Most of us have learned enough to know that there’s a certain amount of false advertising in everyday life. That wrinkle cream isn’t really going to magically erase 10 years from your face. That television show you’re thinking about watching probably isn’t the number one best drama of all time. Wearing a certain cologne isn’t going to end with you drowning in attractive women. Still, there are some times when we’d like to think we can trust people to deliver on what’s advertised, and one of those is when you’re searching for substance abuse treatment. Unfortunately, over the past few years there have been a rash of advertisements being taken down and even facilities closed over failure to deliver treatment up to standard.
In September 2017, marketers for the addiction treatment industry were dealt a blow when Google decided to take down many of their ads. The search giant stopped selling ads for a lot of terms that people looking for a treatment center would enter, such as “rehab near me,” and “drug treatment.” Advertisers would previously tell Google how much money they wanted to spend on ads per month and what keywords they wanted to be associated with them, and then they’d pay Google each time someone clicked on their ad.
This crackdown began after a story published by The Verge outline the scams prevalent in the rehab ad industry. For example, one woman called a hotline number that she found through a Google search and spent nearly an hour on the phone, during which she was asked for insurance and other personal information. She was told that they would get back to her with a referral, and when they called the next day they extolled the virtues of a certain facility in Florida called Wellness Counseling and Residential Detox. When she eventually arrived, she discovered that it was, in fact, a converted motel with tiny rooms, and the staff were not equipped to deal with her medical problems. That 800 number, by the time researchers from The Verge tried calling it, had been disconnected and was on several lists of complaints about scams.
Google has resumed selling these ads, but they now have a more vigorous vetting procedure to sniff out scams.
If you’re searching for a treatment facility, here are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t end up the victim of a scam. Check the staff page and see what sorts of professionals they have listed and what their credentials are. Also, ask the person who answers the phone if they’re actually located at the facility – if they aren’t, this might be a sign that you’re speaking to a third-party referral service instead. If you’re calling a hotline, make sure it’s informational and not a front for a particular facility. One way to do this is to ask if they’re non-profit. Finally, check phone numbers against phone book listings and complaint websites.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.