While not all addiction treatment centers and drug rehab facilities are created equal, Facebook is riddled with ads for “Top 10 Drug Rehab Facilities and/or Addiction Treatment Centers”. When you click on these ads, you are typically taken to a low budget (or even a high budget) website designed for the sole purpose of luring you in to one of the treatment centers they work with.
Many of the organizations who claim their treatment centers are the “best” or claim to work for “free” work on “kickbacks”. You may not be charged for using their service, but they get paid a “referral fee” or kickback from the drug rehab facilities they work with. A “kickback” is an unlawful and unethical form of payment made to the organization for facilitating some kind of transaction or appointment. In other words, the organizations only get paid if they “sell” you into one of their addiction treatment centers.
What is a Kickback and How Do These Referral Based Organizations Work?
The term “kickback” comes with a negative connotation and for good reason. In the addiction and recovery profession, a kickback is essentially a referral fee an organization or an individual receives from an addiction treatment center / drug rehab facility, sober living home and/or detox center. In many cases, the individual or organization are self-proclaimed “recovery advocates” or philanthropists claiming to make no money for helping people. Now, they may not take any money from the addict, but don’t be fooled or scammed – they are making money from you.
As an example, someone suffering from addiction will find an individual, organization or website that claims to provide “free service” for getting them the help they want and need. Ads like “Suffering From Addiction? We Can Help” may lure you to their website that leads you to call their toll free number. In this case an agent will essentially screen you to see if you meet their criteria and if so, will work to get you into one of their treatment centers. If you don’t meet their criteria, they tell you to have a nice day and wish you well. This is often where the phrase “no money, no insurance, no help” comes in – because a large percentage of these organizations will only work with you if they can make money from you. If you do meet their criteria, they “soft sell” you into one of their treatment centers.
Most of these agencies, individuals and/or websites don’t disclose the fact that they make money from you by sending you to one of their treatment centers. Moreover, most of these organizations don’t disclose the treatment centers they work with and will only tell you the name of the drug rehab facility to which they’re sending you once you are already 100% approved. Asking which treatment centers they work with often goes over like a lead balloon – in other words, not only won’t they disclose them to you, but they’ll often act annoyed or blow off the fact that you asked a very logical question.
Warning: some self-proclaimed recovery advocates on Facebook and beyond are actually headhunters for addiction treatment centers and get kickbacks for “helping” you into their treatment center.
Why Are Kickbacks Unlawful, Illegal and Unethical?
We firmly believe there is nothing wrong with getting paid for a living. Every organization needs funding and money in order to exist and actually provide helpful and much needed services. After all, referral based organizations are often needed to help get people into treatment. That said, there is an ethical way to do it and kickbacks typically aren’t the way to do it.
Kickbacks are unethical and often illegal simply because the question of whether or not the referral company has the best interest of the patient in mind. Non-disclosure of referral fees / kickbacks is part of the problem. Non-disclosure of the drug rehab facilities they work with is another. But the biggest problem is that organizations or people working on kickbacks are often financially motivated and may be less inclined to provide all the necessary information that may help the suffering addict make the best decision for them.
Kickbacks and referral fees are essentially a hidden markup on the product or service. This leads to increased cost of treatment, although in most cases, addicts/patients who have insurance aren’t aware because the insurance companies pay for it. Inevitably however, someone has to eat the cost of a kickback. Treatment centers pass on the extra expense to the insurance companies and insurance companies pass on the extra expense to their customers. At the end of the day, it’s the hard working men and women who have to pay at least some out of pocket expenses for insurance who end up suffering and paying more.
Moreover, because kickbacks aren’t often disclosed, they possess a great potential of violating trust between the referrer and the individual being referred. On some level, by agreeing to pay a referral fee, a treatment center, sober living home or detox center is encouraging the referrer to limit the free exchange of information to the prospective “customer”, which had they not been financially motivated to make a “sale”, might have led them to reveal additional options to the addict that may have much better served their needs and interests.
The Other Side of Kickbacks
Now, there is another side to kickbacks to consider. For starters, not all people who get referral fees are bad, unethical people. Many of them genuinely want to help people and won’t turn anyone away, regardless of whether or not they’re making any money. The “question” of kickbacks and ethics has to do with whether or not they are working in the patients best interest. It’s a question, not a guarantee. Money only corrupts the unethically corrupt. Those who work ethically and are genuine about helping people can do so and still get paid for it. That said, Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers or NAATC prefers not to operate on kickbacks so there is no question as to our motives. We also operate in a transparent environment.
How Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide Recommends Treatment Centers
Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC) recommends treatment centers based on demanding selection criteria. Those who meet our demanding standards and are truly working in the best interest of men and women suffering from addiction are invited to become a recommended sponsor. Recommended sponsors do pay a flat, monthly sponsorship rate to support our patient based community.
Recommended addiction treatment centers, sober living homes and/or other organizations do possess a professional, search engine friendly profile and are allowed and encouraged to use our multiple venues to share information, news and events related to their organization, facilities and services. And because we’ve prescreened them and believe in them, we will recommend them privately and publicly to people to consider. Click here to view our entire list of recommended sponsors.
Unlike most “referral companies”, we do not take or accept kickbacks or referral fees nor do we turn anyone away who needs help. Because those we recommend benefit from multiple venues, those who come to us privately and ask additional questions are given all the information they need to make an informed decision. Simply put, not everyone who contacts us is eligible or able to work with one of our recommended sponsors. Other organizations may turn these people away. We don’t. Instead, we will work with them and try to help them find a place or treatment that is suitable for their needs.
Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide is 100% transparent regarding what we do and how we recommend treatment centers. Who we recommend is prominently listed and the fact that those we recommend pay an ongoing monthly sponsorship fee to support our free community for addicts is listed on our website and disclosed when asked.
Ethics Equals Honesty, Transparency and Working in an Addict’s Best Interest
Because we get funding whether we help an addict or not, we are not driven by financial motivation to help people. We aren’t trying to make a “sale” or trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Do we give our recommended sponsors special preference? Absolutely. But it’s not because they pay a monthly sponsorship fee. It’s because we believe in their ability to help people. If we didn’t, we would refuse to work with them no matter how much money they were willing to pay.
Recommending Top Treatment Centers Much Like an Ivy League University Accepts the Brightest Students
Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC) works a lot like an Ivy League University. Harvard University accepts only the best and brightest students based on demanding criteria including a high GPA, SAT scores, their involvement in the community and extracurricular activities in school, sports, etc. Those who are accepted and enroll however, do pay tuition. Tuition goes to keeping Harvard running and keeping their programs, education and faculty top notch. Likewise, our community only recommends treatment centers that meet our demanding criteria. View our standards for recommending addiction treatment centers. Those who meet our standards and choose to become a recommended sponsor also pay a monthly flat sponsorship fee to keep our organization operating at its best.
Who Are the “BEST” and TOP Addiction Treatment Centers?
Most organizations that work with treatment centers will have you believe that the treatment centers they work with are the best. That said, determining who are the “best” treatment centers is as much subjective as it is objective.
Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide genuinely believes in the treatment centers, sober living homes, products and organizations we recommend. They have met our high standards and thus, we believe that they are amongst the best. That said, nobody can possibly say that the drug rehab facilities they work with are an exclusive list of all the best in the world. Thus, we caution you to beware of “Top 10 Addiction Treatment Center” type ads that are there for the simple purpose of trying to lure addicts to one of their facilities so they can obtain their kickbacks or referral fees. Instead, understand that there is no single “best” treatment center but instead, focus on finding the “best addiction treatment center for YOU”.
Written and Published By,
William – Publisher and Founder of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™
Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.
We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.