How to Find the Best Drug Rehab in Colorado

What is Addiction and How is it Different from Abuse?

It is actually quite common for people to get substance abuse and addiction confused with each other, and it is possible that the difference between these two has never really been explained to you.

The addiction treatment industry is full of frauds, thieves, and conmen. Here’s how you can identify a drug rehab scam, avoid getting ripped off and find the best treatment program for you.

There’s never been a greater need for addiction treatment programs in Colorado. The state has been greatly affected by America’s ongoing opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 536 residents died of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016. The death toll continues to rise each year.

The opioid problem is particularly bad among women. Experts estimate that 6 out of every 100,000 women who live in the state will die of an opioid overdose. If that sounds like a small number, it helps to know that there are more than 5 million women living here. This means that 300 female residents lose their life to opioid addiction each year.
And these stats don’t even account for non-opioid deaths. Hundreds of other women are dying from alcohol, cocaine, meth, and other drugs on a regular basis.

Sadly, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a good rehab program…

As the opioid crisis grows worse, we’ve seen the rise in addiction treatment scams. Some fake “rehab” websites have popped up on the internet. These sites prey on the vulnerability of addicts and their families. Many of the treatment programs that show up in addiction-related Google searches are extremely poor quality. They lure addicts in by paying for ads but aren’t able to give them the treatment they need.

This problem has become so bad that, on September 14, 2017, Google attempted to address it. They began placing restrictions on ads related to addiction treatment. “Prosecutors and health advocates have warned that many online searches are leading addicts to click on ads for rehab centers that are unable to help them or endangering their lives,” writes Michael Corkery in The New York Times.

It’s clear that there’s a need to help addicts find proper treatment. If more addicts get professional help, we may be able to cut down on the overdoses that occur each year.

How to Find the Best Rehab Program for You

“There’s no guarantee that [you or] your loved one will stay sober upon completion, but you want to know that you have the best fighting chance possible.” – Carole Bennett, Psychology Today

No rehab center is one-size-fits-all. Any strong program caters to the needs of a specific type of addict. Some programs are residential. Others are day programs. Some (like Women’s Recovery) are gender-specific while others are co-ed.

“There certainly aren’t any guarantees when it comes to any kind of recovery program,” Carole Bennett writes in her blog for Psychology Today. “But make sure that both you and your loved one do as much due diligence as possible before signing a contract and forking over some hard-earned cash.”

It’s important for addicts to seek help in a rehab center that can meet their needs. An addict who finds a good fit is far more likely to get sober. If you or a family member is thinking about seeking addiction help, here are some things to think about:


Location is often overlooked in considering the value of a program. But, where an addict gets treatment can make all the difference in their recovery.

Denver Women’s Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehab program in Denver, Colorado. We also offer Summit Women’s Recovery in Dillon, Colorado. However, not all of our patients live in the state. Many addicts move away from home for a few months to work on getting sober. If you’re afraid that living near home will present too many risks, you may want to head out of town for a while and return home once you’re clean.

Program length:

Government data shows that the longer an addict gets treatment, the more likely they are to stay sober afterward. If someone is suffering from a severe addiction, they may need several months of treatment before they get better.

Most rehab programs are around 28 days. Many give their patients the option to do another session afterward. It’s crucial, if you need more than four weeks of treatment, that you check into a program that will grant you that opportunity.


Rehab tends to be expensive. Experts estimate that the average addict spends between $1,000 and $5,000 per session on treatment.

Of course, most people can’t afford to pay that much. That’s why treatment centers like Women’s Recovery have established programs to help their clients pay. Most insurance providers will pay for rehab, too. So, if you’re worried about the cost of addiction treatment, it’s important that you find a program that accommodates your budget.

Gender-specific treatment:

Some addicts would prefer to be treated in a gender-specific facility. It’s very common, for example, for women who’ve experienced sexual trauma to seek treatment in a women-only program. There are a lot of female-only rehab programs available for these women.

Rehab can be an intimate experience. You’ll spend a lot of time around the other patients. A successful recovery depends on the addict being as comfortable as possible. So, if you think that a gender-specific treatment program would be most beneficial for you, make sure to pick a program that can provide that.

Use of medications:

It’s common for addiction doctors to prescribe medications to their patients. Some of these medications (Suboxone, Subutex, methadone, etc.) are designed to feed the addict’s cravings while they get sober. These drugs help some addicts to ease into sobriety.

Other addicts prefer to quit cold-turkey. They understand that opioid replacement drugs are addictive. So they prefer to get clean without using them. If you think you’ll need meds to taper off of your drug of choice, you’ll need to attend a program that uses them.

Dual-diagnosis treatment:

Unfortunately, many addicts suffer from more than one condition. Not only do they struggle with addiction disorder, but they may have PTSD, anxiety, depression or eating disorders as well.

When someone suffers from addiction disorder and another mental illness simultaneously, we refer to them as have “co-occurring disorders”. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly 7.9 million adults have co-occurring disorders.

These folks tend to have a harder time getting sober. As a result, they may need special treatment. If you or a loved one is addicted and has a mental illness, make sure to find a program that specializes in treating those conditions.

Type of rehab:

There are a few different types of addiction treatment programs. Some people prefer inpatient rehab. In these programs, the addict lives on-site at the facility while they work toward getting sober.

Other people prefer intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). Those patients attend daily meetings at the facility and return home at night. IOPs work well for mothers, students and other people who need to live off-site. Whether an addict chooses residential treatment or an outpatient program depends on which works better with their lifestyle.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is necessary for many addicts. These programs provide the addict with the time and space they need to get sober and stay that way. When living on-campus at the treatment center, they’ll spend 24 hours a day in a drug-free facility. Oftentimes, this helps them to prepare for life outside of the facility itself.

In an outpatient program, on the other hand, the addict will live offsite and report to the center on a regular basis. This means that they will be responsible for staying sober while outside of the house. These programs are great for drug addicts and alcoholics or have work, school or family responsibilities that need attending.

Many addicts choose to participate in both inpatient and outpatient treatment. They participate in one or more month-long sessions at a residential facility before transitioning into an intensive outpatient program. That way, they’re able to spend a month or so getting clean and receive continued support after they’ve moved out of their rehab center.

Ultimately, there’s no clear answer as to the best type of program. It’s up to the addict, their family, and their doctors to decide which type will work best for them.

Women’s Recovery is an intensive outpatient treatment program in Colorado. We support female patients in their fights with drug addiction and alcoholism.

There are More Rehab Programs than Ever—But is that a Good Thing?

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, more than 23 million Americans older than 12 are suffering from addiction. The opioid problem, in particular, is especially bad. It’s so bad that President Donald Trump and other federal administrators have declared it to be a “national health emergency”.

Sadly, SAMHSA reports that only 2.5 million of these folks get professional treatment for their condition.

“Be mindful that the recovery business is exactly that…a business. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you and your loved one are very clear and in sync with the recovery program being presented.” – Carole Bennett, Psychology Today

It would appear, therefore, that an abundance of treatment centers would be a good thing. But that’s not always the case.

As Dan Munro points out in an article for Forbes, the addiction treatment industry brings in roughly $35 billion each year. As you can imagine, therefore, profit-seekers see the industry as a chance to make money. Not everyone who gets involved with drug rehab has the best intentions. Some of them are just looking to fill their pockets.

Fortunately, there are plenty of rehab programs in Colorado and other states that actually want to treat addicts. We’ve outlined some info below to help you find the best possible treatment for you.

Who’s Allowed to Open a Treatment Center?

There are some laws that regulate addiction treatment programs. These laws are put in place to make sure that addicts receive proper care. To open a drug and alcohol rehab in Colorado, for example, the founders must receive a license from the state’s Department of Human Services. Other states have similar licensing programs in place.

However, the current regulations aren’t strict enough. Only programs that accept public funding (i.e state health insurance) are required to obtain a license. Facilities that take private insurance or make their patients pay out-of-pocket aren’t regulated as closely.

“Colorado officials say they have no idea how many unlicensed rehab facilities exist in Colorado.” – Christopher N. Osher, The Denver Post

In an article for The Denver Post, Christopher N. Osher discusses the sorry conditions of drug rehab regulations. His piece focuses on the case of Christopher Bathum, a rehab founder who was convicted of sexually assaulting his patients.

“Colorado does not require a license for sober-living homes or for substance-abuse treatment families that don’t bill Medicaid or partner with the criminal justice system or administer replacement drugs like methadone,” Osher writes. “Those standards leave a big loophole since rehab operators can choose to bill only private insurers or have people dig into their own pockets for care.”

Bathum, as Osher writes, was caught and tried for his crimes. But many people like him aren’t. When his facility closed down, the patients were let out onto the street. Many of them relapsed soon afterward.

The story is a sad one. However, it shows how important it is for addicts to be careful when pursuing addiction treatment.

Who Can Open a Sober Living Home?

Many addicts choose to live in a sober home after they’ve completed rehab. These homes are exclusive to addicts in recovery. Members are required to stay sober while living there. They’re required to pay rent and usually expected to hold down a job. This is seen as a safe way for addicts to transition back into society while they focus on staying clean.

Sober homes in Colorado are poorly regulated. They’re less of a concern than treatment facilities themselves. Until recently, almost anyone could rent an apartment out and call it a sober living facility.

“Colorado lawmakers are taking a closer look at unregulated sober-living homes after reports of problems in the growing industry,” – Christopher N. Osher, The Denver Post

In another Denver Post article, Christopher N. Osher reports on the efforts of the state government to change that law. The state, he says, are taking steps to regulate sober homes.

“The change would come in the form of an amendment to one of the opioid bills under consideration,” he writes, “[It would] ask the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention to begin drafting a definition for sober-living facilities.”

Ideally, this would ensure the safety of drug addicts and alcoholics. It would make sure that any facility claiming to be a safe place for recovery was one. In many instances, unregulated sober homes turn into “flophouses”—where addicts gather to continue doing drugs. Hopefully, the efforts of Colorado advocates will bring an end to that.

“We want to make sure that if someone operates a recovery residence that they are actually doing what they say they are doing,” Ronnie Fuller, the president of The Colorado Association of Recovery Residences, says in the article. “We want to make sure that they aren’t being unethical. There needs to be oversight.”

“Patient Brokering” is a Serious Issue

The influx of rehab programs has brought in a range of problems. One of the biggest and most serious issues is the rise of “patient brokering”.

Patient brokering is when a rehab facility lures addicts to their program by offering freebies—travel expenses, rent, spas, cigarettes, and even drugs. These freebies entice the addict to choose one program over another.

Addict brokering happens in various ways. Some patients are lured in through online databases and call centers. Websites and phone lines are set up to take calls from addicts and get money from facilities to refer addicts toward their program.

“Recent reports indicate that individuals known as ‘patient brokers’ are treating individuals seeking treatment for their opioid addiction as a commodity, rather than helping them receive legitimate treatment and ultimately achieve recovery.” – U.S House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Other forms of patient brokering are shadier. Some rehab scams lure patients in by hiring “plants” to check into one facility and convince patients to transfer to another program. Oftentimes, the programs doing this are not equipped to actually treat addiction. They simply want to profit off of the addict’s pain and suffering.

The rehab brokering problem is so bad that the U.S Government is taking steps to end it. In the spring of 2018, the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued letters of investigation to eight addiction rehab referral companies.

One Family’s Patient Brokering Horror Story

“With the growing number of drug treatment facilities, many unscrupulous players in the treatment industry are participating in kickback schemes known as patient brokering or ‘body brokering’” – Alice, parent of an addict

The patient brokering situation can sound too evil to be true. Why would anyone want to profit off of addicts in that way? How could anyone take money from a person in pain while knowing that they couldn’t actually provide treatment?

We don’t understand it, either. But reading stories like the one Alice, a parent, wrote for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, give us an insight into how these rehab scams operate.

“My 22-year-old son is a drug addict who has been caught up in the vicious cycle of detox, treatment, and relapsing–all perpetuated by a terrible scheme called ‘patient brokering’,” she writes.

The frauds, she explains, work as “kickback schemes”. In exchange for referring an addict to a rehab program, the referrer is compensated hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. “These brokers troll AA meetings, coffee shops in popular rehab towns and, in my son’s case, detox and rehab facilities,” she explains.

Alice tells the story of how her son, a detox patient, was lured out of his program by a broker. This person paid for their flight from Florida to California and provided the boy with drugs along the way. Since then, her son has transferred programs several times. Each time, he’s been enticed to leave his current program by a broker. “These brokers are preying on people with brain diseases, building false hope and trust, only to set them up for failure,” she says.

Rehab Frauds Exploit Health Insurance Providers

“The sad truth is that once these kids were entwined in this scheme, they quickly become a highly sought-after commodity. It becomes difficult for them to break away from this cycle.” – Alice

Brokers, Alice explains, exploit the addict’s insurance plan to fund their frauds. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance providers must pay for substance abuse treatment. Scammers see addicts with insurance as a lucrative opportunity.

“This benefit has been highly leveraged by unethical treatment facilities opening a floodgate for opportunistic billing practices,” she says.

She describes the outrageous bills her son’s “treatment” generated. “My insurance once copied me on a $20,000 claim for a one-time drug test submitted to my insurance by a lab I had never before,” she writes, “My insurance information was likely passed on or sold just like bank account numbers for purposes of identity theft.”

It’s stories like Alice’s that show us the dangers of bad rehab programs. These tales should be seen as warnings. If you are seeking addiction treatment for yourself, your daughter, your wife or another loved one, make sure to do your due diligence.

How to Find a Good Treatment Program (and Avoid Scams)

Don’t let the frauds scare you away from seeking treatment. There are plenty of professional rehab programs in Colorado and other places that can help you get the help you need.

It’s a shame to see the drug and alcohol rehabilitation industry being exploited. Detox and rehab are valuable resources for drug addicts and alcoholics. Each year, up to 60% of addicts who seek professional help are able to get clean.

As a response to the patient broker crisis, NBC News recently published a guide to finding good addiction treatment. The article aims to help addicts through the overwhelming process of choosing a facility.

According to the authors, there are a few things that addicts or their families should do when shopping around for a program. They suggest:

Watch Out for Referral Companies

They suggest that you steer clear of “generic websites and advertisements that don’t clearly identify what treatment programs the site or advertiser represents. In other words, if it appears that the site doesn’t represent an actual facility, don’t give them any information. Furthermore, if it feels like the site is simply trying to collect phone numbers and emails, run the other way.

Ask About Referral Fees

“Brokers are paid by the head to get you or your loved one into a particular treatment center, whether or not it’s the right one for you,” the authors state. So, you may want to ask whether or not the rep you’re speaking with gets a referral fee. If they’re a real scammer, of course, they may lie. But it never hurts to try and get more info.

Be Wary of “Freebies”

If a rehab program offers to pay for travel, rent or other expenses, they may be trying to lure you in. Usually, facilities that do is are overcompensating for the poor quality of their services. A good program will require you to fund your own travels but will pay you back with solid, professional treatment.

Excessive Lab Fees

Detox centers can charge anything they want for lab tests. As a result, pro-quality facilities try to keep their testing to a minimum. Addiction treatment scams, on the other hand, often profit by conducting more lab tests than necessary. If lab tests are conducted on a daily or bi-daily basis, it’s a sign that they’re in it for the profit.

Pay Attention to Their Questions

Real addiction professionals need a lot of information to provide proper treatment. They’ll ask about the patient’s medical history and mental health background before bringing them into the program. They may even want to speak with the patient’s therapist before taking any money from them. Rehab fraudsters don’t care about any of this because they simply want cash.

Don’t Respond to Unsolicited Ads

Are you getting random calls from rehabs you’ve never heard of? Don’t give them the time of day. A real facility will only contact you if you’ve reached out to them first. Out-of-the-blue phone calls and emails are a sign that someone is giving your information out (and probably being paid if you respond).


Questions to Ask the Representative

When you get on the phone with a rep, you can ask questions to validate their services. This will help you to assess the legitimacy and value of a program.

Here’s a checklist of questions to ask any addiction treatment center:

The lower the patient-to-staff ratio is, the better the program is. A lot of patient-to-staff ratio means that each patient is getting proper attention and support from the center.

Inpatient residents should be able to reach their staff members any time of day. Someone should be in the building to help them if they need it. Outpatient residents may want to have access to staff at any time, as well. That way, they can reach out for help if they’re considering a relapse.

Addiction is a disease. It should be treated as such. Any good detox or rehab program should operate under the guidelines laid out by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Every addict has different needs. They should find a program that they feel comfortable in. Some people may want a gender-specific program. Others may want an LGBT-specific program. If you’re looking for a treatment center with a specific type of culture, ask around until you find one that fits.

Addicts often suffer from multiple mental disorders. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD will affect how the patient’s addiction is treated. Patients should attend programs that are equipped to treat all of their conditions properly.

Centers should give you a rough estimate of the cost-per-session ahead of time. They should also verify your insurance plan. Ask about out-of-pocket fees and other add-ons. That way, you’ll be able to make a sound financial decision.

Addicts need to be comfortable to focus on recovery. It’s important to have a warm bed, decent amenities, and a comfy environment to get sober in. Unfortunately, not all rehab programs provide those things.

Research published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs shows that 71% of women cite living arrangements as their top priority when choosing a treatment center. Make sure to find a program that’s safe, clean, and comfortable. You’ll be happy that you did.

Addiction treatment doesn’t end after rehab. Addicts must work to stay clean every day. For this reason, you may want a program that has an alumni program. You may also want the option to do follow-up visits after your treatment has ended.

Other Ways to Steer Clear of Rehab Frauds

Whether you’re attending drug rehab in Colorado, New York City or Kalamazoo, it’s important to avoid scams. Rehabilitation is a key step in the recovery process. We want to make sure that you’re getting professional treatment and proper support.

Here are a few things you can do to research treatment centers:

Read BBB Reviews and Complaints

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) helps us to hold companies accountable for their practices. Drug and alcohol rehabs are businesses. We should be held accountable like any other company.

On the BBB’s website, you’ll find reviews from people who’ve attended certain rehab programs. All you have to do is type the name of the facility into the search bar. Typically, BBB reviewers leave criticisms when a program has treated them poorly. Searching a rehab center’s name on the BBB website will let you know if they have a bad reputation.

When speaking on the phone with representatives, ask them about their BBB ratings. If their answers don’t align with your own research, they could be trying to scam you.

Scour Yelp and Facebook

Most strong treatment facilities have a Facebook page. They use it to communicate with their alumni and to connect with addicts in need. Alumni use it to share their stories about the program. Oftentimes, you’ll see good and bad reviews on the page. By spending some time on their Facebook profile, you should be able to get a sense of how patients feel about the program.

Similarly, you can use Yelp to research programs. Former addicts leave rehab reviews on Yelp just as they would with restaurants or hotels. You can learn a lot about treatment facilities on Yelp and Facebook.

Watch Out for 3rd-Party Review Sites

There are a number of “rehab review” websites on the internet. Usually, these sites pop up when you Google the terms “drug rehab” or “alcohol rehab”. They feature long lists of treatment centers. They often contain user-submitted reviews of each program.

The problem with these sites is that some of them take payment for reviews. Programs can pay to have their site featured. They can also pay for good reviews. We can’t recommend that anyone chooses a treatment center by browsing these sites.

Go to AA or NA Meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are a great place to research rehabs. These meetings are filled with recovering addicts. Many of the addicts have been through alcohol detox, drug rehab, and other programs. They are eager to help addicts in need find help.

AA and NA are both free. Meetings are held every day. The community is warm and welcoming. It’s not hard to walk into a meeting and introduce yourself. Once you do that, you can ask for rehab recommendations.

Ask Other Trustworthy Addicts

If you’re intimidated by the 12-step programs, don’t worry. There are plenty of places where you can connect with other addicts. If you have any friends or relatives who’ve fought addiction, ask them for advice on rehab. They may know about good programs. If not, they might be able to connect you with someone who does.

Additionally, you may want to seek out recovery groups online. There are forums and Facebook groups where recovering addicts give each other support. The folks in those forums may be able to suggest a good program.

Having trouble finding decent addiction treatment? Give us a call. Our staff members are addiction specialists, recovered addicts, and caring people. We can discuss your needs and help you find the best rehab program for you.

Remember–No Form of Addiction Treatment is a 100% Guarantee

Remember, there’s no definitive cure for addiction. Not yet, at least.

Any program that claims to have 100% recovery results is making deceptive claims.

Current stats show that between 40% and 60% of drug addicts and alcoholics relapse after rehab. It’s a shame, but that’s the case.

Programs like Women’s Recovery work hard to bring those numbers down. We do our best to provide top-notch treatment. We strive to connect addicts with support networks to help them stay sober. We’ve seen many success stories. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen tragedies.

In the future, a medical cure for addiction disorder might exist. In the meantime, though, we must work hard to fight it on our own. We do the best we can to help addicts get (and stay) on the path to sobriety.

Check out our drug addiction guides for more information on getting clean.

Do You Need Treatment for Your Condition?

Sometimes, it’s hard to determine whether a drug or alcohol habit is actually an addiction. If you’re wondering about the status of your habit, take one of our addiction quizzes. We’ll help you get clear answers.

Am I an Alcoholic?
Am I a Drug Addict?
Am I Addicted to Marijuana?
Do I Have a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Do I Need Addiction Treatment?

Are You a Colorado Resident Suffering from Addiction?

“Denver Women’s Recovery is a clinically savvy, trauma integrated care, luxurious environment for women to continue their treatment and create the life they truly deserve.” – DWR Mission Statement

We here at Women’s Recovery want to help you turn your life around. We’ve been lucky enough to see hundreds of women get on the path to a happier, healthier life. If you or a woman you love is currently suffering from an addiction disorder, we’re here to help.

We have two locations in Colorado for your convenience. DWR is an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program in Denver, Colorado. And SWR is our intensive outpatient facility in Dillon, Colorado. Our patients attend daily therapy sessions. They meet with doctors. They do group support meetings with other addicts. We treat all different types of drug addiction.

“The last 90 days at Denver Women’s Recovery have given me an entirely different view on my life.” – Nicole, a 15-year addict

We also treat a number of different co-occurring disorders. Addicts who suffer from PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety, or depression come to us for dual diagnosis treatment. DWR was founded with the intention of helping women who’ve experienced trauma to overcome their past and move toward the future.

We aren’t a residential program. But if you’re in need of a residential treatment program, we’d love to help you find one. We can answer any questions you might have and work with you to locate a safe, supportive program. Please reach out to us if your drug addiction or alcoholism has gotten out on control.