Ineffective drug rehab often costs families thousands

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Families across the U.S. are paying thousands of dollars for addicted loved ones to attend largely ineffective drug rehab programs, according to Vox.


The rehab industry is largely unregulated, ineffective and expensive. Many families take money out of their retirement savings and college funds, or go into debt, to afford services. Patients end up locked in a rehab cycle: They pay any amount for the first addiction treatment program they can find, which typically offers little insurance coverage. But the treatment has no follow-up care and often fails to stick, so the patient seeks another treatment and starts the cycle again. 

It is unclear whether the problem stems from the difficulty of treating drug use disorders or from the U.S. addiction treatment system. But many programs do not offer evidence-based treatment; most rely on the 12-step approach originating with Alcoholics Anonymous, which has proven largely ineffective for treating drug addiction. A majority of programs do not offer medications proven to allay opioid addiction, and some stigmatize medical approaches to treatment. 

Furthermore, there is no way for people to find out whether they are entering a good treatment program or not. None of CMS' 4,000 quality measures monitor addiction programs.

Click here to learn more about the U.S. drug rehab system.

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