Substance Abuse Treatment

10 Unethical Rehab Practices You Need to Avoid

Drug and Alcohol Rehab

If you or someone you love are looking for a rehab facility, you likely know that there’s no shortage of facilities to choose from. It’s estimated that there are around 14,500 different drug and alcohol treatment facilities.

Choosing among them can prove to be quite difficult. So what should you prioritize when choosing the right drug treatment facility? Ethics. Above all else, an ethical treatment center is more likely to keep patients sober and healthy for a longer period of time. But part of finding an ethical facility is to know what to avoid.

You can enlist the help of a credible interventionist, but you’ll want to put in your own legwork also.

Here are 10 unethical rehab practices that you should avoid at all costs.


1. Drug Treatment Centers Making False Promises

Addiction RelapseNo addict wants to relapse. But the truth of the matter is that many will likely return to their favorite substance. It’s an unfortunate fact, but according to a study put out by NIDA, only one-third of respondents remained drug or alcohol-free a year after treatment.

Relapse, like addiction, isn’t a moral failing. It’s simply an unfortunate part of the process.

If a rehab center promises that you’ll get better and stay better, they’re exhibiting unethical rehab practices. They’re likely more concerned with enrolling you in treatment, taking your money, and spitting you back out on the street.


2. Drug & Alcohol Rehabs Claiming False or Inflated Statistics

Rehabs claiming 100% Success RateThis pairs perfectly with our last predatory behavior. No substance abuse treatment facility has a 100 percent success rate. Odds are, at least one current or former patient is going to relapse at some point or withdraw from treatment.

Remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never choose a treatment center that inflates its statistics. Go with your gut. If something seems off, you’re better off finding a different treatment facility.

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3. Addiction Treatment Centers Putting Money Over Clients

It’s critical to keep in mind that rehab centers are businesses, after all. They need to make money in order to stay open. Unfortunately, some centers use unethical rehab practices to put money above their clients.

Examples include fast, high turnover rates or slow turnover rate with little improvement over a long period of time. Both are dangerous, as they imply that the facility is more interested in your bank account than your treatment.

Patient brokering is a huge issue, for example. Let’s say that you need to enter rehab but you can’t afford to pay the high insurance fees.

 Addiction Treatment Centers Putting Money Over Clients

A facility may offer to pay for your first month if you sign up today, knowing full-well that you won’t be able to pay the remainder of the costs.

It’s fine that these businesses want to turn a profit, but they shouldn’t do so at the cost of your health.


4. Drug Rehab Centers with Poor Security

Poor Drug Rehab SecurityWhen you enter a rehab facility, so do your medical records and private information. Therefore, it’s extremely important that rehab facilities invest in top of the line data security.

Poor understanding of technology is no use for shoddy security, as it just takes one determined hacker to get hold of private health records and sell them to the highest bidder.


5. Alcohol Treatment Centers with Low Hiring Standards

Believe it or not, substance abuse within rehab facilities themselves is a huge issue. Facilities are constantly battling to keep substances out of their doors and away from patients’ hands.

Alcohol Treatment Centers with Low Hiring StandardsThat’s exactly why low hiring standards are a significant issue.

The last thing you need to worry about during your treatment is the temptation from your peers, or worse, an employee. The rehab center you choose needs great security and should exercise great caution when hiring employees.


6. Substance Abuse Rehabs Emphasizing Accommodations Over Care

A quick search of rehab facilities in your area will show that you plenty of centers offer all sorts of accommodations. From Olympic-size swimming pools to massage centers, some of these features sound pretty nice.

Drug Rehab AccommodationsBut make sure that the accommodations aren’t your primary reason for visiting. You’re in treatment, after all, not on vacation. Your priority should be getting better, not enjoying the luxurious treatment.

Having a nice rec room or elaborate suites is great, but placing these above patient care is one of the biggest unethical rehab practices.

Looking for Addiction Treatment? Call (877) 322-2450 Today!

7. Treatment Centers Not Accepting Insurance

There’s no way around it, it’s nearly impossible to pay for treatment without some form of insurance. And even if you have the nicest, highest-quality insurance on the market, there’s no guarantee that your facility will accept it.

Drug & Alcohol Rehab InsuranceAlways check that a facility accepts your insurance provider before signing anything.

You have enough on your mind, the last thing you need to worry about is how you’ll pay for treatment. Millions of people die each year from lack of access to treatment, and not accepting insurance is simply unethical.


8. Drug Rehabs with Lack of Anonymity

It’s important that you trust your doctors to keep what you talk about confidential.

Alcohol Treatment Center Doctor Patient ConfidentialityDoctor/patient confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of medical treatment, and failure to adhere to guidelines is perhaps one of the most egregious unethical rehab practices a center can commit.

Subjects discussed in therapy — even group therapy should never leave the room.


9. Alcohol Rehabs that Manipulate Treatment of Patients

Alcohol Rehabs that Manipulate Treatment of PatientsAlong those lines, you should never feel pressured or coerced by anyone within the center. This includes doctors or orderlies guilt-tripping or judging patients.

However, it also includes physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Your safety is important, that extends to your mental security.


10. Drug and Alcohol Rehabs Not Providing Necessary Medications

During withdrawal, your body is undergoing some pretty significant changes. Your system won’t know how to function without certain substances in your system.

Drug and Alcohol Rehabs Not Providing Necessary MedicationsYou may experience symptoms like headaches, nausea and extreme mood swings. It’s up to the rehab centers to provide the necessary medications in these instances.

Often, quitting cold turkey is dangerous. Never check into a facility that doesn’t believe in administering these medications.

Looking for Addiction Treatment? Call (877) 322-2450 Today!

Avoid These Unethical Rehab Practices

If you’re suffering from the throes of addiction, you don’t have to live in darkness. Use our search function to find a fantastic, ethical treatment center in your area and get the treatment you deserve.

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About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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