March 31, 2012

Serenity Drug, Alcohol, and Addiction Rehab

I had heard of Serenity Rehab over the last couple of years. I had never paid much attention to them until this past week when the clinic and it's owner - William "Doc" Murdoch - hit the news with their massive failure of a children's skateboarding competition.

I initially took an interest in this because i loathe bullies. Like most of New Zealand, when i watched that video i was horrified to see a rather large adult - Craig Platt - shoulder barging a young skateboarder then proceeding to grab a person who stuck up for that kid by the neck. The whole thing was an awful display of a grown adult using unnecessary force to bully and intimidate someone a third of his size.

As the story unfolded though - i found myself wondering what this Serenity Clinic was all about. I wondered why anyone would deem an alcohol, drug, and addiction rehabilitation clinic as an appropriate sponsor for a children's sporting event. I also wondered to myself why the owner of that clinic - Doc Murdoch - who claims to know everything about substance abuse would think it is a good idea to pass out spray paint to those children when solvent abuse among children is an enormous problem in this country.

My curiosity led me to a couple of Facebook groups that had been set up in relation to Doc Murdoch and the Serenity clinic. The 'Serenity the Cure' page has obviously been set up by the Doc himself - where as the 'Doc2012' page appears to have been set up in response to the comments being made on the Serenity page being moderated and deleted by Doc Murdoch.

At first i didn't blame Serenity / Doc Murdoch for moderating his page. The barrage of abuse that he was receiving in response to Craig Platt's bullying and the lynch mob like mentality of the comments were kind of freaky. The public sure wanted to make sure that Doc knew just how unpopular he is right now.

They were not holding back.

Somewhere along the way i was directed to a statement that Doc had released in response to the criticism he has received over the past 6 days. I clicked on the link expecting a public apology for the bullying that went on at his event and for the damage done to one of Auckland's public parks. I figured Doc Murdoch would be doing some major damage control.


What i read - or attempted to read but couldn't quite manage it - was what can only be described as a P fueled rant. If the Doc was not fried when he took the time to type all of that out - if he has really been drug free long enough to be charging people with addictions 4k a week for treatment - then right there is proof that the residual effects of methamphetamine abuse can be permanent.

I then got more curious - as i tend to do.

I ended up replying to a post that the "Doc" had made on his Serenity page. I actually agreed with him that the hate that was being spewed on that page was not all that different to the bullying that had been displayed on our televisions by his friend - Craig Platt.

I had some questions for him though.

I wanted to know why he thought it was appropriate for a drug and alcohol treatment clinic to be sponsoring a children's sporting event. I wanted to know what it was about that treatment centre passing out solvents to young children in order to vandalise a public park - that he thought was the right thing to do. I asked him if he thought sauntering off on TV while announcing that he was off to have a drink was good advertising for his clinic.

At first - the "Doc" responded to me. He ignored most of what i had said but announced that Serenity and himself do not believe that addiction is a disease - and he is proof of that. He told me that alcohol is the worst drug in terms of the effect that it has on our society and that abusing it is a choice - not a disease. He quit drinking 17 years ago he proudly announces - except for the two glasses of bubbly he consumes per day. They don't count.

I am not sure how he thinks that response answered any of my questions so i persevered. As. I. Do.

I told him that to some extent i agree with him regarding the disease model of addiction. I know for me personally - i find that model to be a cop out. It is basically telling addicts that they don't have a choice, and that relapsing is ok. To me - that is what makes rehabilitation clinics like Serenity so profitable and is what keeps them in business. I then told him that i believed that someone who claims to have "the cure" for addiction would understand and recognise that every addict has had different life experiences that has brought them to the point where they require help and because of that fact there is no one cure for addiction - therefor the disease model cannot be completely discounted. I told him that it was my opinion that someone who purports to have enough knowledge about addiction that he can charge people thousands for "the cure" would already know this. Then i questioned what qualifications he has - other than his own experience with using drugs and his own addiction - to be charging for his closed minded advice.

I patiently awaited an intelligent and literate response from the "doc" - which never came. He just deleted my questions and the entire conversation.

I must have been too much like hard work for him.

So i have continued to watch with amusement the Doc announcing that he is writing a book, that a Dr. Bruce Wilson - who is a psychologist ( that does not make him a doctor - does it?) considers Doc Murdoch's philosophy for addiction and recovery is "the soundest he has ever seen" etc etc etc.

I have looked at the Serenity website, and have come to the conclusion that you could drive a truck through the holes in their logic, reasoning, and the claims made on that website. They claim to have a 90% success rate at curing the addicts that have gone to them for treatment. The fact that the treatment centre has only been running for two years means that is absolutely a false statement. According to the DSM IV diagnostic manual that is used by all reputable psychiatrists and psychologists an addict has to have a period of 3 years total abstinence before being considered in permanent remission. They do not speak of a "cure."

Doc Murdoch claims to have the cure for addiction on his website. The same website where he claims that there is no such thing as addiction. Despite having a clear lack of knowledge regarding the etiology of addiction - he claims that Vitamin C will prevent it's withdrawal symptoms. He might as well be charging 5 k for snake oil. To top it off - this clinic is run from an apartment at the Viaduct. No actual clinic. No doctor's office. Just an apartment in the middle of an area in Auckland where every other building is a pub - and where methamphetamine abuse and dealing is rife.

William Doc Murdoch is using used car salesman tactics in an unregulated area of the medical industry. He is exploiting people who are extremely vulnerable and at very low points in their lives - with not one qualification to be doing so.

William Doc Murdoch is a quack. He is no different to the likes of The Destiny Church and Brian Tamaki. Like Brian - William Doc Murdoch is a self appointed guru lining his pockets with money from vulnerable people who are at their lowest. He claims to have a cure for something that he clearly does not understand - and that he claims does not exist.

For thousands of dollars he will share that cure with you.

William Doc Murdoch has the anti Midas touch. Everything he touches turns to sh*t. His CV is a roll call of failed money making schemes.

Music svengali  - Failed.
Importer of illegal drugs - Failed
Nightclub Marketing Manager - Failed
Promoter of edgy youth events - Failed
Car Salesman - Failed
Pimp - Failed

The list goes on.

Do not give William Doc Murdoch one cent of your money.

There - I broke my self imposed blogging ban because i feel so strongly about this con man. 


christopher said...

this guy is a sharletin this proxy drug treament is a continuation of his disfunksional lifestyle and is all about making money! addicts are so vulnerable when seeking help they know very little about there addiction and will listen in hope to anything that sounds feasable, he should be stopped "DOC" is doing untold harm to these people, hes definatly still part of the problem and he should seek treatment for his delusions, its understandable for him a LITTLE knowledge can be harmfull and his METH habit has probably left some residual phycosis.

Mish said...

I wanted to stand up and give you an ovation for this post.

Jacqueline said...

Thanks Mish.

I feel really strongly about this guy and felt he was worthy of a well thought out and written warning to anyone out there who might be in one of those low places right now.

He needs to be stopped.

Adam Prattalini said...

This is awsome, this guy is a renowned con man he scammed my father out of thousands of dollars, I regard him as the scum of the earth,

Jacqueline said...

Yep Adam - he is pretty low.

Peter A said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing your research (and opinions) about this character and his background, Jacqueline.

This controversy (about the sponsor of the skate 'competition') completely passed me by. Good on you for 'investigating'!

It fits. A "self-appointed guru making money from the vulnerable" is a clich̩ Рbecause it happens all too often.

Keep on it.


Jacqueline said...

It is actually quite scary when you think about it Peter - that a person can just rent an apartment, set up a website, and call themselves an addiction rehabilitation clinic without one qualification and with no regulation from the medical industry in this country.

The things i have heard about William Murdoch from people that have met him would shock you and it is unbelievable that he is able to target vulnerable people who are at rock bottom and in search of hope for his own personal gain. The fact that there is no regulation in the addiction industry in this country is a whole other blog post all together.

Doc's only knowledge or experience with the treatment of addicts is the fact that he has been an addict for 33 years, has been in and out of rehab 4 times, and spent 17 years attending NA meetings. In his eyes - those bad choices qualify him to charge addicts 5k a week for Vitamin C, pub lunches, and long walks on the beach.

I haven't written most of what i know about this man for the very reason that you pointed out to me yesterday. Continued and repeated attacks on someone take away from the main focus and eventually lose their shock value.

This issue is too important to me to do that.

Anonymous said...

Yes M hired me to be his 'PA' for his night club, club M. Only thing he didn't mention was that having sex with him was also part of the job. I declined and lost my job.

Jacqueline said...

I just lost half my dinner reading that comment.


I hope you found better employment. You should have taken him to the employment tribunal over sexual harassment.

Paige said...

Look like this guy Doc Murdoch is running a scam rehab and doesn't pay his bills either.

Instead he kicks up a stink and goes on the attack sending abusive e-mails and throwing slanderous comments at the people owed and threatening them.

Skinny who was meant to 'sponsor' the skate incident when push came to shove (literally) they didn't turn up.

Now Doc Murdoch instead of being understanding why a cell phone company targeted at youths decided not to turn up to the mess.
He sent a barrage of comments to their websites saying nasty thing about them all over FB and other trying to defame the Skinny brand AKA Telecom.
He says: There will be legal action taken against Telecom (the owner of Skinny) having spent most of my life signing contracts and knowing the law on both sides of the coin.

There has been no legal action.

The council has since received a barrage of attacks from Doc Murdoch when asked to pay the bill for the skate park vandalism saying:
that "the tone of correspondence to the council has been aggressive and some of his comments defamatory."

This is how he deals with people or problems by attacking people and being verbally aggressive and threatening.

Jacqueline I am surprised he has not gone on the attack at you for shedding light on his con man ways.

But to name seems the only way to protect helpless families dealing with addiction problems.

He bully landlords, people he owes money to and clients in his rehabilitation facilities along with their families.

The more we make people aware of his devious ways the less families of addiction with suffer at his hands.

But hey "He plans to expand Serenity to the Gold Coast of Australia, where the money is."

He also thinks : Not that he thinks drugs are all bad. Everything in moderation.

Try telling the thousands of families that P effects every year that a little bit is OK!

He has listed himself on Linkedin as a M.D. at Serenity.

Last time I checked you needed an education to have (M.D: Medical Doctor) tagged onto your name. Not just be educated by the fact you have used drugs extensively.

As for his drug and mental health education, besides being an extensive drug user it looks like he attended John McGlashan for 1 year.. which is a secondary school.

Doc Murdoch never even attended college or uni.

Jacqueline said...

Paige -

"The more we make people aware of his devious ways the less families of addiction with suffer at his hands."

Exactly why i wrote about him.

Addicts and their families are suffering enough. They are vulnerable and in search of hope - which is a very difficult thing to find when you are in the grip of addiction to a drug like P.

I know. I have been there.

If i had met Doc Murdoch when i was in that dark place - i have no doubt that i would probably be dead right now.

I am currently in my first year of a Bachelor of Alcohol, Drug, and Addiction studies. I feel very strongly - with all the work that i am doing in relation to this subject that there is no way anyone could help others in this area without formal education. It is such a complicated field. The more i learn - the more i realise how little i know. Treating people in this area requires a LOT more than just having been there.

Doc Murdoch seems to think that 4 failed stints in rehab and 33 years of practical experience using drugs qualifies him to charge people thousands for vitamin C and to have anything other than the label "con man" after his name.

It doesn't.

Jacqueline said...

and ps...he can come after me all he likes.

I am used to freaks and psychos harassing me on the internet. He would just be another to add to the list of crazies that i have unearthed!