Back in the year 1864, the New York State Inebriate Asylum was first opened with the hope of treating those struggling with “alcoholism” (a term coined only 15 years prior to the Asylum’s opening). After a short while of being open, they began to apply their rudimentary approach of treating alcoholics and addicts all throughout New York City. The Martha Washington Home in Chicago opened shortly after the Asylum in 1867 to treat inebriate women. Then came the Ribbon Reform clubs and the Keeley League. Slowly, but surely, various hospitals in major cities began to open drug and alcohol treatment wards, Alcoholics Anonymous was conceived, Hazelden Treatment Center was established, and so the story goes all the way to the year 2015. Today we have nearly 15,000 treatment centers in America and nearly the entire medical community recognizes addiction as a brain disease.
The intentions were pure in the origin of addiction treatment.
Today, however, the ugliness of corruption and greed has found its way into our community allowing egregious treatment center owners to pop up on every corner of the south Florida streets.
The Business of Addiction
Look, I understand that there is money to be made in substance abuse treatment and, of course, every facility hopes to be successful. A successful center that is profitable is not what scares me nor is it the problem I wish to discuss.
My issue is that somewhere along the way, the treatment business went from legitimate to street.
The places that I mentioned in the beginning of this blog didn’t open up for the money. They opened up because addicts and alcoholics all over the world were cast out and had nowhere else to go. There was no one to understand them, rehabilitate them, and encourage them to get back on their feet. It just wasn’t heard of.
Then, once treatment centers began to open up, these besieged people started to become whole again. Good ran through this community of people who just wanted to help.
Today, though, I can see the look on some treatment center owner’s faces while they wickedly tap their fingers together and say, “But I just want to help you!”
The Boy vs the Giant
Would it be dramatic for me to claim that we are in the midst of the battle of Good vs. Evil?
Would I be correct in lamenting that "Evil" may be winning?
It has become David vs. Goliath, with David representing the ‘noble places’ and obviously, Goliath representing the corrupt.
Isn’t that metaphor inspiring, though? It provides us, noble facilities, with hope. Why? Because David won against Goliath! After a battle in which many causalities occurred, David patiently and intelligently took down the giant.
As Admissions Director at Evolutions Treatment Center, I have had the unfortunate opportunity of coming across many corrupt people in this business. Places that will offer patients cash to come to their program. CASH! That’s exactly what a person needs coming out of a treatment center for their addiction; a large amount of cash in hand! There are places that are willing to even go as far as buying patients their drug of choice with the hope of enticing that person into completing 30 days in their program now that their urine reads "dirty."
The Hope Shot
Amongst this sea of corruption, though, the good guys do exist. I come across other people and places that have the same ideals as we do. The treatment centers they represent want the same thing we want for our patients here at Evolutions. They want to provide hope. They strive to teach the principles and morals these patients have been deprived of for so many years.
Their biggest wish is that the person will never have to return to treatment and go on to living successful, productive lives. I’ll never forget when I once spoke to an owner at one of these trustworthy treatment centers about the very issue being discussed in this article, he said:
“Don’t worry, the days of the good ol’ boys will be returning.”
I'd truly like to believe that there is good in everyone. There are thousands of good people in this business, who truly have every intention of being of service to the struggling alcoholic or addict.
The competition to fill beds must end. Our priority must be the care and safety of our patients, a concept ignored by too many.
There are good places out there. There really is! Evolutions Treatment Center is one of them and I have met handfuls of other people in this field who have hearts of gold.
We are the “Davids.”
And remember, no matter how the story is told, David always triumphs over Goliath.