How much would you pay for the cure?  Most people would spend a lot to cure themselves or a loved one from addiction.  In fact, last year Forbes reported that the market for addiction treatment in the US is $35 billion per year.

Today I had the experience of touring a rehab facility that is targeted towards those who are willing and able to pay the highest price for addiction treatment.  The facility was small with a capacity of no more than 16 beds, but it sat on 85 sprawling acres of land.  Treatment residents have ropes courses, a beautiful pool area (pictured above), a serenity garden, motor bike rentals, and more.  There are three on-site PhD level staff available 6-7 days a week and a variety of pain management therapies such as massage and acupuncture are available to guests.  The price tag?  $45-60K per month…or half of that if you have viable insurance coverage.

As I toured the facility I noted the wealthy baby-boomer couples touring the space with an obvious eye towards treating their addicted adult children.  The plastic surgery lips and botoxed faces dined on the free hors d’oeuvr as they listened to promises of a cure.  It appears that some addiction facilities do not just sell treatment…sometimes there is false hope for sale too.  To speak of a cure when referring to addiction, which many of us now know tends to require a lifelong recovery process, seemed like a cruel perpetuation of an idea that money can buy you a solution.  There are some things problems that not even wealth can solve.

I wonder how many of these wealthy parents have received real information about recovery and the appalling failure rates of inpatient detox and care facilities, no matter how appealing their environments appear to be on the surface.  How much more could we learn about how to treat addiction through science if these wealthy parents invested in research?  I wish I could have shared those thoughts with those parents…I wish that there was a possibility that they would listen.  Instead of screaming out how I felt about “curing” addiction with opulence, I drank my coffee, took a stroll, and silently inventoried yet another treatment facility lacking innovation and real hope.