Treatment for addiction continues to be a growth industry in the United States. It is no exaggeration to say that the continuing increase in alcohol and drug addiction is having a devastating effect on the lives of tens of thousands of people, and is a crippling source of lost income and productivity not just in the lives of individuals but in government and private industry as well.
The rate of success in treatment options varies from program to program, but overall the legitimate use of addiction treatments is giving many new hope and determination to put their lives back together.
Unfortunately, there have been, and continues to be, a few bad hats in the addiction treatment industry that take advantage of lax rules and regulations to exploit addicts and their families with questionable, if not downright dishonest and harmful, advertisements that are only offered to bilk a desperate clientele that oftentimes is in no position to be very discerning.
That being the case, a number of professional organizations are banding together to clean up this unfortunate mess so that those who seek professional help can be assured of finding legitimate treatment programs that have a track record of successful results.
Several national certification programs have begun to insist on well-regulated and ethical guidelines for promoting and marketing valid treatment options. This comes at a time when the public’s confidence and trust in addiction agendas is at an all-time low. These groups include BHAP (Behavioral Health Association of Providers), CCAPP (the California Consortium of Addiction Programs, and the CAMO (Certified Addiction Marketing Organization.)
Standardization of credentials and procedures in the addiction treatment industry will go a long way in helping consumers regain confidence, say medical and marketing experts. As it stands right now, in most states it takes very little, if any, paperwork and government licensing to create and market an addiction treatment company.
Tighter Regulations Needed
While most addiction treatment clinics are dedicated to transparent and professional advertising, making no extravagant promises that are impossible to keep, there needs to be tightening of regulation and certification to drive out the small number of flim flam artists that practice deceptive advertising and marketing schemes. The ethics of making promises that cannot be achieved with unproven and/or slipshod practices is crystal clear — such advertising in next to fraudulent. As the old saying goes: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
Educating and then certifying addiction treatment staff is key to bringing the whole industry back into good repute. Vague guarantees and high pressure salesmanship have no place in an industry that works with so many people in a life and death situation. A well trained and certified staff, familiar with all county, state, and national guidelines using enterprise compliance documentation for addiction healthcare, will stamp out unethical marketing. This has to be done rapidly and thoroughly if addiction treatment businesses want their advertising to be reinstated on social media giants like Google, where most such ads are now banned.
Online classes on ethics and compliance are now being offered by a number of organizations, such as the ones listed above. As compliance and transparency become more common, it stands to reason that the addiction treatment industry will be able to function on a much more professional level in helping turn lives around.