Selected Papers of William L. White (Part Two)
3/7/2021 12:00:00 AM

Selected Papers of William L. White (Part Two)

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Congress 60 is a people-supported, non-governmental organization, active in the treatment and recovery of drug addiction.

Congress 60

History: Congress 60 is rooted in the personal experience of Mr. Hossein Dezhakam.

I’m an electronic engineer by training. I worked in the field of industrial research, design, and repair for 30 years as my addiction to alcohol and then hashish and opium took over my life. I was a hardcore addict for 17 years. I tried many different treatments to cure myself but was repeatedly unsuccessful. In the end, I began playing a game that evolved into the research and trials that I tried on myself. By determining my daily dosage, time of use, and tapering of  the drugs, I  implemented a plan [using opium tincture— known in the West as Laudanum] and to my own disbelief, was successful after an eleven month period to break my physical addiction. It was through this that the DST Method [pharmacotherapy used in Congress 60] was invented. (Dezhakam quoted in White, 2011)

Following self-cure using the DST method, Mr. Dezhakam published an account of his experience in a book, Crossing the Zone 60 Degrees Below Zero, and started an NGO, Human Revivification Society (Congress 60) under the motto, 'Let’s curb this devastating flame,' to help others seeking addiction recovery. In 1998, the first session of Congress 60 was held in a small room, with eight people attending. Today, more than 20,000 individuals hold membership cards within Congress 60’s 38 branches in Iran.

Congress 60 is a people-supported, non-governmental organization, active in the treatment and recovery of drug addiction. Its foundation is based on the principal of a revived addict helping fellow addicts who are currently still using narcotics….It has a license from the Ministry of the Interior, and its purpose is to reduce the harmful results of addiction. Congress 60’s axis of activities consists of education, prevention, curbing, and guidance in curing addiction. The main objectives of Congress 60 are providing scientific research and practical solutions in recognizing the relationship between the human psyche and illicit drug dependence and providing a useful method and guidance to drug addicts and their families. (Dezhakam quoted in White, 2011)

There was early professional resistance to the idea of using opium tincture (OT) in the treatment of addiction, but as the number of people achieving stable recoveries within Congress 60 grew, these attitudes began to change. The Ministry of Health subsequently approved OT in the treatment of opioid addiction, the pharmaceutical companies expanded manufacture of OT preparations, and OT was added to methadone and buprenorphine as choices of pharmacological intervention into opiate addiction in Iran. The Stadmabroz aba Movad Mokhdar (Iranian Drug Control Headquarters) supported a pilot project on heroin, opium, hash, and alcohol detoxification with opium tincture for 1,000 persons in Congress60. The pilot is now completed, and results are currently being prepared for publication. Since completion of the pilot, more than 7,000 individuals are being treated with OT using the D.S.T. method within Congress 60.

Governance: Congress 60 is organized into branches, with each branch sharing a similar structure. At present, there are 16 branches in Tehran and 22 branches in other cities of Iran. Congress 60 is organized around six key roles: Guardian (founder/director), Didehban (14-member parliament of Congress 60 responsible for overall policy and planning), Marzbans (seven-person executive teams elected for one year by the branch membership and who assure compliance with branch rules and regulations), Mosafer (travelers, those seeking treatment and recovery from addiction), Hamsafar (companions, family members, and friends of each traveler who participate in all Congress 60 activities), and guides who supervise the treatment process. Each Didehban (supervisor) has responsibility for a specific area of operation, e.g., departments of research, worldview, family, public relations, lady travelers, sports, and guides.

There are three different levels of guide in Congress60: 1) assistant guide, 2) guide, and 3) master guide. Becoming an assistant guide requires six months of recovery (completion of treatment), completion of training classes, and passing a competitive examination. The exam focuses on three primary areas: 1) technical knowledge of drugs and their effects on humans and methods of effective treatment, 2) worldview or spiritual aspects of the recovery process, and 3) moral aptitude of the applicant, which is judged by the management team. The levels of guides are designated by different colors of scarves worn during Congress 60 meetings. The Didehban (14 people), Marzban (250 people), Guides, and Assistant Guides collectively number 800 (500 men, 300 women), all are graduates of Congress 60 (those treated for addiction or family members), and all serve on a voluntary basis.

The central meeting format of Congress 60 is the large workshop. The workshops are delivered mostly by senior members of Congress 60 and sometimes by university instructors and professors who volunteer their time to Congress 60. Each guide has several students that form a legion that meet in a public place after these workshops. All members are expected to participate in the discussions. These legions serve as family units within the larger Congress 60 community.

To be continued.....



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