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Florida’s Drug Treatment Industry Plagued by Fraud


NBC News recently covered a frightening phenomenon happening here at home in Florida: the billion-dollar drug treatment industry that is recruiting addicts, harming them, and in some instances, killing them, all while pretending to be in the business of drug addiction reform. Arguably, it is a new form of consumer fraud which has reared its ugly head and disguised itself as paradise. 

Reportedly overdoses now kill more people than car accidents and guns. Out of this epidemic, “sober homes” were born in South Florida; homes designed to provide intensive rehab to patients while also allowing them to live within the community. Patients lived in group homes and reported to nearby drug treatment centers staffed by medical professionals.

The “Sober Home” Model

Thousands of people now flock to South Florida’s many drug treatment centers each year, hoping that these facilities will finally help them on the road to recovery, only to find that they are essentially the victims of insurance fraud. Treatment centers partner with others to track down potential patients with good health insurance, offering them free rent and benefits in exchange for their enrollment.

Legal Loopholes

According to the NBC article, some homes offered addicts discounted rent and other benefits in order to choose their location, violating Florida laws all the while allowing addicts to live there and actually continue to take drugs all in exchange for the insurance funds. In some homes, the patients are even reportedly supervised by convicted felons who are trafficking drugs instead of monitoring the patients.

Some of these homes have violated legal loopholes which bar municipalities from discriminating against their establishment, while at the same time; they also often cannot be regulated as official drug treatment centers because the treatment isn’t technically being provided within the homes. In fact, in Florida, nearly anyone can reportedly open a drug treatment center as long as they have the funds, a doctor to write prescriptions, and a designated clinic director to oversee the treatment.

The Injured Families

As the number of treatment centers and sober homes has grown, overdose deaths have quadrupled. And the harm isn’t confined to the patients themselves: Many parents and families of those who go to one of the Florida rehab centers have slowly watched their loved ones sink further and further into self-destructive behavior while the treatment centers rack up thousands of dollars in bills. Some of them have even been raided and shut down by law enforcement.

Experienced Commercial Litigation & Consumer Protection Attorneys

Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A. has been protecting consumers in Boca Raton and surrounding areas in Florida for more than 130 years combined. If you or a loved one has been the victim of consumer fraud here, contact someone on our team of experienced attorneys today for a free consultation, and let us help find you a solution.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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