A crackdown on unethical practices throughout the country that take advantage of individuals and families suffering from substance use and mental health disorders in South Florida has brought several unethical and illegal sober living homes, labs and treatment centers to a halt. Although some operators and associates are now in jail or under investigation, there is still work to do. This is a welcomed move in the right direction. At Lifeskills South Florida we have been paying close attention to the recent spotlight placed on the Florida treatment community by the media, and for those seeking help, we are here to provide true, ethical quality care.
However, it’s important to remember many places need to close, but there are still ethical, high quality and true treatment centers offering life changing services. Lifeskills South Florida, a center of excellence, has been providing evidence based best practices to individuals nationally and internationally since 1991.
So, what happened and how did South Florida find itself in this position? Just in this past year, there have been 5,000 overdose calls in Palm Beach County, Florida. In 2016 Palm Beach County had 590 opioid overdose deaths, doubling the number in 2015. Delray Beach paramedics alone have responded to 748 overdose calls this year with 65 of those calls ending in death. Unlike other places throughout the country, many of those who overdose in South Florida are visitors who have descended on the area for addiction treatment and recovery.
According to the recent article in the New York Times, many of these addicts find a system that is flawed with insurance fraud, abuse, minimal oversight, and lax laws instead of true treatment and recovery. The result of this influx in parts of South Florida, such as Palm Beach County, has been the rapid explosion of troubled treatment centers, group homes and sober homes where many addicts fall deeper into addiction.
Many are seeing Florida treatment centers as places of exploitation for those trying to get help. Due to the Affordable Care Act and other federal regulations, individuals now have access to insurance benefits that were not available years ago. As many industries have untoward elements seeking fast or illegal profits, so too has the treatment industry. The predatory criminal element has offered sober-home owners money for referring individuals to their centers for treatment; overbilled insurance companies for unnecessary drug screens and lab tests; offered money to addicts to attend a detox or treatment center, and the list goes on. Now, new Florida legislation was recently passed at the state level to stiffen penalties for patient brokering and fraudulent marketing.
While many view sober homes and treatment centers with skepticism, there are those centers that are providing excellent care with appropriate and evidence-based treatment. There are world class treatment centers which are showing positive results for effective treatment.
How does a family navigate this maze of ethical and unethical treatment centers? The good news is families can differentiate treatment providers just as they may look for a specialist treating some other physical condition such as cancer or diabetes. Here are a few helpful tips families can use:
- How long has the center been in business?
- Are the therapists licensed?
- Do therapists hold “National Certifications” in their area of specialty?
- Does the Center utilize “Evidence-Based Best Practices”? The Federal Government has definitions and lists of EBBP found on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website (SAMHSA).
- Google the leaders and therapists to research their credentials and background
- Ask friends and others for recommendations
- Does the center track clinical outcomes and what are they?
- If appropriate hire an independent interventionist or educational consultant to help your search
Lifeskills South Florida has provided ethical treatment for over 26 years to individuals 18 years of age and older who may be facing challenges with psychiatric disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and co-occurring substance use disorders. Located in Deerfield Beach, Florida, our nationally certified and licensed professional staff provides residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient care and transitional living through a comprehensive clinical program. Individualized treatment uses five distinct tracks: Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Chemical Dependency, Trauma/PTSD, and Cognitive Remediation. We understand the need to meet individuals where they are in their disorder and customize a treatment program that fits their needs. Using a thorough assessment, including genetic processing and family assessments, our physicians and therapists design a program tailored to the needs of the client that complement the core track with secondary supports.
Although lengths of stay typically average 3-4 months, Lifeskills South Florida achieves positive outcomes because we do not put recovery on a timetable. The length of stay is entirely dependent on the unique needs of the individual, complexity of their condition and rate at which progress is made. Clients are challenged to move toward community reintegration and achieve their personal treatment goals.
At Lifeskills, our focus is to prepare individuals with coping and self-care skills for reintegration back into life once out of treatment. Unlike others, Lifeskills uses a holistic approach to treatment, incorporating elements of mindfulness, meditation, certified yoga, and integrated primary care, where individuals are taught nutrition, meal planning, and cooking with a certified nutritionist. Our program goes above and beyond to empower individuals during their recovery. Our clients are encouraged to expand their independent living skills through therapeutic structured outings in the community. Individuals are involved in one of three meaningful life activities – volunteering, seeking employment, or pursuing education. Off-site social supportive communities, such as 12 Steps, Smart Recovery, Emotions Anonymous, Bipolar Support Groups are available to build new supports as individuals move towards independence.
In closing, we would like to reiterate that we understand the negative light shed by unethical treatment centers across the country. However, ethical treatment programs do exist and are helping individuals regain control of their lives daily. Lifeskills South Florida is licensed by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR), Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF), Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA), and is nationally accredited by CARF. Through compassionate and nurturing professionals, we believe individuals can change their lives. Lifeskills provides the tools individuals need for empowerment and sustained long-term recovery.
Lifeskills South Florida is one of the most reputable drug rehabs in the Fort Lauderdale area and can help you or your loved one get your life back on track. To learn more about our accredited residential and outpatient treatment programs, please contact us.