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Red Flags for Recovery Programs

If you’re looking for an addiction treatment program for you or your loved one, watch out for these “red flags” that could signal unethical or ineffective providers.

“Too‐good‐to‐be‐true” advertising

Beware of “generic” websites or social media ads that make bold promises about success rates and emphasize amenities over treatment approaches.

Unsolicited recruitment

Some programs pay people to scour social media sites for families' stories of addiction and then reach out to recruit people. They may tell you what type of treatment your loved one needs without any type of evaluation – before offering to pay for travel arrangements to get you in the door.

“Cookie cutter” programs

Effective treatment is “individualized,” tailored to the needs of each patient. Conversely, these programs offer “one‐size‐fits‐all” therapy where everyone stays in treatment for the same length of time and receives all the same services.

1‐800 numbers that miss the mark

If you want to speak to the admissions staff at the treatment program you are considering, but the telephone number connects you elsewhere, that's a serious concern. Ask to speak directly with a supervisor or admissions director.

FREE anything

Nothing related to treatment is free, including air travel, hotel accommodations or sober living homes. As for a written estimate of the treatment costs to avoid surprise bills.

Upfront payments

Just like for most medical services, payment should be made after treatment is delivered. Programs shouldn't ask for money up‐front – and never give your credit card number to avoid being charged without your consent.

No in‐network participation

In‐network providers go through a credentialing process where your insurance provider reviews their treatment program, clinical process, treatment outcomes and rates. Unethical providers won’t – and can’t – live up to such scrutiny.

Do you need help now?

Asking for help can be challenging, but you are not alone.

Call 1-800-626-2212, 24/7.