WHEN THE TIDE GOES OUT
World-famous private investor and the fourth wealthiest person on the planet Warren Buffet once said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked”. Buffet was referring to the idea that when conditions for businesses suddenly become very bleak, and the markets have a sudden correction, it’s much easier to see what companies genuinely have a good business model. Likewise, what other companies cannot withstand devastating unforeseen events, and which companies are built on a house of cards and destined to fail. If there is to be anything positive to actualise from the 2020 worldwide pandemic is that many private rehabs will no longer exist in 2021, and this can only be a positive step in the right direction. For far too long endless private rehabs in faraway exotic locations have blatantly deceived, conspired and manipulated families, clients and the general public that they operate legitimate, accredited and accountable addiction treatment services. These claims often range from guarantees about relapse prevention, so-called evidenced-based treatment models and holistic approaches. The holy trinity of deception are: Guarantees, the expression Evidence-Based and Holistic models of care.
How do they do this?
How have they gotten away with this for so long?
Why will they now have to close their doors suddenly?
Unfortunately because of film, tv, music and popular culture many people wrongly believe that a rehab is a magical place that fixes everything in someone’s life, in a short period and that is the first and only option available to people in a difficult situation.
When family members, friends or individuals who suffer from chronic addiction decide its time get some help or assistance, they find themselves in an extremely precarious situation. They are vulnerable, impressionable, isolated and traumatised culminating in a unique recipe for many private rehabs to ride along and devour them with great gusto praying on their victims with imaginary tails of success, validation, competence and professionalism. What many unsuspecting people don’t understand is that what is being sold to them is a complete fiction with zero scientifically validated approaches and methods. Many of the accrediting peak bodies they are connected to can be joined by anyone even a computer bot and the same private rehabs own all their review websites and operate in a cabal like fashion with other private rehabs who are all basically partners in crime.
Their workforces have never worked in an actual legitimate accredited addiction treatment service because they have no qualifications other than being sober members of a 12-Step program.
Regrettably, when people are looking for private a rehab, common sense flies out the window. Firstly they are genuinely conned by some very enthusiastic salesmanship and because of their current predicament are even more willing to believe anything.
The two most common questions people ask when enquiring about a private rehab are:
“What are your success rates?”
“Do you have any doctors?”
For anyone who doesn’t know anything about addiction treatment services, these two questions would seemingly be the most logical and reasonable questions to ask.
The problem is twofold.
No rehab in the world, either public or private, can honestly answer the first question. The question is entirely subjective, and the potential answers have endless variables. How do you judge success? If the question is; what length of time do people stay clean and sober after completing the treatment program? The answer is also the same, impossible to measure unless of course, the treatment program has sober housing attached to their existing program post-treatment with regular drug testing and monitoring. But this too is not a guarantee.
There are no guarantees.
The next time you read on Facebook that rehab is guaranteeing sobriety for their client’s post-treatment, they should be reported to Facebook, the ACCC and potentially sued for deceptive and misleading advertising.
The doctor question is also fascinating.
A doctor’s consultation is, on average, around 15 minutes at the cost of between 200 to 400 hundred dollars. Although General Practitioners have extensive experience and knowledge, they are generally given a brief period to assess patients, recognise symptoms and prescribe medication and or make referrals. Doctors are not psychotherapists; they do not have the luxury of spending long periods with individual patients; they must professionally make fast diagnostic decisions and move on to their next patient. Doctors do not work at rehabs. They work with rehabs or have a practice nearby which the rehab services utilise for their clients, like any member of the general population.
(Unless of course the rehab is in a private hospital, but the same principle still applies. Private Hospital rehabs are notorious for having repeat business from individual clients. Private Hospital Rehabs base their entire business models on Private Medical Insurance claims which essentially means they never have to advertise and tend to have a direct effect on the premiums paid by the general population)
All private rehabs benefit from repeat business; in fact, most private rehabs rely heavily on repeat business.
People looking for a private rehab get seduced by pictures of beautiful sceneries, 5-star accommodation and food, yoga and martial arts and supposedly evidence-based programs delivered by highly qualified professionals. Unless you would be paying half a million dollars for such extravagant treatment, it is basic mathematics which can dictate the true nature of the situation.
Most private rehabs utilised the free community-based self helps groups of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotic Anonymous. Many private rehabs based their entire rehab programs on AA and NA. This is why most of the staff at a Private Rehab are also members of either Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or both. The private rehabs themselves believe it to be a professional qualification to a sober member of AA or NA.
In most businesses, it isn’t easy to retain and maintain highly qualified and professional expert staff.
Now think very carefully about a remote location far from any city in a faraway part of the world.
What are the chances of having highly qualified professional clinicians working at these private rehabs? The answer is in the question.
This is why private rehabs lie so flippantly, firstly because they can and secondly because they don’t have a choice.
AA and NA are not evidence-based programs. Although numerous studies claim to have tried to calculate its effectiveness, it’s somewhat tricky to kept empirical data about organisations that are entirely based on the preservation of a persons anonymity. However, by AA owns admission, it believes success rates for people are somewhere between 1 and 10%, which is roughly slightly lower than the supposed success rates of residential treatment programs.
It works for some people but doesn’t work for many others.
The central fact is that it’s a free non-professional program which can be attended by anyone, anywhere in many places around the world.
If you plan on going to private rehab, you might as well begin attending AA and or NA, and you will probably find a meeting, free of charge on tonight very close to your home, if you live in an urban area, perhaps at the end of your street.
Families and individuals should not be paying thousands of dollars to be taken to fee programs which are readily available to them. (This includes NA, AA, GA, SMART Recovery and numerous other free community based peer support mutual-aid programs)
Private Rehabs spend millions of dollars a year on advertising, through their PR firms, embedded journalism, Google AdWords, Facebook adds, fabricated news stories, enticements for doctors and detox units and mostly through referral fees which can be anywhere from 10% to 25% of the cost of treatment open to anyone who helps them get more clients. Entire business models and industries are based on the referral fee system.
Exotic rehabs in faraway places run by unqualified ex-pats from the United Kingdom or elsewhere who are AA members have now suddenly had to shut their doors. The worldwide pandemic has destroyed their business models because of no international flights, and new social distancing measures has meant self-help groups have had to move online. Because these rehabs base their entire programs on taking people to AA meetings, they can’t precisely charge people for logging onto an online free AA/NA meeting. We can all only pray that when the pandemic has dissipated that these individuals running these fraudulent private rehabs have moved onto their next Ponzi scheme.
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Please note that not all Private Rehab providers fit the description above. Many private providers offer some of the best treatment services in the world.
However, it is very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.