Sorry to say, there are unscrupulous organizations who seek to prey upon individuals desperately seeking help for themselves or a loved one. Do your research.
With this in mind, a good place to begin your research, is with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, whose roots go back to the 1940’s and Dr. Phil, whose broadcasts on addictions and recovery are long established, widely available and offer valuable information on their web sites to those seeking treatment and recovery.
Dr. Phil has recently added podcasts to the menu which are an added source of recovery information.
Also pay a visit to your nearest Alcoholics Anonymous meeting as part of your research. AA, founded in 1935, has a long record of helping people recover and is available in most communities.
The Arkansas AA Central office in Little Rock, where I live and have attended meetings, has lists of meetings, books on recovery and other information useful to those in need, a group whose numbers are increasing.
“There is a growing market demand for addiction treatment, driven by today’s opioid crisis and expanded insurance coverage. It has attracted unprecedented private investment and a rapid influx of new providers, some of them motivated more by profit than by healing.
“Specialized addiction treatment is now a $35 billion industry” the Hazelden Foundation continues. “By way of comparison, in 2003 it was only $21 billion, and it is expected to top $42 billion by 2020.
“As it continues to grow, any regulatory framework should be determined by this core value: treating all who have addiction with dignity and respect,” the Foundation says.
“As a leading member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, “we are committed to a robust code of ethics, and our Recovery Advocacy team is focused on addressing the following unethical and dangerous emerging business trends in the industry.
Here are some abuses to look out for with treatment providers:
Excessive Consumer Billing and Insurance Fraud. In recent years, some consumers have been charged exorbitant amounts for urine testing and have been tested far more than necessary. Other disturbing trends include labs and doctors getting kickbacks from treatment programs and sober homes for fraudulent tests billed to insurers, and a greater number of rehab centers and sober homes that own their own testing labs.
Deceptive Marketing. It is often not clear who is behind TV and online advertisements for addiction treatment, or who callers will get when they reach out for help. Some treatment facilities also deny their affiliations with other organizations or misrepresent the services they provide, the conditions they treat, the credentials of their staff or the insurance plans they accept.
Patient Brokering. Laws prohibiting commissions and kickbacks for patient referrals are not strong, or even existent, in many jurisdictions. As a result, some treatment centers pay a third-party “lead-generation” service for calls, turning patients into commodities. Patient brokers also monitor Twelve Step meetings, drug courts and the streets to find people they can send to inpatient or outpatient treatment centers that are willing to provide a kickback, regardless of the clinical appropriateness.
One factor contributing to unethical and illegal practices, and also the overall quality of addiction treatment in the United States, is the fact that some states have limited requirements for addiction treatment facilities, sober homes or the people who operate them. In this environment of under-regulation and dramatically expanding market demand, the market has seen an upswing in for-profit centers that offer exclusive, spa-like environments that “guarantee” success, but offer little in the way of evidence-based treatment, effective behavioral therapy or demonstrated outcomes.
To ensure quality, efforts must be undertaken to improve the nation’s regulatory framework for addiction treatment. Reforms ought to bolster state licensure requirements; accreditation standards; clinician education qualifications; and access to comprehensive, evidence-based care and support that is coordinated and integrated with the rest of the health care system.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has identified quality standards in collaboration with another nonprofit provider, Caron Treatment Centers, that can serve as a guide for such reforms.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Responsible providers seek to ensure ethical, quality care for all people who seek help for addiction. Federal legislation, they say, should include:
- Directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to publish and disseminate a report assessing the adequateness and uniformity of licensure, accreditation and clinician education requirements for substance use disorder treatment providers nationwide.
- Directing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop, publish and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment for sustained recovery from substance use disorder.
- Empowering the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and prosecute deceptive marketing practices by addiction treatment providers and call aggregators, in response to complaints from consumers and businesses.
- Directing SAMHSA to develop, publish and disseminate best practices for “interventionists” who help families and individuals access addiction treatment.
- Direct the Department of Justice to define “patient brokering” in consultation with SAMHSA, with an eye toward future legislation.
- Directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to assess the adequateness and uniformity of addiction treatment education and training in medical schools.
We also support an assortment of legislation to improve addiction treatment quality by:
- Encouraging greater integration of specialty addiction care with primary care and all of mainstream medicine.
- Encouraging more comprehensive linkages to community-based recovery support throughout the continuum of care.
- Incenting evidence-based practices and quality-based outcome measures and standards.
- Bolstering the addiction treatment workforce.
Freedom or bondage—it’s up to us
Little Rock’s late Joe Mcquany, a world wide revered and powerful advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous, had lots of things to say about addiction and recovery including the following.
“When we don’t do the daily things we need to do to live and be free, when we don’t face things and deal with them. When we don’t admit our faults, when we sweep things under the rug, we give up our freedom. We are then in bondage and this is manifested by, expressed by, all kinds of problems: alcoholism, drug dependency, codependency and so on.
I look at the battles that go on in life, and I look at the resentments and fears, guilt and remorse and how these things block us from God and shackle us to the self. Then I look at love tolerance patience, courage and wisdom. These qualities come from God and they are always within us. In our outer and inner conflicts, we can see the powers of self contending with the powers of God.