Addicts for Sale
In the rehab capital of America, young addicts are easy targets of unscrupulous "marketers." Vulnerable addicts, in many cases kids who are without options, are victimized by of all things, Obamacare hacks. Referred to as "body brokers" and "junkie hunters," these marketers are paid well for steering youth toward rehab centers.
What's more, it is being reported that many young addicts are exploited in ways that would sicken you.
Obamacare and heroin addicts, strange bedfellows indeed.
The Random House dictionary defines "bedfellows" as "an associate or collaborator, especially one who forms a temporary alliance for reasons of expediency." Unfortunately, these bedfellows are an enhanced form of corruption that preys on susceptible youth.
In the midst of a national opiate epidemic, vulnerable teens, and defenseless young adults are used by slimy profiteers, shady enterprises, and everyone involved is a collaborator to some extent, including the addiction treatment centers. They all have "blood on their hands."
There are over 200 licensed drug treatment centers and sober homes in Delray Beach, Florida. Delray is the "mecca" of drug treatment options, and therefore, it attracts the seediest of criminal enterprises ready to exploit and take advantage of vulnerable.
The presidential candidates talk about the problem, but little has been done to address the core problem. In the meantime, the epidemic continues to rage.
The original article appeared in Buzzfeed, written by Cat Ferguson - March 19th, 2016
...The kid broke and told him the details of the scam: For every person he convinced to leave, he'd get a few hundred dollars. "I said, 'Do you realize these guys have pimped you out?'" Steve said. "It's really easy to get people who are vulnerable and in need of money to say yes."
Jeffrey Goldman, Delray Beach's chief of police, confirmed to BuzzFeed News that this is a problem. "Moles are going in and they're trying to tell Johnny that this place is better," he said ... One woman ... told BuzzFeed News about getting $250 a week to do an intensive outpatient program (IOP) in Delray.
When her boyfriend, a marketer for the business, failed to bring enough new clients in, the owner cut them off. The woman contacted another marketer, who brought her to a new house.
DELRAY BEACH, Florida — One early evening last October, a group of young men and women were hanging out at the Starbucks on the main drag here, Atlantic Avenue, smoking cigarettes and bullshitting. They were sitting next to a pile of suitcases, the telltale sign of an addict looking for a place to stay.
Some get kicked out of their old halfway house because they relapse; others because their insurance coverage has been used up.
These kids, like hundreds or even thousands of others like them in Delray, are easy targets: They’re often broke and far from home, with limited support from family and friends; they can be mentally and physically unstable and they’re frequently running from parole or pending court cases.
The people targeting them are variously called “marketers,” “body brokers,” and even “junkie hunters.” They know addicts better than anyone (and many used to be addicts themselves). They spot kids dragging suitcases along the road and ask them if they need a place to go.
News Report - Heroin Overdose Spike in Delray Beach Florida
Their phone numbers circulate in South Florida among the untold addicts looking for “clean time” — or those looking for a flop house that will let them get away with using drugs.
In the midst of a national opiate epidemic, politicians are talking a lot about addiction treatment. In February, Obama asked Congress for $1.1 billion in additional funding to combat opioid and heroin addiction.
Hillary Clinton wants to increase addicts’ access to treatment programs. Ted Cruz, whose sister died of an overdose, has mentioned counseling,
Alcoholics Anonymous, and “securing the borders” as solutions to the epidemic. But few if any of these public discussions address what “getting help” actually looks like.
In South Florida’s Delray Beach, home to hundreds of rehab facilities and halfway houses, scams abound to profit off of addicts and their insurance policies.
The recent uptick in addicts adds energy to the hurricane, but the biggest driving force for the fraud is Obamacare and the 2008 Parity Act, which together give everyone access to private insurance that’s legally bound to pay for rehab.
“Marketers” act like headhunters, picking up addicts when they’re down, then bringing them to rehab centers and halfway houses for a fee — usually about $500 per head.
“There’s a lot of cynicism around because there’s these headhunters that hang out at Starbucks and coffeehouses,” said Harold Jonas, an addiction counselor who has run recovery-oriented businesses in South Florida for 25 years and was one of the first sober-home owners in Delray Beach.
“They’ll pay people to use because they get a $500-per-head fee to get them into detox.”
Because the best way to milk insurance is to cycle addicts through detox, rehab, and outpatient programs, there’s plenty of incentive to keep them relapsing.
Five recovering addicts told BuzzFeed News that some marketers give their recruits money for drugs so they test positive on urine tests when checking into treatment.
“He told me, ‘You gotta be dirty to go to detox,’” one addict told BuzzFeed News, describing a marketer who gave him cash for drugs.
The FBI partnered with the state in 2014 on a task force investigating fraud in the $1 billion Florida recovery industry, resulting in at least two closures of addiction treatment businesses, as reported by the Palm Beach Post. But local law enforcement in South Florida isn’t eager to take up the cause.
“The patient brokering stuff, most of that is being handled by the federal government,” Jeffrey Goldman, the chief of police of Delray Beach, told BuzzFeed News by phone. When the police do get a call, they hand it off to the feds.