Addict brokers preying on vulnerable people in recovery

Cleveland 19 Investigates this growing problem

Addict brokers preying on vulnerable people in recovery

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland 19 discovered recovery is worth something and not just to the families of addicts.

Hannah Catlett uncovered a practice called addict brokering.

Addict brokers preying on vulnerable people in recovery

We’re airing a special report about “addict brokers” tonight at 11.

Posted by Hannah Catlett on Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Insurance industry professionals say the practice is not only unethical, but illegal. However, it’s happening here in the U.S.

It’s when treatment facilities pay incentives to sales people who recruit patients, even if they are not clinically appropriate for the program.

It works like this:

An addict wants to end their addiction.

A for-profit broker reaches out.

The broker offers a free flight to a treatment facility and sometimes even a cash kickback to take the deal.

But, if the addict’s already taken some steps to getting clean, they’ll have to get their insurance to believe they need more help.

It’s how one Ohio man’s son lost his life.

Wednesday at 11pm on Cleveland 19, we’re talking to him about what happened, and what other parents and addicts need to be aware of.

Rick Strickling says the problem is, when you’re desperate to find help for you’re loved one, you’ll pretty much do anything. That’s how brokers hook people.

“You want to believe that you’re being told the truth, because the idea that there are people out there who are making money this way, in such an unethical way-- that really just doesn’t register, that this is something that we would allow in this country,” Strickling said.

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