Ethical Treatment

The addiction recovery experience is built upon fundamentals like health, compassion, trust  and wellness. While most rehabilitation centers are very ethical, some recent headlines have shown the importance of knowing what to look for. So in our latest blog, we wanted to share some best practices when it comes to choosing a recovery facility; as well as a few red flags to consider before you commit to a program.

Look For Accreditations and Certifications

In our field, there are a lot of checks and balances to ensure that a facility is holding itself up to the highest standard. Nonprofits like The Joint Commission are a great starting point in verifying whether a healthcare organization is doing its due diligence. Earning their accreditation badge means that the business was reviewed and validated by outside representatives, meeting specific safety and treatment standards. We, ourselves, went through a vigorous process to receive our verification and proudly display it on our website.


Highly regarded rehab centers are also members of larger recovery groups, this an important signal that the business is accepted by peers in the field and is an advocate of the cause. Iris Healing Retreat, for example, is a member of Addiction Treatment Advocacy Coalition (ATAC) and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), which respectively push forward the recovery movement on a national and statewide level.


Reputable organizations display information about their accreditation publicly on their site. If you don’t see any accreditations it is our recommendation is to at least ask why.


Ignore Aggressive Solicitors

A respectable recovery organization is never going to pester you or try to seek you out on a forum like Reddit. The peers we have worked with prefer to make the information available, then let the client come to their own decision. One unfortunate practice that is in full swing today involves former “recovery alumni” reaching out and trying to pull you in with overextended promises. These characters have earned the nickname “Addiction Vultures” and are literally the lowest of the low when it comes to our industry.


Their strategy involves the promise of a lavish sober home (usually in another state) which, in actuality, is an unregulated facility that pays them a kickback. A red flag here would be the aggressiveness of their behavior; such as cyber-stalking, social media bombardment and in-person solicitation outside of other facilities. We will tell you now that no ethical treatment facility operates that way. Quality rehabs are safe, warm environments, not ones where you feel pressured or uncomfortable.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned these unsavory practices in a recent speech:

“Vulnerable New Yorkers struggling with addiction are being targeted and falsely promised life-saving treatment services and then are given inadequate and ineffective treatment at outrageous costs,” Governor Cuomo said. “With our new campaign, we make it clear that this reprehensible practice will not be tolerated and will help ensure that people receive the appropriate assistance they need to reclaim their lives.”

Below is an example of one of the print pieces from his campaign.

A picture of a nice pool being held up in front of an abandoned pool at a rehab center in Woodland Hills, CA.


Google Facilities & Their Operators

Thanks to the brilliance of Google, we now have the ability to do thorough research before we make any type of major life decision. And that should apply to treatment as well. Before committing to a program, take a deeper look into who is running it and whether it’s made any news headlines (even Yelp it, if it makes you feel better). Nine times out of ten, you’ll see positive feedback.


But, there are those instances where you’ll get a shocking search result. California’s once highly regarded Community Recovery Los Angeles empire is a famous example of this type of illegal activity. At one time, they had 20 treatment centers throughout the Southland but news stories emerged about an owner who had allegedly embezzled and exploited clients. Googling the name of that facility instantly yields those results, which is why doing a little extra research is critical during the treatment decision phase.


There Is Much More Good Than Bad

As we mentioned up top, the poorly run facilities are almost always the exception to the rule. We work with tremendous people in this industry and are proud to say that we have never encountered anything like this in our circle. Nevertheless, it is always important to do your due diligence when it comes to seeking treatment and following these quick, easy guidelines can help you achieve that. We understand that this can be a very vulnerable time for many and urge anyone struggling, or their loved ones, to not let any negativity deter you from getting help.  If you need any assistance whatsoever from a safe and accredited org, we invite you to reach out and let us guide you towards the right choice.