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How to Find a Quality Rehab Center Near You (& Avoid Fake Businesses)

Written by Melissa Carmona

& Medically Reviewed by Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN

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Last Updated - 03/10/2022

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Updated 03/10/2022

Recovery from addiction is an important life decision, so it’s vital to avoid scams and put yourself or your loved one in dependable hands you trust.

Finding a rehab center can seem daunting. The sheer number of options, price points, success rates, quality of care, staff qualifications and locations found on the internet can easily overwhelm someone looking for rehab care.

To make the situation even more confusing, many companies in the rehabilitation industry try to profit off of vulnerable people. Companies may appear legitimate but lack accreditation or experienced professionals to provide evidence-based care. Some are outright scams.

Recovery from addiction is an important life decision, so it’s vital to put yourself or your loved one in dependable hands you trust. This overview covers what to look for to find dependable drug treatment centers.

The Problem With Internet Searches & the Substance Abuse Industry

A recent special report on fake addiction treatment centers showed that of the top 20 online searches through Google for the term “alcohol detox,” only eight results were legitimate businesses and twelve were fake. This problem is not unique to the substance abuse industry; other businesses, such as locksmiths, have been found to have high amounts of fraudulent listings.

Gaps Between Google Maps Listings And Reality

Creating a listing for a business on Google Maps is not difficult and only requires a basic understanding of Google’s business resources. Someone setting up a false business listing can do so easily without having to undergo any kind of thorough review.

In the world of addiction rehab businesses, many fake businesses exist to take people’s information and sell it to real addiction facilities. These businesses are more likely to give your information to rehab centers that struggle to find patients using legitimate means, making people less likely to get the help they need. These fake businesses essentially exist to make money off of people who truly need help while failing to actually provide them with evidence-based care.

The Importance of Finding Quality Addiction Treatment

While there are many fake or unreliable addiction treatment facilities, finding a quality addiction treatment center is essential for those who need one. Real, high-quality addiction treatment centers offer several key features, including:

Quality care

Addiction treatment is a science based on medical research. High-quality addiction treatment centers will provide evidence-based care that actually works and has been proven to work, instead of using unproven techniques as an illegitimate business might.

Licensed counselors

Quality addiction treatment centers have high standards for their staff and will only use licensed counselors and healthcare professionals. Low-quality or illegitimate businesses will focus on making money. They will try to cut costs by using people who do not have the education or qualifications needed to provide effective treatment.

Recovery resources

A high-quality addiction treatment center will be part of a large and robust network and have access to a wide variety of recovery resources. This helps patients have access to a variety of effective treatment options and allows for follow-up care and support. More scammy types of rehab centers will often be stand-alone as they cannot network with legitimate businesses. This makes the recovery resources they can offer highly limited.

Justification of expense

Rehab can be costly. This is why fake or low-quality businesses are so prevalent in this field. If you or your insurance is going to pay the money needed for rehab, these funds should be used to get the highest quality care possible. By pursuing treatment at a high-quality rehab center, you will get the best value for your investment and have the best chance of making a full and effective recovery.

Real or fake, addiction treatment businesses will portray themselves in the best possible light in their marketing. Take time to do your research, and use the next section to determine who to trust with your care.

How to Find a Quality Drug Rehab

Many drug rehab centers look good online. Anyone can make a flashy website with some convincing quotes and good-looking pictures. Digging deeper, though, is often necessary. Finding information from third parties is essential. Sources that do not stand to make money off of your choice of addiction treatment center will be the most unbiased forms of information.

According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is a government organization, there are five things that you should consider when looking for a high-quality rehab center. These include:

The SAMHSA offers a treatment center locator that only identifies reputable treatment centers. As a government organization, SAMHSA is an independent third-party that does not benefit financially from providing listings.

Trusted Referrals

One great way to find quality rehab centers is to speak with someone who has actually been to one. The first-hand experiences of someone who has been to a particular rehab are best. You may also know someone with second-hand knowledge of reputable treatment centers, like a health care provider or community leader. Getting a referral from someone you trust is a great way to find a good rehab center.

Reputable Directories

The SAMHSA treatment center locator tool is a great way to find reputable treatment centers that meet the more strict criteria needed to appear in this directory. The Florida Department of Children and Families (the state licensing body for addiction treatment services) also offers resources to find a trustworthy treatment center.

Google Searches (With Caution)

Google searches, while prone to scams, can be a good source of information. It’s important to double and triple-check any information that you find. For example, a rehab center should be accredited. If a rehab center claims to be accredited, first make sure that the accreditation center is reputable, then check for that rehab center on the accrediting organization’s website to ensure the accreditation is valid.

Some Google search terms that you can use to get started include:

  • Detox Near Me
  • Alcohol Treatment Centers Near Me
  • Rehab Near Me
  • Drug Rehab Near Me
  • Addiction Help
  • Alcohol Detox
  • Drug Detox

It can help to have multiple tabs open: one with your Google search, one or more accrediting bodies, and one or more government locators that you can cross-reference.

We are here when you are ready.

Speak with a Recovery Advocate today to talk about your treatment options.

Tips for Drug Addiction Help Through Online Searches

A legitimate addiction treatment center will have certain checkboxes marked. You can follow these strategies to find quality drug addiction help online:

  • Start with a basic search of the services you need (detox, inpatient rehab, etc.).
  • Look at online reviews, preferably from third parties.
  • Confirm that the name of the company on Google Maps matches the facility’s website.
  • Look at the staff listed on the website and search their backgrounds. You can verify medical licenses through the state’s licensing board for medicine, nursing and behavioral health professionals.
  • Check to see if the company is active on social networks. Real companies have large marketing teams that are active in these forums.

How to Spot a “Fake” or Spam Drug Treatment Facility

There are several red flags that you should watch out for when you are searching for addiction treatment centers online. Some of these include:

  • Stock photos, photos that do not actually include the location of the rehab center, or ones that do not match the satellite feeds on Google maps
  • Mismatched names on Google maps and company websites
  • No websites or websites that seem odd, such as sites.google websites or Weebly websites
  • All five-star reviews without any complaints
  • A facility that calls you back that is different from the initial facility you called

These red flags can indicate a problem, but the biggest red flag should be a bad feeling that you can’t put your finger on. If something doesn’t feel right, even if you can’t tell what it is, the odds are something is wrong. Go with your gut, and avoid facilities that seem off.

The Recovery Village Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities

The Recovery Village is an accredited network of high-quality rehab centers across the nation. We are part of Advanced Recovery Systems, an integrated behavioral health care management company dedicated to the treatment of addiction, substance abuse and mental health disorders. You can learn more about our history and our journey as leaders in the field of addiction recovery through our about us page.

While we could tell you more about us, we encourage you to follow the techniques we have recommended here. Visit our Facebook page and see how many people follow us. Look at our accreditations and background and verify them through third-parties. By using these types of techniques, you will be able to find addiction treatment services from reputable places.

The Recovery Village at Baptist Health is accredited by the Joint Commission and licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Located in Lake Worth, Florida, we proudly serve the South Florida community with evidence-based care led by professional addiction specialists. Contact our helpful representatives to answer your questions about treatment and services so you can start the road to lifelong recovery.

View Sources

Claburn, Thomas. “‘Google cannot stop it, control it or curtail it…’ Inside the murky world of fake addiction treatment center search spam.” The Register. July 2, 2020. Accessed November 5, 2020.

Revell, Timothy. “Thousands of fake companies added to Google Maps every month.” New Scientist Ltd. April 7, 2017. Accessed November 5, 2020.

Mark, Tami; Dowd, William; & Council, Carol. “Tracking the Quality of Addiction Treatment Over Time and Across States: Using the Federal Government’s “Signs” of Higher Quality.” Research Triangle Park. July 2020. Accessed November 5, 2020.

Herron, Anne. “Struggling with Addiction? Tips on Finding Quality Treatment.” SAMHSA. January 23, 2019. Accessed November 5, 2020.

SAMHSA. “Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.” 2020. Accessed November 5, 2020.