Opioid Addiction is a global epidemic. Rehab centers and support networks exist all over the world to help the victims of addiction and their families. While many of these treatment centers offer hope, some have less noble goals.
In September of 2017 The Verge, a tech & culture website, published an investigation into the shady world of addiction center ads. The report found a shady network of businesses promising rehab to addiction victims. As a result of the report, Google responded by removing ads from their results for searches like “rehabs near me.”
This year, the Times of London reported that Google could make as much as £200 per click for similar ads in the UK. In response, Google extended the ban on rehab ads globally.
Fake Rehabs In Philly
The Verge investigation exposes a network of predatory treatment centers. Targeting wealthy or well-insured victims, these businesses had no interest in treating addiction. After they got a victim to sign up, they bled their bank accounts dry. Sadly, this type of crime is all too familiar.
In 2017, Philly.com did an investigation into unethical opioid treatment centers. What they found was a network of businesses that cycled opioid addicts to maximize profits. These companies would dictate the lives of their victims in a way that made the companies millions.
Until Google pulled the ads, what happened online was similar. These companies promised victims help, but took their money instead. But in Google’s case, the search engine made millions from this predatory practice.
Addiction As A Business Model
According for Bloomberg, rehab is a $35 Billion market. The Affordable Care Act requires that insurance companies have to cover addiction treatment. Giving someone the support they need to break their habit isn’t cheap. Treating a single patient can cost an insurance company hundreds of thousands of dollars. For ethical companies, most of this money goes towards care, but even ethical companies rely on advertising to find patients. Many companies used to advertise with Google.
Unfortunately, others realized that they could take advantage of this market. They didn’t need to run an addiction center, they just needed to advertise like they did. Once someone contacted them, they could sell that information for a profit.
While some victims found themselves at real addiction centers, many did not. These advertisers sold their information to fake organizations like the ones in the Philly.com report. After reporting revealed how these organizations abused Google’s ad network, the company pulled all ads.
Warning Signs When Seeking Treatment
If you’re looking for help treating an opioid addiction, finding the right rehab is important. Several states already passed laws hoping to limit deceptive advertising, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
NBC listed some warning signs you should look for when looking for a treatment center.
In Philly, most ethical locations register with the city. This means they have to meet certain guidelines. Many unethical centers do not register.
A common tactic from scammers is to pitch the addiction treatment almost as a vacation. They’ll promise resort-like accommodations. Some might even promise to pay for your flight or cover your insurance premiums.
Offering payment to entice you to sign up is illegal in several states and breaking addiction is hard. Ethical centers typically advertise using their success rate and treatment methods, not with the promise of a beach.
They Just Want Your Name
An ethical company will need detailed information about their patients. They’ll want to know your complete medical history. Before agreeing to help you they’ll need to know what you’ve tried before and if you’re currently in any other therapy. Professionals use this information to find the best to help you.
For a scammer, the only thing they care about is your name and if you’re able to pay.
A Lack of Transparency
Unethical companies won’t give you a lot of information about how they operate. They don’t have anything beyond their sales pitch. If you’re speaking with someone, here’s some questions you might want to ask them:
- What is the ratio of trained staff to patients? (The lower the better)
- What do they offer for patients after completing treatment?
- Can the center cope with your unique medical conditions?
- Are their licensed staffers available 24/7?
If they don’t answer your questions directly, or only seem to be giving you the answers you want to hear, be careful.
How We Fight The Opioid Epidemic
For many, opioid prescriptions are a gateway to addiction. After years of fighting this crisis, we discovered a troubling truth. Some doctors over prescribe medication to people who don’t need them. Others find themselves the victim of unethical and illegal marketing campaigns from drug manufacturers. Far too many people view addiction as a sin or a sign of personal failure. We don’t.
Addiction is a serious medical condition. If you lost a loved one as a result of an opioid overdose who got hooked by their prescription, your family deserves justice. We’vedown pill pushing doctors and won millions for our clients. Let us help you. If you’re looking for an opioid addiction attorney, give us a call.
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