Last Updated on October 19, 2021

Rehab Under Fire: The Sober Underbelly of the Recovery Industry

On January 3, during a time when many Americans were focused on relaxing, cooking, being with family, or recovering from the holidays, The New York Times published a series of articles on the addiction rehabilitation industry. Called Addiction, Inc., the paper took a strong stand on the increasing addiction crisis in the United States.

Many people suffering from addiction make New Year’s resolutions to do something about it, but as these articles show, consumers should tread carefully.

With thousands of facilities around the country, rehab in-patient clinics offer to help patients overcome addiction, but usually with large outlays of time and money. Consider these numbers from The Giant, Under Attack (by Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery): “Inpatient providers can bill insurers up to $10,000 for 28 days of services.” Another option for outpatient treatments can be $1,400 a month.

Even something as simple as a urine test can cost hundreds of dollars. David Segal notes, “A drug test costs more than a day of therapy, and that has a way of changing priorities,” said Andrew Burki, the chief executive of Life of Purpose Treatment, a group of clinics focused on students. “And the timing of all this could not be worse. We are in the midst of one of the worst health pandemics since the Spanish Flu. More Americans will die from opiates this year than in the entire Vietnam War.” (In Pursuit of Liquid Gold)

In City of Addiction Entrepreneurs, Segal studies the city of Prescott, Arizona, in which it has been estimated that 1 in 30 residents are in recovery. Prescott has encouraged the adoption of “The Florida Model,” in which patients have group therapy during the day, but return to a sober home at night. Even so, what Segal calls “rehab without frills” can easily cost over $9,000 per month.

Further, some rehabilitation facilities may engage in predatory activities, to the point of endangering potential customers. Lured in with promises of recovery, customers arrive in a facility that may not be able to handle complex, sometimes pre-existing medical conditions.

Consider one experience related by Dr. Alan Goodwin, profiled in Segal’s A Doctor with a Phone and a Mission. Goodwin posed as a prospective rehab client and uncovered a good deal of misinformation—to the point of being dangerous. “That reached an extreme when [Goodwin] told a clinic in New Jersey that, in a drug-fueled depression, he had just slit his wrists. To his amazement, the phone rep did not suggest that he head straight to a hospital. Instead, Dr. Goodwin said, he was counseled to immediately board a plane and fly to the clinic.”

At Ria, we affirm people exploring a variety of means to reduce alcohol. Not all rehab facilities are questionable, and we also affirm other outpatient approaches, Alcoholics Anonymous, or other secular or religious organizations. Everyone is different, and one method doesn’t work for all.

What we don’t affirm is that getting off alcohol has to be expensive. If $10,000 a month for rehab seems daunting, isn’t it worth trying another option for far less? At $350 per month, for six months to a year, Ria offers a much more affordable solution, and for many people, it works. We don’t pressure clients into signing up; we want people to feel comfortable with the treatment method, and not badgered. Most potential customers have suffered enough already.

Call us, and a member of our friendly staff can help you determine the path that’s right for you.


ADDICTION, INC. (The New York Times, Dec. 27, 2017 and Jan. 3, 2018)

The Giant, Under Attack (by Jessica Silver-greenberg and Michael Corkery)

In Pursuit of Liquid Gold (David Segal)

City of Addiction Entrepreneurs (Segal)

A Doctor with a Phone and a Mission (Segal)

Written By:
Reviewed By:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verify Your Insurance Benefits