Leaders of a detox facility that hasn't shied away from voicing controversial positions in a very public fashion are having second thoughts about something sent out in their name last week.
The morning after sending a commnunication discussing speculation on the cause of music star Prince's death, Novus Detox Center delivered an apology by e-mail. The first communication had opened with, “It may be weeks before we can confirm or deny the shocking news, but there's a story flying around the world that the late pop/rock star Prince was dependent on opioid painkillers for 25 years.”
The follow-up e-mail referred to that “story,” originating out of a newspaper report in the UK, as having been based on “unverified data” (with the information apparently having been delivered by an unnamed drug dealer). The second e-mail from Novus, sent under the e-mail address of vice president of admissions Will Wesch, stated, “I want you to know that this was not a sanctioned message from Novus,” and added, “I am personally seeing to it that we are internally correcting the issue.”
Wesch has not yet replied to our request for clarification on what that correction might entail. Novus frequently communicates to the field—and to potential patients and their families—about issues of national scope. Last year it sent out, and then vigorously defended, communications that questioned the safety and effectiveness of methadone treatment for opioid addiction.
It is tempting for addiction treatment facilities to position themselves as authorities when a high-profile event that possibly involves substances occurs. But in the same way that they would wait to see the evidence before embarking on a new clinical strategy for their patients, they would be wise to wait for more facts to come in before drawing blanket conclusions about the news of the day.