“We should take pride that this movement is from a collective – Young Lords, Black Panthers. If not for community activist there would be no acupuncture in the South Bronx. Doctor Smith shared it around the world. The combination of both is what makes the spirit of NADA what it is today.” -Juan Cortez, NADA Trainer, July 2020 Membership Café
On Nov 10, 1970 members of the Young Lords, Black Panthers, and members of the Health Revolutionary Unity Movement (a mass organization of health workers), with the support of the Lincoln Collective took over Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, NY. This takeover of Lincoln Hospital marked the beginning of the People’s Detox Center.
Today, on the 50th anniversary of this event we honor the activists, organizers, collectives, and broader South Bronx community who created the conditions for the NADA protocol to later be developed.
“Since its inception on Nov. 10 1970 (when a group of drug victims in the South Bronx took over space in Lincoln Hospital starting the People’s Program) we have been continually attacked by State, Corporate, and right wing forces — attacks aimed at discrediting and eliminating our presence in the South Bronx” (The People’s Detox, Documentary Film, 2018)
The People’s Detox Center would later become the home for the first acupuncture-based detox center. Learn more about the history of Lincoln Detox, the People’s Drug Program and what revolutionary groups like the Black Panthers and Young Lords have to do with acupuncture in the United States.
Walter Bosque Del Rio, who was attending nursing school at the time of the takeover and joined the Young Lords shortly after the takeover, reflected on the importance of honoring revolutionary groups such as the Young Lords and Black Panthers:
“We give credit to those groups because without their influence we at the People’s Detox would have a different historical significance. It was all about the movements in those days, and it was a People’s Struggle.”
This post is the beginning of a body of work that we at NADA are hoping to take on this upcoming year as we reflect on our 50 years of history. Stay tuned for more posts and activities as we share and work to have a more complete understanding of NADA’s roots and legacy. Our goal is to make the NADA protocol accessible to all as a tool for community building, healing, and liberation!
Related Articles & Resources to learn more:
- ‘Mending Our History’– AcuDetox Group Engages Its Black Panther and Young Lord Roots in the Time of George Floyd by John Weeks
- In the Hands of the Revolutionaries and Communities: A Social History of Acupuncture (A Two-Part Video Series) By Eana Meng
- Lincoln Detox Center: the People’s Drug Program an interview with Vicente “Panama” Alba, by Molly Porzig
- Mutulu Shakur & the Lincoln Detox Center by Eana Meng
- Dope is Death Podcast Mini-Series
- The Unusual Tale of Acupuncture, Racism, and African American History in the USA, by Tenisha Dandridge
- The Lincoln Story (excerpt from Fighting Drug Abuse with Acupuncture by Ellinor MItchell)