Schick Shadel Hospital’s founder, Charles A. Shadel, pioneered many of the treatments for alcoholism we use today. He developed the counter conditioning treatment program for substance abuse, and in 1935 he opened up a colonial mansion, with a homelike atmosphere for people who were considered society’s alcoholic outcasts.
Mr. Shadel believed that there was nothing inherently wrong with alcoholics. Rather, alcohol was the problem. His philosophy rejected that there was something wrong with the alcoholic’s mind, and focused on dysfunctions in the body. He viewed alcoholism as a drug addiction, and with Dr. Walter Voegtlin, a Seattle gastroenterologist, he created a safe way to avert alcoholics from alcohol.
The work of Shadel Hospital in Seattle continued quietly and effectively until 1964, when then-chairman and CEO of the Schick Safety Razor Company, Patrick J. Frawley Jr., checked into the facility. After just his first day, Frawley said he was freed from the desire to drink, freedom that lasted even months later.
Schick Safety Razor Company formed Schick Laboratories Inc. with Frawley as chairman in 1965, and it purchased the Shadel Hospital, investing $6 million in researching habit formation. The research, under the direction of Schick Shadel Hospital’s Chief of Staff, James W. Smith, M.D., resulted in a program for nicotine addiction. Programs for cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, prescription opioids, and heroin were later developed by the Schick Shadel clinicians.