Is Marketing for Addiction Treatment Centers Unethical?

I felt the need to address this crucial topic because recently, marketing companies for addiction treatment centers and drug rehab facilities have been called out and questioned as to whether or not what they do is illegal and/or unethical.   Is it wrong to get funding from drug rehab facilities? Can you really work in the best interest of addicts crying out for help if you’re getting paid to help them? Are all marketing companies and organizations bad or is there a right and a wrong way to make a living in the addiction treatment and recovery profession?

Is it Wrong To Get Paid and Make Money For Hard Work?

Is Marketing for Addiction Treatment Centers Unethical?First, ask yourself this question. Is it wrong to make money? If you’ve answered “yes”, then please go to work today, tell your boss that you can no longer get paid for your work and start working on a volunteer basis only from now on.

Whether you like it or not, money is necessary to put a roof over your head and to feed you and your family. People take jobs they don’t even like because they were offered more money. Money is necessary to live and survive in this world. Is it wrong to make money?  Absolutely not!  There’s nothing wrong with getting paid for clean, ethical work.

But for some reason, in the treatment and recovery profession, it has been construed as unethical or immoral to get paid to help people suffering from addiction. And if you work with or for an addiction treatment center, you are crucified or at least questioned.  But what’s so wrong with this? The ones working for free are construed as doing it “out of the goodness of their heart” but are still sending addicts to the same treatment centers as those who are getting paid. So what’s so wrong with making money?

Frankly, some very good people in the profession have been targeted lately, and frankly, I’m sick and tired of it.  Yes, there are a few bad eggs and they deserve the negative attention.  But very good people and organizations are being targeted for the simple fact that they make money in the profession.  First, let’s talk about the bad eggs.

Illegal Activity, Patient Brokering, Kickbacks and Covert Marketing Tactics

What is a KickbackNow, I will be the first one to admit and acknowledge that there’s a right and a wrong way to market drug rehab facilities. There are a number of covert marketing agencies and individuals claiming to help people for free while they’re secretly getting paid behind the scenes as “headhunters” for specific treatment centers.  These dishonest individuals may not be working in the best interest of their clients – after all, if they’re dishonest about getting paid for a living, what else are they lying about?

Others are secretly engaging in illegal activity such as patient brokering, insurance fraud and obtaining illegal “kickbacks” (often referred to as referral fees or bonuses as an attempt to masquerade the illegal activity). See the below links to learn more about kickbacks and illegal activity.

Beware of Kickbacks and Avoiding Scams: Top Addiction Treatment Center Ads

Is William Marotta (Choose Freedom) Getting Kickbacks? And Other Allegations

Warning to Parents: How Predators Secretly Make Money From Your Child’s Addiction

Warning! Avoid Scams at Local Drug Rehab Facilities in Florida – Our Recommendations

Moreover, many marketing organizations or individuals won’t disclose the drug rehab facilities they’re working for or with, as if it’s one big secret.  Now, if they’re working ethically and openly admit they get paid for a living, this may not be the biggest problem however, it does beg the question – why the secrets?  Are they trying to prevent other marketing organizations from learning who they work with to protect their sponsors?  Are they working with some questionable treatment centers and are afraid to publicly acknowledge their affiliation?  Is there illegal activity going on?

Marketers Who ONLY Help Addicts with Insurance or Cash Pay

Another problem or questionable marketing practice is to only help addicts with insurance or who are able to cash pay. There are a lot of “referral” agencies that work with a number of treatment centers that will literally hang up on anyone without insurance or money.  This, in my opinion, is very disturbing because the people without insurance and money need help too.  is it illegal?  No.  But is it ethical and right?  In my opinion, absolutely not.  And these marketers give the good guys a bad name.

How Marketers Get Paid and Why Treatment Centers Can’t Take Everyone

Is Marketing for Addiction Treatment Centers Unethical?The reality is, individual marketers or marketing organizations only get paid by drug rehabs if they can send them individuals with “good policies”.  I’m not talking about kickbacks either.  This is just how it works.  If a marketer can’t deliver “good policies”, even those who get paid a “salary” or a monthly, flat rate will be cut off.  We could argue whether this is right or wrong, but even the most ethical and top treatment centers require funding to keep running.  And if they’re putting money into marketing, they need to get something in return.  This is just how business works.  It may not “feel” right, but drug rehab facilities are slaves to the system just like the rest of us are.  It doesn’t make them evil or wrong, it’s just the nature of the beast.  Allow me to explain.

Now do I wish things were different?  Absolutely!  I wish private addiction treatment facilities would take everyone, even those without insurance or money.  And while some do offer the occasional scholarship, there’s just not enough for everyone.  Those without money or insurance cannot go to a privately funded treatment center.

Now before you cry foul and argue how disgusting this is, think about the rest of the world and how it’s built and revolves around the need for funding and money.  We are all slaves to this worldwide monetary system whether we like it or not.

Would the Holiday Inn let you check-in without paying?  Can you walk into Burger King and buy a Whopper if you don’t have cash?  Can you walk into a grocery store and walk out without paying the cashier?  The answer is “absolutely not”!  Are these companies unethical or evil?  No.  It’s just the way the world is setup…and we are all slaves to it.  So the problem really isn’t with privately funded addiction treatment centers, it’s a problem with the way the world requires money to do everything!

Ethical Marketing for Exceptional Drug Rehab Facilities and Addiction Treatment Centers

In my very strong opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working with ethical addiction treatment centers and getting paid for your hard work if you do it ethically and legally  Below, I’ve listed several reasons why getting paid as a marketer, if done so ethically can help the addiction and recovery world.

1.  Those Who Get Paid Have More Time to Help People

Those who work in an open, honest and transparent environment who get paid for a living can dedicate more time and energy into helping addicts find and get the addiction treatment they want, need and deserve.  Because money is necessary to eat and put a roof over your head, those who volunteer are less likely to have the time and energy it takes to help as many people as those who make a living out of it.

2. Those Who Get Paid/Funding Can Reach and Help More People

Think about it.  Getting funding or paid for a living enables marketers to reach more people.  A lot of the funding received goes into Google Adwords, Facebook/Social Media Marketing and/or hiring more people to reach a larger audience.  The more people a marketing company reaches, the more people they can help.

3. Funding Enables Marketers to Help People Without Insurance and Money

Yes, anyone regardless of whether or not they’re paid can help make phone calls and try to get people without insurance and money into treatment.  But how much of your time can you devote to this without funding?  Marketers with funding can sometimes use funding as scholarship money (if they receive enough) or hire people specifically for the task of helping people without money and without insurance all day.  Without funding, people have to find a free moment (when they’re not working at their job where they do make money) to help people.

Simply put, marketers play a very valuable role because they help to get the word out about exceptional treatment centers and are able to help more people than almost anyone else.  Sure marketing can be abused and there are some bad eggs out there doing things wrong – but the good guys shouldn’t be crucified for the same reason why it’s wrong to hate an entire race because a few have committed crimes.

How Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide Receives Funding

Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide MarketingI have made it abundantly clear in live videos, on our websites, on our Facebook page(s) and elsewhere that we are funded by addiction treatment centers we work with.  This makes us an online marketing company just as much as we are a true recovery advocacy organization.  We are proud of both!  We are very open and very transparent about what we do.  We do NOT take kickbacks, “referral fees” or “bonuses”.  Instead, we get paid a nominal, flat sponsorship fee each month.  That’s why it says on our website:

Note – The recommended drug rehabs, addiction treatment centers, programs and services listed on this page pay an ongoing sponsorship fee to support this free recovery patient based community and should not be considered an exclusive list of all the best recovery facilities, treatments, products and more. We do not vouch or warranty our recommendations however, each addiction treatment facility, program and service has been prescreened. Only addiction treatment centers our staff or our families would feel comfortable attending are approved for recommendation.

Treatment Centers pay to be listed on our popular websites and to be promoted on our venues.   Each addiction treatment center has been pre-screened and recommended based on demanding standards.  Simply put, we only work with those we genuinely believe in.  In fact, we have turned two treatment centers in Florida down due to their questionable reputation.

We openly list which drug rehab facilities (and other organizations) we work with and unlike some marketing companies, we help anyone and everyone regardless of their financial situation.  See “We Help Addicts with No Insurance and No Money Get Help and Treatment” for more information.

Does the fact that our organization gets funding make us bad, unethical or evil?  Of course not.  Instead, the funding we’ve received has enabled our organization to reach and help more people, help addicts regardless of insurance or their financial situation and yes, has helped me put food on the table and feed my family.


Simply put, good and ethical marketing companies help to get the word out for quality treatment centers and funding helps them reach and save the lives of more addicts.  Like anything else in this world, there are some bad eggs.  But don’t let the bad ones taint your view of the good guys who put their blood, sweat and tears into their life’s work so that they can reach and save just one more life.

Need addiction Help?

Click get addiction treatment or consult with one of our prescreened, top drug rehab facilities and addiction treatment centers.


Written by William Charles, Owner and Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube


Discussion Forum:

We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.

#killtheheroinepidemicnationwide #kthen #heroinepidemic #heroinforum #heroinblog #discussionforum #drugaddiction #substanceuse #substanceusedisorder #usingdrugs #usingheroin #drugabuse #recoveryrules #addictionsucks #marketing #unethicalmarketing #illegalactivity #kickbacks #treatmentcenters #drugrehabs #addictionhelp #addictiontreatment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *