Be Aware of Substance Abuse Treatment Quacks

     You want to help your drug addicted child or alcoholic spouse quit. They’ve suffered enough and broken up the family. Perhaps they’ve become involved with the law, arrested for drug possession or a DUI or maybe worse. You ask yourself, who can I call? Where can I send them?


     As a Certified Prevention Professional in the State of Florida, I can empathize with those parents and spouses understanding that many of them, to avoid embarassment, turn to the Internet for help. They type in “drug treatment” and hundreds of web addresses appear. The search is started and the competition between treatment centers is fierce. Thousands and thousands of dollars are spent on designing a web site that will catch the eye of the desperate parent or spouse with calming music, ocean scenes, and false promises.


     Loved ones are vulnerable to certain treatment centers that will take advantage of people who don’t know where else to turn and despite the advanced state of medical science in the area of substance abuse treatment, many people who have lived with long-term alcohol and substance abusers turn to dubious methods.


     Treatment is usually a necessary part of recovery from alcohol or drug abuse or dependency. The addicted person needs the services of a professional counselor or therapist to identify what causes an individual to continue using alcohol or drugs despite knowing the negative consequences. It is important that parents and spouses looking for a reputable treatment center be reminded that before handing over their hard earned money to any treatment center, they need to do their homework.


     Many private treatment centers charge upwards of $15,000 to $60,000 for a thirty-day program. When looking at a treatment center be wary of those advertising the use of herbs and alternative methods of treatment. Although some are useful, many herbs are promoted through information based on hearsay and folklore. The frightening thing about herbal medication is the fact that many herbs contain hundreds even thousands of chemicals that have not been completely cataloged or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. While some may prove to be useful, others could well prove toxic.


     Be aware of treatment centers marketing or promoting homeopathic medicines, holistic, natural or miraculous treatment. What these treatment centers often sell the consumer is not the quality of their program but the salesperson’s ability to influence the customer into believeing their loved one will be cured. The sad thing is many families faced with addiction become desperate enough to try almost anything that arouses their hope. Some squander their life’s savings serching for a “cure.”


     Yes, there are excellent treatment centers out there. Treatment centers that work with clients to identify their issues and help them develop the life and coping skills necessary to stay clean and sober. Most of these centers follow the traditional 12-Step philosophy, which puts the responsibility of recovery on the client without any fancy bells and whistles.


     Before handing over any of your money, talk with your family doctor or another health-care professional then, thoroughly check-out the treatment center you are thinking about sending your child, spouse or other loved one. Ask to see the credentials of the owners and staff. Therapists should not only be degreed but have a recognized license or state certification to practice. Check with the Better Business Bureau or local Attorney Generals’ Office to see whether other consumers have filed complaints.


     Finally, my recommendation is to visit the treatment center yourself. Even if the center you are looking at is out of your state, it’s worth a few hundred dollars to drive or fly and check-out the location yourself. By doing this, you avoid becoming a victim of health care fraud.

Philip V. Bulone

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Comments are closed.