As broke and hapless as they may be, drug addicts are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Chronic drug users are commodities, exploited by a growing world of drug and alcohol rehab operators who put profit ahead of patient care.
Everything from the opioid epidemic and Obamacare to prison realignment and legal loopholes has created conditions in which unethical operators can flourish, using addicts to bilk insurance companies and the public out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Critics and long-time insiders say a dark version of the industry is emerging, built around an illicit world of patient recruiters, fraud-driven clinics and drug-testing mills.
Southern California, where the implementation of Obamacare makes it easy for recent arrivals to sign on for insurance, is on the front line of the conflict.
White elite Malibu has 47 licensed rehab centers and a population of fewer than 13,000 people, making it the city with the highest per-capita concentration of rehab centers in California.
No. 2 is Costa Mesa, with 102 centers and a population of about 110,000.
And those cities aren’t distant outliers; Pasadena, Murrieta, San Bernardino, Woodland Hills, Long Beach – all are among the dozens of communities in Southern California where 10 or more rehab centers have opened shop.
In all, the region is home to 1,117 licensed rehab centers, a number that doesn’t include thousands of unlicensed sober living homes where addicts live as families.
Like we’ve always said, America loves drugs.
Source: Orange County Register