6/3/2011, The Real Tab for Rehab: Inside the Addiction Treatment Biz


In what feels like the umpteenth time, singers Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, both famously drug addicted, checked back into rehab in May. The rich and famous, of course, have the means to bounce in and out of pricey addiction-treatment centers, but what’s the real cost of rehab for regular folks trying clean up their lives?

It can be anywhere from free to up to $2,000 per day of treatment. Promises, where both Britney and Lindsay have logged stays, can cost up to $100,000 for a month in a beach-view private suite with private physicians. A month-long in-patient stay at Hazelden, one the country’s oldest and most respected facilities, costs $28,500. Out-patient treatment there costs $10,000 a month. The Loft, a sober-living facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., runs $8,500 for a 30-day stay. Even a single intervention with a drug or alcohol specialist can cost hundreds of dollars…

The addiction treatment industry in America is expected to have revenues of $34 billion by 2014, an increase of 55% from 2005. The vast majority of that spending — nearly 80% — is underwritten by public funding, and the remaining portion paid for by insurance or private fees. There are are more 11,000 addiction-treatment centers in the United States, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration…

But for people who need help for addiction, Dr. Seppala says it’s not cost but quality of care and counseling staff that should be the priority. “Programs that promise ‘remarkable outcomes’ and 90% sobriety success rate after a year or a cure are exaggerated results that people should not believe,” he says…

“If you have a ton of money, some residential programs do a great job,” he says. “But I really struggle when families mortgage the house or drain their retirement funds to send a loved one to a residential program. That same $30,000 can pay for great out-patient care over a much longer period of time.”

Maer Roshan, creator and executive editor of the new website, TheFix, dedicated to covering clean-and-sober lifestyles, says the lack of consumer information about residential addiction-treatment centers is surprising considering the importance of what happens there. To pull back that curtain, he created a Zagat-like rehab review on his website which breaks down price, quality of the food, environment and other factors…

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