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Drug Rehab Industry Under Fire

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As with most types of health and disease treatment methodologies, the drug rehab industry has had its fair share of critics over the years. Most notably, critics have questioned the continued use of the traditional 12-step treatment plan when studies show that success rates are meager. It’s no wonder that skeptics continue to ask questions about addiction treatment and drug rehab centers since the addiction-treatment industry generates 35 billion dollars a year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Questioning the Effectiveness of Drug Rehab Centers

Following many predecessors’ steps, a new documentary called The Business of Recovery by Adam Finberg seeks to address some of these issues. Finberg states that his interest in creating the documentary stemmed from the apparent dramatic rise in overall addictions and the dramatic rise in various treatment facilities and methodologies that developed to support those addictions. He argues that the addiction treatment industry has arisen mostly unregulated and that consumers, a.k.a. abusers, aren’t getting what they are paying for.
For example, according to Finberg, most addiction treatment facilities use the traditional 12-step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a modification of the basic program. However, research has repeatedly shown a disappointing long-term success rate with these types of recovery programs. With that in mind, Finberg wonders what it is that patients are actually paying for when they fork over $1000 a day in some cases. Contrast this with the fact that AA programs are widely available in most communities and are free to attend. Finberg argues that some high-cost addiction treatment facilities do little in actual treatment and then funnel patients into the 12-step process afterward.

Effectiveness and Safety of Treatment Programs

He also questions the effectiveness and safety of sober living homes, group homes that have arisen to allow addicts to recover along with others who are facing similar challenges. While some treatment experts argue this technique is effective, Finberg states that these homes are completely unregulated and can be dangerous for individuals struggling to remain sober. Proponents of these recovery residence homes point to research showing that addicted individuals who reside in these types of homes for at least six months have a much better long-term success rate and a better overall quality of life. However, there have also been cases where recovery homes have been charged with Medicaid fraud. This seems to make Finberg’s point: since these homes are unregulated, it’s basically an anything-goes industry. Patients who seek assistance have no way of filtering out the good from the bad when seeking the best drug treatment.

Changing the Drug Rehab Industry

He hopes that the documentary will spur dialogue among addiction professionals and the policy level. His goal in all of this is to see greater controls and regulations placed on an industry that revolves around helping those who can’t help themselves. So far, Finberg’s documentary has been a success. When it debuted at the Newport Beach Film Festival in California, all of the showings were sold out. The producers are now working on issuing the film in a more widespread release across the country.

Best Drug Treatment Options

People need to know that medicine has come a long way in understanding drug addiction and dependence and the effects that they cause on brain chemistry and other basic organs. Today, we don’t need to lock people in drug rehab centers for 30 to 90 days because we can medically detox patients humanely and effectively while eliminating physical cravings. We can medically reverse the physical dependence on drugs so that other social and/or psychiatric issues can be assessed and treated by the proper professional.


New Documentary Exposes the Greed of $35 Billion Addiction Treatment Industry. The Fix.  Retrieved on May 29, 2015.
The $35 Billion Addiction Treatment Industry. Forbes. Retrieved on May 29, 2015.

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