention; detoxification, orientation, and screening; residential treatment and rehabilitation; temporary return; indefinite return; and halfway houses. Those who were eligible for treatment at a center included addicted individuals who had been arrested or convicted for a felony or misdemeanor, who had been involuntarily committed by their family or a friend, or who had volunteered to be treated. The treatment process consisted of a period of commitment within the institution, followed by community aftercare. Clients were under the control of the agency for an average of twenty-five months, of which ten months was spent in residence at the institution (Winick, 1988).

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