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HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Thai Temple Rehab Prescribes Puking

It may not be appetizing, but the detox/rehab program at this Thai monastery seems to work.


Thamkrabok's program is not for the faint
of stomach. Photo via

By Hunter R. Slaton


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One question that alcoholics and addicts starting a 12-Step program often hear is, “Are you willing to go to any lengths to stay sober?” Well, for people considering treatment at Thamkrabok Monastery in Thailand, one of those lengths is... projectile vomiting. That’s right—one of the pillars of treatment at the temple, which has treated more than 100,000 addicts since its rehab program began in 1959,  is drinking a sick-making brew of no fewer than 108 herbs, which causes patients to throw up, ostensibly eliminating toxins from the body. Which all seems very Sid and Nancy; wouldn’t a nice lemon cleanse achieve the same result? That said, the program—which is free—does seem to work. Despite some high-profile failures (British rocker and former Kate Moss partner-in-crime Pete Doherty among them), a large number of hard cases get sober at the monastery, from tough-punk, chain-smoking Thai kids to Detroit heroin-addict yogis. And after getting clean, 30% of residents become monks themselves, which is one way to guarantee long-term community support. According to the founder of a detox in England, about 95% of the people he’s sent to treatment at Thamkrabok have managed keep off drugs and alcohol since doing time at the vomitorium.

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