For a mother or father with a grown child immersed in drug addiction, each day carries excruciating uncertainty. Any given moment could be their last desperate cry for help, sounded, yet unheard.
For many parents, before the new Florida drug rehab law was enacted, these cries were answered by addiction treatment facilities, and a fatal twist of fate.
Body Brokers Give Good Rehabs a Bad Name
Imagine combing through searches online, trying to find the right drug treatment center. You call, only to reach a business who has partnered with an unscrupulous body broker. While you need help, the people on the other end of the phone are intent on making money at the patient’s expense, physically and financially.
But how would you know? You wouldn’t, until it was too late.
Once a patient goes through treatment at any of these fraudulent facilities, they are then turned over into an aftercare program that often includes partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs that do not include room and board.
This is where sober living houses come into play, meant to assist in providing a bridge between treatment and recovery. Unfortunately, the corruption continues.
Which drug users are most at risk? Those with good health insurance that provide coverage for drug treatment attract body brokers most. A wide array of therapies, lab work and other diagnostic testing can be requested, completed and repeated numerous times without question. The medical bills rise and the insurance provider pays.
In many cases, bidding wars take place for treatment center prospects, with the winning bids of up to $1,000 being paid by treatment centers for the patient admission, in addition to the insurance funds. So in this rehab climate, can the patient truly recover?
Misdirection and Fraud Lead to More Overdoses
One billion dollars. That’s how much business Palm Beach County, Florida addiction treatment centers have reined in since 2008, the year before the Affordable Care Act was conceived, which brought the Mental Health Parity Act. Though the treatment centers here were well-intended, their existence was misused, leading to unlawful practices in the rehab space.
Under these regulations, insured patients in need of treatment were provided coverage. Moreover, parents were permitted to continue keeping their adult children on their health insurance until they reached the age of 26.
With the explosion of opioid addiction in recent years (from prescription pills to heroin), this served as a breeding ground for business brokers and their dishonest partners to cash in – until now, thanks to a new Florida drug rehab law.
‘Free’ Sober Living Is Like Human Trafficking
Imagine how emotionally, spiritually and physically raw patients are after 30 days of detox. Ripe with hope, they look forward to building a life in recovery. But many have no source of income to go back to or a place to call home.
Their initial treatment facility will either keep them on through their own aftercare programs or refer them to an external program, to include sober living. But not all sober living facilities are on the up and up.
After the detox phase of treatment, patients are vulnerable with an increased risk for relapse. They need to be in an environment that is safe, secure and supportive of lifelong sobriety. For some new to recovery in Florida, sober living was anything but that.
According to one young man, his experience at a sober living home in Delray Beach this year was under false pretense. He recounts his time there: “They’ll pay you to live there and just let you get high because the owner’s making bank.”
Certain treatment centers provide kickbacks to sober-living businesses, a common practice for these scam artists. They also grease the other side, by enticing those new to recovery with free lifestyle perks or gift cards for attending a specific treatment program.
Local media outlets in Florida reported that bonuses were paid to sober living houses (by detox centers) for every relapse incident. So patients were sent to detox, then to sober living and back to detox as if they were nothing more than a ping pong ball playing for someone else’s profit, at a deadly cost.
Imagine being one of the parents who unknowingly put their child in such a facility – where sober living homes have no oversight and the people meant to protect those in recovery are abusing drugs themselves, while trafficking to others. It’s real heartache for so many families.
New Florida Drug Rehab Law Helps Ease Ongoing Pain of Addiction
In 2016, every 15 hours in Palm Beach County, Florida resulted in another death due to opioid addiction. Gov. Rick Scott was committed to reversing the escalating problem in his State. It began earlier this year, and most recently, on July 1, when Florida activated new regulations that put more protections in place for patients in rehab.
The hope is to bring accredited rehab businesses back to the forefront of the industry, by continuing to do what they do best: help people.
The new law will bring about the following changes to the Florida addiction rehab industry:
- Florida Department of Children and Families to oversee licensed addiction treatment centers
- Florida Association of Recovery Residences will provide sober home certifications
- Licensed treatment centers cannot refer patients to sober homes unless they possess state certification
- All sober home telemarketers must register with the state
- Addiction treatment centers must require and engage their owners, directors and clinical supervisors in background screenings
- Addiction treatment centers are prohibited from receiving kickbacks
- Florida’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) now includes sober-living patient brokering as a punishable crime
- Office of Statewide Prosecutor can pursue patient-brokering cases
What an Effective, Positive Addiction Rehab Experience Sounds Like
Listen to Lindsay’s story of recovery here:
Best Ways to Search for the Right Drug Rehab in Florida
With so much doubt created by illegal practices in the drug rehab industry, it’s difficult to know what to look for in detox, residential inpatient, partial hospitalization and aftercare programs for drug or alcohol addiction treatment and recovery.
With law enforcement, public and private health organizations bearing the brunt of the opioid overdose epidemic by an ever-increasing call volume and associated mortality rates, the following serves as a guideline, from their input, in how to search for and select the right treatment.
Know What Kind of Drug or Alcohol Treatment Is Needed
Although there are similarities from patient to patient when it comes to drug or alcohol addiction, no two patients are alike. To find the best treatment and recovery program, it takes a solid understanding of the details that make each patient unique.
Simple things speak volumes as to the credibility of a treatment facility, much of which can be revealed by the questions they ask when you call and ask for help. It’s important to listen for questions that address:
- The length of addiction
- substances used
- First-time treatment or relapse
- Existing co-occurring disorders
- Family history of addiction
- Referring doctors
If you contact a drug rehab that does not ask you the right questions, it may not be capable of providing the level of medical service you deserve. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Use the following as your guide for finding an addiction treatment facility that follows industry best practices.
The Value of a Doctor’s Referral Is Immeasurable
With drug addiction, there is shame. As such, many families keep their struggle with drug abuse quiet, hidden from social scrutiny. In light of pharmaceutical companies’ hand in the U.S. opioid crisis, along with illegal practices from treatment centers and sober living facilities, trust is hard to come by when searching for help.
Without a licensed medical practitioner’s referral, choosing a reliable drug addiction treatment center is like trying to hit a bullseye when playing darts in the dark. The odds are against you.
In reality, the shame isn’t in the addiction but in the failure to act. If you contact your family doctor for assistance, he or she may not know of a facility to direct you to, but will know where to go and whom to ask to get you and your loved one on the right path toward detox and recovery.
Trusted, Accredited Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Florida Lives Here
Many doctors and licensed health care professionals refer their patients and clients here, to the Residential Addiction Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches in Florida. Leading experts in the fields of medicine, psychology, counseling, holistic therapies and more bring peer-revered knowledge and compassion to patients seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addictions, including co-occurring disorders.
Our individualized programs are comprehensive, created to support complete recovery, from detox through sober living and beyond. Use this article when searching for the right drug rehab. We invite you to call 844-201-3136 to speak to an admissions counselor now, available 24 hours a day.