The Rise & Fall of the Billion Dollar Recovery Industry


I remember going into rehab when I was a teenager for the 3rd or 4th time and as I sat in the discharge planner’s office I picked up a pamphlet. The tri-fold pamphlet had a treatment center in Florida branded all over it. It was so warm and inviting and I remember the palm trees and swimming pools.

I didn’t end up in South Florida after that rehab stay, but after many others I eventually did come down to South Florida for treatment. I remember it was surreal to see the palm trees and the swimming pools as the plane was landing. I was coming with a bag of cloths and nothing else as so many do.

Palm Beach County, the Recovery Capital of the World Delray Beach

I was 25 when I finally made it to Florida for recovery and it was crazy to see how many people actually came there for recovery. Over all it was a great place for recovery because of the amount of people I had to network with. People with similar ideals and goals for themselves gave me something to shoot for. Of course the area had its downsides, but they didn’t outweigh the upsides.

It was 2009 when I came down to Florida and by 2012 the area started to boom like a wrecking ball going into a foundation of cement. Treatment Centers were opening all over the place and ground level marketing was on the upswing. People were doing everything thing to make the almighty dollar.

The Beginning of the End of the Recovery Mecca…

Since 2012 South Florida and now California have become cesspools for early 20s adults to go to and recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. Many of these recovering individuals are very seasoned on what they get for the price of their insurance cards. Meanwhile the ground level marketers are stalking these individuals like prey looking for their next meal. Many of these ground level marketers offer addicts information to the highest bidders and just collect the cash.

So my question is this… Is this the end of the South Florida Recovery Capital due to this behavior?

My Answer… No.

The biggest thing to understand is that this goes on in many areas of the medical industry. Most of the focus has been directed towards the addiction treatment industry due to the parents of children making a big fuss. Please understand I am not condoning the behavior of some of these ground level marketers in any way. However, there is some good that comes out of the networking involved with these ground level marketers and the treatment centers. Sometimes a candidate for treatment may not be the best fit for a treatment center and may be for another one. It makes it easier for everyone involved for the marketer to find the best fit for their client.

The biggest debate here is the profit motive of the individual marketer. Would you go through the hassle for no money? I have; However many won’t.

The issue on the table is will this mark the end of the treatment industry in South Florida. I think not. As we wait for reform things should cool down with the bad press and publicity. Many who come here to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction are successful. Many recreate their lives and become new people with full time jobs, responsibilities and better lives. Were always close to a beach and there are a ton of things to do aside from drinking and drugging.

Maybe you just have to ask yourself, “Is the glass half full or half empty?”



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