The Reminiscences of Howard Friend

The Transcript

I was looking for some place to warm up, and I really didn’t have any concept of what treatment was, or what I was getting into. But even in the beginning, I had to go to a Phoenix Center. A Phoenix Center was like a little Phoenix House, but it was a storefront, and it was from nine to five. I went there for a couple of months, and I was still homeless, so instead of coming all the way back to my neighborhood to be homeless, I stayed down in Coney Island.
— Howard Friend

Biography: Howard Friend was born and raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  A difficult childhood led to drug use and homelessness, and the search for a warm bed brought him to Phoenix House in 1969.  After undergoing treatment at Coney Island for two years, he became a therapeutic community house director, serving Phoenix House in Prospect Place, Phelan Place and locations in Manhattan.  In 1982, he was asked to Orange County, California to serve as director in the new facility working with adolescents.  He remained in charge of adolescent programming in Orange Co. until his retirement in 2012. 

Keywords: Phoenix House; New York City; Lower East Side; Coney Island; substance abuse; substance abuse treatment; Prospect Place; Boerum Street; Ronald Coster; Orange County, California; Synanon; Descanso; Escondido; therapeutic community; Phelan Place; adolescents; medicalization