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Watch Out: Scams in Opioid Rehab Plague South Florida

The message of a recent news item posted by Pew Trusts is clear. It resonates in the headline: “Opioid Treatment Scam May be Coming to Your State.”

Where has this con started? South Florida. That’s where a mother, featured in the opening of this story, sent her son for help to no avail. That last phrase is putting it mildly. The young man, addicted to opioid painkillers and heroin, received little legitimate therapy in the four years that he went to more than two dozen treatment and sober living facilities in the region. It was as if he was stuck in a revolving door. He went from one center to another, relapse after relapse. This elongated and fruitless cycle came about through a person the mother met online, who presented he had the credentials, know- how, and interest to guide the family through the treatment process. Not!Doctor arrested for opioid treatment scam

Word to the Wise: Be Aware of Opioid Treatment Scams

Here’s the reality. This true life tale is part of what the article terms an “insidious addiction treatment scam that’s spreading across the country.” There’s a name for it – “patient brokering.” Based on her own harrowing and expensive experience, this mother has concerns. She fears that those who took advantage of her family are preparing to set up operations in her home state of Maryland. To this end, she is trying to engage elected officials to block this ploy pronto.

In 2017, Florida put an anti-kickback law on its books, known as the Florida Patient Brokering Act. What’s a broker? Someone who acts in this capacity works to “offer, pay, solicit or receive remuneration to induce the referral of, or in return for referring, a patient or patronage to or from a healthcare provider or healthcare facility.” Under the Florida statute, police could investigate drug treatment schemes and charge those who perpetrated this crime with a felony. After Florida took this action, other states followed suit, namely Arizona, California, New York, Tennessee, and Utah. What’s more, Florida issued another bill in 2019 to amend this law.

Taking Advantage of Those in Desperate Need

When people seek information and assistance for substance abuse, what route do many take? They head to the Internet. It’s discreet and chocked with leads. Searching under the banner of addiction recovery, they may, for example, participate in relevant chat groups and respond to hotlines. This may put them in touch with contacts who allege they have the experience and requirements to help.

Patient brokers ply potential victims with just the right words and attractive extras. The benefits they offer often come in the form of freebies. These include airline tickets, stipends, low or no insurance copays, and the opportunity to heal in sunny Florida. These hooks work and put thousands of dollars in the pockets of these crafty connivers. And they lurk and are eager to provide ongoing assistance in the event of patient relapses, which are the standard rather than the exception, in these fraudulent plots.

Watch Out for these Come-ons

Trust is a crucial factor to be earned rather than claimed. Take Recovery First Treatment Center, for instance. This premier drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility is highly accredited; and that comes by way of not just one, but two distinguished health organizations. As such, it has qualified to display the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission and met the strict standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Family Services and bearing an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau, it also is part of the esteemed American Addiction Centers network.

Recovery First offers a full continuum of care. The facility is inclusive; and it provides all levels of treatment for a client’s long-term journey to sobriety. Services include medical detox, residential treatment, a partial hospital program, intensive outpatient programs, and sober living program. Plus, it operates a track that focuses on veterans, first responders, and others in high risk jobs. The approach to treatment is individual and customized to a person’s needs.

Visit the admissions tab to learn more. Find out what to expect. Ask questions. And get help for yourself or a loved one.

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Photos Courtesy of Shutterstock.

About The Contributor
Sherry M. Adler covers a wide range of industries and topics as a freelance writer. She has a passion for her craft and the world at large. Dedicated to using the power of words to inform and energize stakeholders, she named her business WriteResults... Read More