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Irish Drug Addiction Charity Accused of Exploiting and Abusing Residents

By McCarton Ackerman 12/23/13

The charity forced recovering addicts to work obscene hours while using the money they raised for staff members' lavish vacations.

RTE Prime Time originally reported the story.
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An Irish drug addiction charity has been accused of exploiting the people they were supposed to help by making addicts work unpaid for 18 hours per day. The church Victory Outreach offered drug users a free place in their recovery home in exchange for their social welfare payments, but made them kick their habit cold turkey despite the documented medical dangers. Once they had detoxed, the charity made them go to door-to-door all day in fundraising efforts or gave them jobs in pubs and other unsuitable locations that greatly increased the chance of a relapse.

But despite their work in raising money for Victory Outreach, they didn’t reap the benefits of it. The report also revealed that public funds designated for the charity went towards lavish vacations for senior staff members to Hollywood and Las Vegas. A former resident who wished to remain anonymous said he was forced to cut lawns for free and said the charity had “no recovery in it at all.”

Much of the fundraising that residents were required to do was illegal, but the charity allegedly turned a blind eye if they were punished. When one service member was arrested, he was forced to spend two days in jail after the charity refused to acknowledge he had been fundraising on their behalf.

Victory Outreach said, “there was [previously] a breakdown in communication and some people fundraised without permission,” but that this was no longer the case. They also denied only accepting people who had social welfare and defended their unorthodox treatment methods by declaring they were a “recovery home, not a rehabilitation home.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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