In years past, they have called it “medical tourism” – when a person travels to another region or state to receive medical care in which they cannot get in their place of residence. Today, we are seeing a similar trend in regards to addiction treatment. Drug users, especially young opioid addicts, are traveling far away from their homes to go to drug rehab, and ultimately find recovery from addiction. One place in particular that has seen an enormous surge of out-of-state addicts is Southern Florida, a place that was once dubbed the “recovery capital of America.” As you may already know, the treatment industry in Southern Florida has become overrun with fraud and corruption, and now as a direct result of that fraud, the Sunshine State is becoming overwhelmed with drug overdoses.
Latest reports are telling us that Southern Florida, especially in Palm Beach County, paramedics and first responders are becoming all too familiar with calls related to drug overdoses. The Miami Herald recently featured a story portraying a typical night for the Delray Beach Fire Rescue team.
They receive a call around 7:30 pm on a Friday for a drug overdose, but before they can even arrive on the scene, another call comes in. “We have another overdose – a block away,” says firefighter Andres Colon. The rescue team stops in the street to find a woman slumped in a folding chair that a neighbor brought from their home to prop her up. She’s unresponsive. Neighbors tell the Herald that a car pulled up to a stop sign, pushed the woman out of the car and sped away. After reviving the victim with Naloxone and rushing her to a nearby hospital, Capt. Mike Rodriquez tells the Miami Herald, “Most of the time we find them inside homes, but the scenario itself is very common.” He then proceeds to get ready for the next call.
From Recovery Capital To Epicenter For Fraud And Corruption
While Southern Florida was once known for its resort-like treatment centers, it is now famous for fraud, patient-brokering, and drug overdoses. In Delray Beach alone, more than 1,000 victims succumbed to overdoses in 2016…and a large majority of those individuals were from out of state. One may wonder, why is that? Why are out-of-state residents dying in Florida? There are several explanations, but the leading variable is fraudulent marketing and treatment practices, ultimately selling addicts a dream of white sands, palm trees, and sunshine. Rather than focusing on the quality of care, fraudulent providers have equated recovery to comfort…that the more beautiful the scene, the more likely a drug user is to get sober. Nevertheless, what addicts and their families are being sold and what is actually taking place, are two different things entirely. Instead of receiving addiction counseling and therapy, a safe place to live, and the recovery skills necessary to achieve lasting sobriety, these young drug users are being used as a “meal ticket.” Most recently, some South Florida providers have pleaded guilty to charges including money laundering, insurance fraud, sex trafficking, and kickbacks.
What’s more, after these fraudulent treatment providers are done taking advantage of their clients/patients, they are told to pack their bags and leave. As a result, young out-of-state addicts are now homeless in Florida with a drug habit that was treated, creating a rash of drug overdoses and crime. Sidney Goodman, the founder of Caron Renaissance, one of the oldest and respected providers in Florida says, “As soon as they extract all this insurance money from them and they test positive, they kick them out on the street with their wheelie luggage. They don’t even ship them back to where they’re from. Now they’re our problem because they come here, they drop out and they’re on the streets.”
Although harsh, Andy Amoroso with the Palm Beach County League of Cities has a very important message for anyone seeking treatment in Florida, “We’re inundated with children from other states. My message would be, stop sending your children and your loved ones to South Florida because we’re sending them back in body bags.”
Do Your Research
The drug epidemic is affecting every corner of our country, from rural America to the big cities, no one is exempt from the pain of addiction. Drug overdoses are on an upward tick, with 2017 estimates to be the highest we’ve ever seen. As this happens, addicts and their families scramble to find resources and treatment, sometimes going with an option that does not necessarily suit the individual. Parents are placing their trust in providers to watch over and provide treatment to their children and drug users are pushing to go to destination rehab centers with palm trees and beaches.
Yes, Florida is still home to many upstanding and quality drug and alcohol rehab centers. Nevertheless, before entrusting your loved one to a provider, please know where it is that you are sending them. Additionally, it is imperative to remember that recovery does not have to take place near a beach, and resort-like atmospheres do not necessarily equal quality treatment. Although lawmakers are trying to strengthen regulations and Palm Beach County has created a task force to clean up the fraud and corruption within the treatment industry, the problem will not be fixed overnight. With that said, we understand the allure associated with Southern Florida facilities, but we urge to do your research before admitting yourself or your loved one into any treatment center. If you are unsure of what to look for, check out some of the red flags of unethical providers.
Contact Clearbrook Today
Unfortunately, fraud, illegal marketing tactics, and corruption have become a reality in the world of drug and alcohol treatment. While these providers are only interested in making a “quick buck,” there are still countless facilities available whose only goal is to treat the suffering individual and give them the best chance possible toward lasting sobriety. As overdoses become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, getting help is vital now more than ever. With that said, do not be afraid to ask questions or do your research on any facilities you or a loved one may be considering.
For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing quality treatment to the chemically dependent person. Located in the beautiful mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, you or your loved one will have the opportunity to recover in a peaceful and serene environment. If you are caught in the grips of addiction, please do not wait any longer. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today and see what recovery has to offer.