Addiction Treatment as an Investment: Don't let program marketing fool you!

In an industry riddled with unethical practices and questionable services, I implore any family searching for treatment for their loved one to take all program marketing and advertising online with a grain of salt. “Don’t waste your time” looking online. Before I start busting chops [after recently coming across some rather aggressive marketing], I’d like to it throw out there that I have visited programs I would absolutely refer clients to. Programs that have been in business because of referrals from alumni; alumni that credit their sobriety and long term recovery to attending said program. Programs that don’t need to aggressively market.

There are programs I’ve yet to visit (and won’t) because I can see right through the BS. For a family desperate to find a treatment program for their loved one, your blinders are on and you may be easily fooled into hearing that the program can and will help. For me, all I see are dollar signs and money down the drain. I see young adults who will be in and out of multiple treatment programs, without success of staying sober. Treatment is expensive, so it’s wise to see it as an investment and make sure you’re being advised towards a program that can help from the start.

Insurance-driven over client-centered, short-term residential or PHP treatment programs with little aftercare planning unless it’s to a program they are buddies with - this is a program I’d personally avoid. This all makes my skin crawl. At the end of the day I’m recommending programs to families because of the milieu and deciding if their young adult will be a good fit, not solely because I like the program and I know they do great work. I’ll certainly call these programs first to see about space available, but not every young adult is the same. Consultants know and understand that. Sometimes, treatment programs do not. The phrase “heads on beds” is still a very real thing. When programs are in the practice of referring families directly to other programs, I just get extremely nervous and often say “well, I hope it works out for the young adult.” Should anything happen to the young adult without a Therapeutic Consultant, the family doesn’t have unbiased person they can seek out for advise and guidance.

Do I want the programs to do good work? Absolutely! Knowing I can’t stop them from referring directly to continuum care programs, do I hope they do a good job in their recommendation? Hell yes! It’s all about what’s best for the young adult. I personally don’t recommend programs I haven’t visited. Programs where I have seen the space, met the clinicians, and sat down with residents. My program visits are based on recommendations from people in the industry who I trust and respect. People who are leading the charge to “scorch the earth” around the feet of other shady programs and practices. Sadly, the treatment industry is a money-maker. We cannot be rid industry entirely of some ill-intentioned humans. Those of us that do good work though, we band together.

At the end of the day, if you are looking for treatment, whether it be locally or nationally, consider working with a Therapeutic Consultant. If you call programs directly, they are going to sell you on their program only. If you miraculously get the program that says “no” and turns you away, I’d personally have more respect for that program. It doesn’t happen often though. Therapeutic Consultants are objective and will lead you to programs that we know do quality work. We will be there to advocate for you, your loved one, and to be a part of the continuum of care; from detox to sober living and beyond. Addiction Treatment needs to be seen as any other large financial investment. No family would blindly spend money without checking references, seeking consultation, and making informed decisions. When it comes to finding treatment programs, working with a Therapeutic Consultant will be your best investment.