No More Puff Pieces About Rehab Owners, Please
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No More Puff Pieces About Rehab Owners, Please


After reading an interview in Upstart Business Journal with Brent Clements, founder of something called Addiction Campuses, a new business venture that acquired two treatment centers in May—Spring2Life and Turning Point Recovery—I was left feeling like I was reading a press release disguised as an article.

Clements, who transitioned from sales and marketing to working in addiction recovery but doesn’t seem to be a sober addict himself, feels certain his new company, which is projected to consist of eight to ten rehabs, will be wildly successful. The gist of it is that it will offer a year-long “continuum of care” approach to treatment, something “not a lot of companies” are focused on. (Hmmm…check out our rehab reviews to see how many of them have alumni programs that try to do just that.)

Now look, I understand that regardless of what help treatment centers actually offer people, first and foremost they are businesses. And Brett Clements, along with some other rehab owners, figured out that addiction treatment could be big money. This doesn’t mean that just because their focus is on innovation and profits, the treatment they provide can’t be or won’t be good, effective or worth the price tag; it’s just that, appropriate or not, I’m most impressed by the treatment centers that are headed up by those who have been through it themselves and who seem to have a life mission of helping others who may be suffering how they once did.

Of course, a bleeding heart is certainly not a requirement to own a successful company—even a healthcare company (if you have Obamacare you know how true that is). But as a recovering alcoholic, talking about “the addiction recovery space” in business terms gives me the creeps—and as a 12-stepper I feel like I need to brace myself for the public backlash of what could come from really (and further) corporatizing addiction treatment. It’s bad enough that some rehabs have earned the reputation for providing poor treatment and only being in it for the money. But even worse, many of the new ones popping up don’t even offer 12-step treatment as an option and will perpetuate the “fact” that Alcoholics Anonymous only has a three-to-five percent success rate—a base-rate stat with no discernible origin beyond Charlie Sheen. Since I’d be suspect of any statistic tracking the success rate of an anonymous program, I’m grateful that the only stat I need is mine—which is 100%.

As far as the groundbreaking model of treatment that Clements is preaching, a structured 12-month program may be something we haven’t seen a lot of before but the four elements of detox, residential, outpatient and sober living are offered most everywhere. Yes, the 30-60-90 day standard doesn’t work for everyone but that’s not news to those running rehabs; it’s just what insurance will pay for.

My point is this: we’re all trying to make a buck so who am I to fault this guy? But let’s not go around heralding treatment programs designed to line owners pockets as brilliant and innovative when I personally see treatment every day that works for $1.

Photo courtesy of Drug Rehab Washington

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.