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Choosing a Drug or Alcohol Rehabilitation Center

With so many drug and alcohol rehab programs to choose from, how do you know you’re choosing the right one? This is a question a lot of addicts and their families struggle with. It can actually even paralyze them because they may worry about making the wrong decision.

Did you know that many addiction treatment sites are actually just call centers that sell referrals? If you’re not careful, you could end up contacting one of them. That means you could get referred to a facility that doesn’t offer the best services. It’s important to know how to differentiate these websites from real, effective rehab programs. Also, once you find a treatment facility, you need to know how to tell it’s the right choice for your recovery.

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Google Restricts Ads for Addiction Treatment

The drug and alcohol treatment industry has been very poorly regulated for many years. On September 14, 2017, Google announced that they were going to start restricting ads that appear when someone searches for addiction treatment. Their main concern was for the safety of those who were seeking help. They stood to lose millions of dollars as a result.

It makes sense for people to turn to the number one search engine for answers when they’re looking for treatment. However, it was found that many of these searches were leading addicts to click on ads for various rehab centers. A lot of these centers weren’t appropriate for them, and in some cases, they even put people’s lives at risk.

Elisa Greene is a spokeswoman for Google, and she said, “We found a number of misleading experiences among rehabilitation treatment centers that led to our decision.”

Google has taken similar actions in the past, including limiting ads for payday vendors. As of now, they have stopped selling ads relating to those searches altogether. In the future, they may lift the restriction, but only if they can find a way to get rid of the misleading ads.

How Much do These Companies Make?

Running ads for detox and rehab is actually a very lucrative business. Some treatment providers have paid as much as $70 for a single click. That might seem like a lot, but the payoff is pretty significant. When an addict agrees to 30 days of detox and rehab, their insurance companies will pay tens of thousands of dollars for their care.

Florida Grand Jury released a report in December of 2017 regarding the fraud involved with addiction treatment advertising. The report states, “The Grand Jury finds that people suffering from addiction and their families are often in an extremely vulnerable position while seeking treatment services. This vulnerable class of consumers is more prone to being victimized by deceptive marketing practices that are harmful to the recovery process.”

The report goes on to expose online marketing as a major culprit in the deception. They cited the false representation of services and false representation of location as two of the main issues. They also pointed out the fact that patients are being auctioned off through lead generators to the highest bidders.

Choosing Rehab

What is Addiction Treatment Brokering?

This term is also known as patient brokering. It happens when a drug and alcohol rehab pays a third party to bring them patients. The addict honestly believes that they are being referred by someone who has their best interests at heart. However, the brokers and the addiction treatment centers themselves are only focused on lining their pockets.

Addicts and their families are often desperate for answers to the problem of substance abuse. Most of the time, they have no prior experience with any type of addiction treatment. That means they have no idea where to turn to find help. Of course, they’re also looking for quick solutions, and addiction treatment brokers prey on them for these reasons.

The brokers can’t be the only ones to blame. There are a lot of underfunded rehabilitation centers in the United States. Many of them are run by greedy individuals who can’t afford to market their services the right way. That takes time and money. They have to build a solid brand, hire a sales team and create an attractive website. Not only that, but they also have to know how to use that website to reach their audience.

Because of the changes Google made to their ad policies, more and more rehabs are looking to brokers to bring in patients. The problem is that it’s not always easy to spot them when you’re doing research on addiction treatment centers.

Brokers stand to make a lot of money when they’re auctioning off leads to rehab facilities. They can solicit between $500 and $7,000 per patient upon their admission. When you consider that insurance companies may reimburse as much as $30,000 for treating a patient, that fee is often shrugged off as the cost of doing business.

Not only is patient brokering illegal, but it’s also ruining the addiction treatment industry. Virtually anyone can start one of these companies. They hire trained salespeople who know exactly how to commiserate with the people who call them. They’re friendly, compassionate and very sympathetic to their situations. Some may even tell the callers that they, themselves, have been through the rehab program. They may relate stories of how it saved their lives in an effort to sway them.

Some brokers will even take their deception further. They’ll offer incentives to potential patients and their families to get them to agree to treatment. These might include:

  • Guaranteed admission into the program
  • Free plane tickets
  • Money
  • Gifts
  • Luxurious amenities during rehab

Even though it’s illegal, it’s still happening everywhere. The question is, how can it be stopped?

This is very much a state issue, and every state has their own way of tackling it. For instance, in New York, OASAS announced that there would be a new public service announcement campaign in February 2018. The campaign would raise awareness about this issue for New Yorkers. Radio stations would be making announcements in both English and Spanish to get the word out. They will also be publicizing more than 900 licensed and certified addiction treatment programs. Families and addicts will be encouraged to seek treatment right in their home state.

On the national level, the problem was addressed by the U.S. House of Representatives during a hearing in December 2017. One testimony indicated that their continued use allowed for fraud, patient neglect and treatment malpractice.

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How Can You be Sure You’re Choosing an Upstanding Recovery Program?

Maybe you were never aware of addiction treatment brokering before. The concept of it could have you feeling even more scared. There are ways for you to find upstanding recovery programs that you can trust. In fact, there are hundreds of them right here in the United States that can help you. You only need to know how to find them.

It’s so important for everyone seeking addiction treatment to do their own research. Don’t make any commitments before you’re sure that you have chosen a solid recovery program.

Brokers will often build websites that look absolutely trustworthy. You can’t depend on the looks of a website alone to make your decision.

Real drug and alcohol rehabs may have their licenses displayed on their website. You should also be able to go to the site and find information about the staff. If you’re ever in doubt, do a Google search for the company’s name and the word fraud. This should give you the information you’re looking for.

You may also want to make a phone call to the state’s licensing office. They can tell you if the program is real, and if it’s registered and certified by the Department of Health. You can even ask them if they have any information they’d like to share with you about the facility.

Remember, if you do contact a rehab center, any information you share with them is protected by HIPAA. It is illegal for them to share it with anyone else without your consent. We’ll talk in more detail in a moment about the checklist you can use to find a great drug or alcohol treatment program.

Keep your eyes open for programs that offer a one-size-fits-all approach. The fact is that there is no such thing. Treating an addiction is different for everyone, even if they’re all addicted to the same substance. There are a lot of factors that go into both detox and rehab.

Also, turn away from programs that claim that they can cure your addiction. Research has shown time and time again that there is no cure. There are treatments available, but there is no one who can say that they have been cured. Are there people who get help and then never use again? Yes. However, these are individuals who follow their programs to the letter and remain in recovery.

Why Has There Been Such a Surge in Addiction Treatment Programs in the U.S.?

If you were to do a Google search right now for drug rehab or alcohol rehab, you would get millions of options. Why is that? Why is it that there are so many addiction treatment facilities in our country?

The honest answer is, because they’re needed. Every year, the number of addicted individuals keeps on climbing. Because of this, there is always going to be a need for treatment programs. However, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Let’s start by taking a look at some statistics.

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, the abuse of substances costs our country more than $740 billion each year. These costs are all related to lost work productivity, crime and healthcare.

More people are addicted to drugs and alcohol now than ever before. While there are some types of drugs that have seen an improvement, most of them are skyrocketing.

Regarding opioid addiction:

  • From 2010 to 2016, the number of people diagnosed with opioid addictions increased 493%.
  • In 2010, there were only 1.4 incidences of opioid use disorder for every 1000 people.
  • By 2016, that number had jumped to 8.3.
  • Even so, there was only a 65% increase in the number of people receiving treatment for their addictions.
  • In 2016, only one in six people received any type of specialized treatment for their addictions.
  • This means that 40% of addicts do not seek out treatment for recovery.
  • Of the 20 million people in the United States that had a drug addiction in 2015, 10% of them were addicted to opioids.
  • 91 people die every single day because of an opioid overdose.
  • In 2015, more than 33,000 people lost their lives because of these drugs.
  • Opioid overdoses have killed more people than guns or car accidents.
  • Deaths from prescribed opioid drugs have more than quadrupled since 1999.
  • From 2014 to 2015, the number of deaths from synthetic opioids (like Fentanyl) have gone up 72%.
  • Three out of four new heroin users will begin abusing prescription opioids first.

Regarding alcohol:

  • Every year, 88,000 deaths are attributed to alcohol.
  • This makes it the third highest cause of death in the United States.
  • Each day, almost 30 people will die in our country because they were involved in an accident with an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • This means that one person dies every 15 minutes.
  • Every year, 100,000 people die from alcohol-related causes.
  • This can include drunk driving crashes, fires, falls, homicides and suicides.
  • There were 3.9 million people in the U.S. who receive treatment for a substance abuse problem most years.
  • Among them, 2.5 million of them are treated for alcoholism.
  • 17% of men will become dependent upon alcohol in their lifetime.
  • The same is true for 8 % of women.
  • As many as 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 will be assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • In the United States, about 7,000 children under the age of 16 will take their first drink each day.
  • These children are four times more likely to develop alcoholism.
  • Teen alcohol use will kill close to 5,000 people every year.
  • This is more than all illegal drugs combined.

These numbers and percentages are extremely overwhelming. However, the statistics mentioned here don’t even cover all of the drugs of abuse. We have become an addicted nation in need of many different treatment options.

The story doesn’t end here. This is a great video about how addiction has affected our country’s youth:

Another reason why there are so many addiction treatment programs is because health insurance will cover it. As recently as just a few years ago, this was unheard of. Most people who needed recovery options had to pay for them on their own. Today’s new healthcare laws have changed all of that.

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. This law requires insurance companies to provide benefits for drug and alcohol rehab. It’s wonderful for those who need to get treatment. However, it may also explain why there are so many treatment programs. It’s not always easy to tell between the ones that are sincere and the ones who only want the money.

During the fall of 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis to be a health emergency. He was quoted as stating, “No part of our society – not young or old, rich or poor, urban or rural – has been spared this plague of drug addiction and this horrible, horrible situation that’s taken place with opioids.”

His solutions include advertising that encourages Americans to never begin using these drugs in the first place. This is reminiscent to the “Just Say No” campaign led by Nancy Reagan in the 80s.

Grant money has been set aside to fight the opioid abuse epidemic. This allows for specialists to be hired, as well as the use of telemedicine services for those in rural areas. The President also plans to require for prescribers to be trained in safe practices for prescribing these drugs. He plans to block shipments of Fentanyl as well. One of the most important pieces of his plan is to suspend a rule that doesn’t allow Medicaid to fund drug rehab.

There is a lot of work that lies ahead in order to combat the opioid crisis. However, with the right people and tools in place, it can be done. Choosing the best rehab program is a small, but important part of that equation.

Who Can Run and Operate a Drug and/or Alcohol Treatment Facility?

It’s not possible for just anyone to start a drug or alcohol rehab center. There is so much work that needs to be done and you have to be ready to take on the challenge.

First and foremost, you have to have the money to make the facility a reality. This includes purchasing the property and hiring the staff. You also have to invest money into a feasibility study, which can run several thousand dollars.

The feasibility study shows what types of services are needed in the area. This provides a lot of information regarding what they should be offering. It also helps shed some light on the size of the program.

Any drug or alcohol rehab program needs to be licensed with the state. It also makes sense to seek out accreditation from either CARF or The Joint Commission. Accreditation ensures the potential patient that they’re trusting their lives into the hands of professionals who offer the best available care.

Finally, money must also be spent on marketing and advertising. This should always be done organically to preserve the integrity of the program.

Who Can Run and Operate a Sober Living Home or Halfway House?

There are fewer regulations for sober living homes or halfway houses. These are also often referred to as recovery houses. The person starting the program doesn’t need a specific type of education. They do need to be certified through The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The house has to meet certain safety requirements and zoning regulations.

Of course, the individual must have the necessary funding to make the halfway house profitable. They have to be sure they can pay all of the staff members. They also have to plan for the number of residents, which includes making sure they have everything they need.

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What Can and Can’t be Said When They Advertise Their Services?

As of now, there are no laws or regulations stating that rehabs can’t promise to cure addiction. However, considering the fact that addiction is a disease, it certainly goes against the best practices. As long as the states don’t have regulations in place, treatment programs will certainly continue promising what they can’t deliver.

The best approach is one that is evidence based. This means that there have been studies done, and that it has proven to be effective. For instance, medication assisted treatment is an evidence based approach to treating addiction. The same is true for behavioral therapy.

Above all, every drug and alcohol treatment program should emphasis the fact that everyone receives personalized treatment. No two addictions are the same, just like no two people are the same. That is the way that rehabs should be advertising.

Don’t Place Your Trust in What Any Addiction Treatment Center Says Online

During your research, you’re likely to see a lot of beautiful websites. Many programs take a lot of time to create sites that their visitors will be drawn to. You may find blogs with informative articles, lots of helpful resource pages and so much more. The problem is that you can’t always believe everything you see on a rehab website.

The untrustworthy ones have studied the phrases and concepts that get people to pick up the phone. You’ll probably have to do some extra work be sure you’re investing your recovery into a reputable program.

The Better Business Bureau is a great place for you to begin your research. If you find a drug and alcohol treatment program that intrigues you, search for them on the BBB website. Take a few moments to read the reviews and complaints that you find there.

Keep in mind that some of the complaints may be coming from angry former patients who were non-compliant. You should be able to tell the ones that are from individuals like that from those that are reputable. Also, you can trust that they’re a real facility if they’re accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB isn’t the only place you can find testimonials and reviews. Some 3rd party sites are worth taking a look at as well. Facebook is the most popular social media site in the world. Most people will leave their reviews there before they’ll leave them anywhere else. You can also see how the treatment center responds. Yelp is another great place to look for reviews.

Take some time and read through as many reviews as you can. It’s often easy to spot the ones that are fabricated from those that are real and authentic. It’s possible that some companies may be paying people to review them when they’ve never been patients. It goes without saying that you should stay away from those types of facilities.

If at all possible, try to have a personal conversation with people who have successfully completed the program. Many treatment centers have someone who is in charge of alumni. You should be able to find this information on their website. Get in touch with that person and ask them to speak someone who has been in treatment.

You can also use Facebook for this purpose. Find the program’s page and go to the Reviews section. You’ll see that the individuals’ names are displayed next to their responses. Don’t be afraid to send a quick message or even a friend request to a few of these people. They should be more than willing to talk with you about their experiences.

It will also put your mind at ease to hear from someone else who has been through treatment. Regardless of what they say, you can then move forward and make your decision with a lot more confidence.

Detox is Not Rehab

It’s common for people to mistake detox for rehab. They tend to think that they’re one in the same, but they’re actually very different types of treatment.

If you are referred for an addiction treatment program, you may be required to go to drug or alcohol detox first. Of course, this is going to depend on the type(s) of drugs you’re currently using. Detoxing is the act of purging your body of toxins related to your substance abuse problem. It’s a way of treating the physical side of your addiction.

In contrast, rehab does not deal with the physical side. It’s geared more toward treating the psychological aspect of addiction. It deals with helping you learn why you became addicted. It also assists you with learning how you can avoid using again in the future.

It’s important for many types of addicts to go through the detoxification process. During this time, they’re able to get help with their withdrawal symptoms. The goal of detoxing is actually two-fold.

The first goal is to help addicts avoid possible complications that can occur when they stop using. Some types of substances can result in seizures, heart problems and other issues when people quit. With the right type of treatment, these types of scenarios can be avoided.

The second goal is to help people stay comfortable as they go through the withdrawal process. Withdrawal symptoms tend to vary from person to person, and they’re based on the type of drugs they have been using. Some of them include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches and pains
  • Confusion or brain fog
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Intense cravings
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Shakiness in the hands

It’s not uncommon for people to not experience many of the more common withdrawal symptoms when they detox first. This allows for a more comfortable recovery, and a better long-term outlook for success.

Detox center regulations in the United States are the same as for a drug or alcohol rehab program. However, in many cases, there may be additional requirements.

These types of facilities are usually medical programs. The staff are often nurses or doctors because they prescribe treatment. Patients may need to take medications as a part of their treatment plan. They may also have emergency situations that require quick action on the part of the medical team.

An addiction rehab program is a place where you can get treatment for the mental part of your addiction. Patients participate in many different types of therapy while they’re there. They’re usually assigned a counselor who will talk with them regularly. The counselor’s job will be to identify the cause of the addiction and then treat that cause.

Rehab is very important because it’s not enough to just go to detox. So many times, patients complete the detoxification process and then they feel good enough to go home. What they don’t realize is that their addictions go so much deeper than just the physical yearning and desire to use.

About 50% of people with drug or alcohol addictions are suffering from co-occurring disorders. This is a type of mental health issue that can and often does contribute to the presence of substance abuse. It’s very common for people to choose drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate their symptoms away. People who do this need to have specialized treatment in a facility that offers dual diagnosis care.

Going to rehab also helps patients learn how to live without substances. Many of them have been using so long that they simply forgot. It takes time to re-learn new behaviors and habits. It also takes time for people to learn how to recognize triggers and how to avoid them when they go back home.

It’s very important for anyone seeking recovery to look for programs that offer individualized care. Again, everyone experiences addiction differently. To think that they can all be treated the same is really doing a disservice to the patient.

The program you choose should be creating a treatment plan that is original and unique to you. It should speak to your needs, specifically and involve the types of treatment that you need to recover.

As strange as it sounds, there are some recovery programs that keep treatment plans in duplicate, based on the addiction. This approach simply doesn’t work because people are so diverse. You have a much better chance of a successful recovery if the rehab you choose sees you as an individual.

Your Addiction Treatment Center Checklist

When you’ve never been in treatment before, it can be impossible to know what questions you should be asking. We’ve taken the liberty of creating this checklist to help you.

You’re not being rude by asking if the staff members are professionals. In fact, you have a right to know this information. You want to be sure that the staff have been trained in treating addiction.

Facilities will a smaller number of staff members might not be able to give you as much attention. You want to know that if you’re ever in need, there will always be someone there to talk to. Don’t be afraid to ask about their staff to patient ratio. The best programs make sure that there are one to two staff members for every patient.

It’s not unheard of for you to want to see your counselor every day that you’re in the program. In fact, many experts believe that you should. While many rehabs last for around 28 days, that’s really not that much time. You should have sessions with your counselor as often as possible. You should also have access to other staff members any time you need them.

You probably won’t find a facility that offers each patient their own room. However, there are some in existence. In most cases, you’ll be staying with one other individual. Still, this is a question you’ll want to have answered. You do need some privacy, and that’s easier to achieve if you only have one roommate.

It’s important to be sure you’re in a secure facility. This might mean that the doors are always locked, or that there are alarms on them. It’s critical for you to feel safe while you’re in treatment. You deserve nothing less.

Ask about the types of therapy they offer. Most programs offer individual and group sessions, but do they go beyond that? Art therapy, music therapy and yoga are very popular, and they’re quite healing as well. You want to be sure you will enjoy your rehab experience. You also want to know that the program is diverse enough to provide well-rounded treatment.

As we’ve mentioned, accreditation is vital. You won’t want to choose a facility that isn’t accredited. This is going to ensure that you get the best possible care while you’re in rehab. Most programs have this displayed on their websites. However, if you don’t see it there, don’t be afraid to ask.

This is very important because you don’t want to have to pay for your treatment out of pocket. Make sure you choose a facility that is in-network with your insurance. If you choose one that is out of network, you’ll have to pay upfront for their services. You can submit the bill for reimbursement, but those rates are much lower for that type of provider.

It’s OK to ask about a refund policy. Some have them and some don’t. You should know so you’ll know how to proceed if your care is less than stellar.

You’ll find that a lot of the work of recovery takes place during your aftercare. You should be receiving referrals for the appropriate services once you finish rehab.

With any luck, you’ll be able to get into rehab right away. However there may be some times when you’ll have to wait. The wait shouldn’t be all that long, and many programs should be able to get you in within a few days.

Talk With Someone at Northpoint Recovery About Starting Detox and Rehab Today

We hope that we’ve answered your questions about how to choose your rehab program. We understand that this is a confusing time for you. It’s possible that you and your family are at the end of your rope, and you just wish for a solution. We get it, and we feel that no one should be taking advantage of that.

At Northpoint Recovery, we have a history of providing solid addiction treatment to those who need it. We are able to work with your insurance company because we partner with so many different providers. We also offer the personalized care that you need, based on your unique situation and circumstances.

Did we answer all of your questions? Contact us today and allow us to help you take this all-important next step toward getting the help you need.

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