OC Register Exposé Articles
In May of 2017, the OC Register began a series of articles on the issues surrounding Residential Recovery, particularly those affecting Orange County. Their reporting has been accurate and thorough. As their work represents some of the best addressing the tragedies taking place in our cities, we have set aside this space on our website for specific access to their writing:
5/21/17 How some California drug rehab centers exploit addiction
Extensive overage of the issues.
5/23/17 Is there a link between neighborhood rehab programs and petty crime in California?
“'We’re starting to understand it is directly related to the increase in the recovery homes in our city,' said Katrina Foley, Mayor of Costa Mesa,” the city with the second highest density of licensed Recovery Residences.
5/30/17 Rehab brokering is rampant, but it's hard to stop, industry says
The industry admits it is buying and selling addicts for profit.
6/13/17 Federal agents searching Sovereign Health rehab in San Clemente, elsewhere
“The FBI, along with state and local officials, executed multiple sealed search warrants at several Sovereign Health locations on Tuesday, including the company’s offices in San Clemente." On 4/18, Sovereign Health employees staged a protest outside a San Clemente City Council Meeting, posturing that they wanted a repeal of SC zoning out of great concern for their patients.
6/16/17 Addiction Treatment: The New Gold Rush. "It’s Almost Chic."
Investors looking to make a quick buck are exploiting Orange County. Addicts are the victims.
6/23/17 California the Over-Regulator? Not for addiction treatment
Other states have requirements that operators must prove there is local need before opening a rehab.
7/13/17 Hundreds ensnared in Justice Department health-care fraud crackdown on $1.3 billion false billings
"In California, 17 people were charged with scheming to defraud Medicare of $147 million; and two of them were indicted for alleged involvement in a $41.5 million scheme targeting Medicare and a private insurer..."
10/22/17 Are implants for opioid addicts a new hope or a new scam?
"In one of the latest twists on the profit-before-patient mindset so common in the addiction treatment industry, addicts are demanding to be paid for agreeing to get implants, knowing that rehab centers and the doctors who surgically insert the devices can bill insurance providers thousands of dollars per patient..."
12/17/17 Detox can end in death at some “non-medical” Southern California rehabs
12/17/17 Are drug rehab centers fueling homelessness in Southern California?
12/17/17 How a multimillion-dollar empire built around urine drug tests exposes flaws in California’s rehab laws
12/21/17 Cali Rehab Centers Are in Need of Stricter Regulations
12/28/17 Rehab Riviera: Are drugs for drug addict a solution or a crutch?
12/29/17 Rehab Riviera: Industry struggling to get clean
12/29/17 Rehab Riviera: California testing Vermont’s model to fight addiction
1/19/18 Quest for Sobriety Often Ends in Sexual Assault at Some Rehabs in Southern California
1/22/18 Rehab Riviera, Part One
PBS launches reporting on Orange County
1/31/18 Lawmakers resolve to control rogue rehabs this year
Summary of California State Senate Health Hearing. Subsequent actions show no resolve.
2/5/18 California wrote its addiction treatment laws in the 70’s. Lawmakers say an update is in order.
Summary of State Senate Health Committee Hearing at the end of January.
2/5/18 Embattled Sovereign Health closing and consolidating centers
Closing El Paso, TX; Chandler, AZ; and part of Culver City facilities.
3/2/18 Rehab Riviera: Addiction advertising can trick you to death
Online advertising is a game used by rehabs to lure addicts to unscrupulous operators.
3/13/18 DA’s new team probes abuses on OC’s Rehab Riviera
Announcement of Rackauckas’ hotline, task force and pending legislation.
3/27/18 Florida prosecutor Dave Aronberg sees parallels in rogue rehabs in Florida and Southern California
Advocates for Responsible Treatment was instrumental in getting him to meet with local DA’s.
4/6/18 Deaths, financial chaos bring scrutiny to Rehab Riviera recovery industry
Son a notable politician dies; patient hangs himself; business goes bankrupt;
4/20/18 Rehab Riviera: Addiction rehab ads will return to Google, but they’ll be vetted
Right. Believe this when you see Google visiting all the rehabs in person.
4/24/18 Legislators Take Aim at Scams in the Drug Rehab Industry
A review of bills under consideration.
5/25/18 “The 13th Step”: Alcoholics Anonymous wrestles with subculture of sexual predators
Sexual predators take advantage of a system that demands self-reflection.
5/31/18 Congress demands documents related to rehab industry’s “patient brokering” of addicts
Letter sent to eight companies that route addicts to treatment.
6/12/18 Who should pay for the cost to cities of opioid abuse?
Cities and states are suing Purdue Pharma.
7/25/18 Sober Living: Modern family or big business?
Neighbors complain about behaviors at house with 14 tenants.
7/26/18 Sober Living, Day 2: Financial lifeline or neighborhood blight?
Neighbors begin litigating against business operating out of house.
7/27/18 Sober Living, Day 3: Lawsuits pile up; drive couple out of business
Home owner decides to operates house themselves.
7/27/18 Sober Living, Day 4: Lawmakers must force industry to shape up, many say
Review of bills proposed during the election year.
3/7/19 In Orange County - as well as elsewhere - cheap, super-powerful heroin is one internet click away
Important article on drug use in Orange County.
3/11/19 No one is inspecting sober living homes, but bill would require minimum standards if they want funding
Assembly member Daly proposes California adopt standards that would send those in the court system to
treatment covered by private insurance.
4/8/19 First-of-its-kind addiction treatment registry to launch soon in Orange County
May only cover licensed houses on county land.
4/11/19 Arbitrator awards $8.8 million to man, blames Sovereign Health for overdose that led to seizure, brain injury
Young suicidal addict from Maryland was allowed access to pain medications.
4/12/19 Shuttered Sovereign Health resurrected under new name wrongful death suit alleges
What does it take to shut an operator down?
4/12/19 Six Orange County cities add to lawsuits against opioid makers
Maybe the funds should be used to cover lawsuits against rehabs?
5/3/19 Battle-weary Sovereign Health claims boost from state in fierce fight for millions from Health Net
Does an insurer have the right to demand extensive documentation from a fraudster?
How else are we going to keep healthcare fiscally sound?
5/28/19 Driver on trial for suspected DUI crash in Westminster that left a passenger dead
Driver and friend had been kicked out of an Anaheim recovery residence hours before.
6/4/19 Lawmakers vow to push stiffer regulations on addiction treatment in California
Bi-Partisan Legislative Substance Abuse Treatment Working Group formed around various bills.
6/17/19 OC Psychiatrist sentenced to prison for for prescription drug sales scheme
Psychiatrist was also a meth addict.
6/18/19 Orange County Supervisor Says Residents Concerned About Increase in Sober Living Homes
Supervisor Don Wagner is proposing an ordinance modeled after regulations in Costa Mesa.
9/4/19 Addiction treatment bills aim to change troubled industry — but it’s slow in coming
Bills in Sacramento show promise.
9/6/19 Orange County taking steps to crack down on addiction treatment fraud
As the Task Force under Rackauckas languishes, county fires up “registry” of houses.
9/20/19 Orange County, following Costa Mesa’s lead, may regulate sober living homes
Orange County Board of Supervisors to consider zoning regulations.
10/4/19 Phantom fentanyl killed 1649 people in California over 5 years, a number dwarfed by other states
Fentanyl deaths up 1247% in Los Angeles and 564% in Orange County in the same period
10/7/19 Federal agents raid 4 Southern California addiction treatment centers
Only four? Locations in Agoura Hills, North Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Santa Ana.
10/11/19 Rogue rehab facilities need state oversight: Cottie Petrie-Norris
"The simple fact is that our regulatory framework has not caught up to the scope and scale of this crisis.”
10/14/19 California governor signs some addiction treatment reform measures, rejects others
Article includes quotes from the governor and representatives about approaches to the bills and aftermaths.
10/28/19 Public hearing on addiction treatment: What actually works?
11/15/19 If somebody dies, even in drug rehab, shouldn’t it be a potential crime?
YES! Because a business has a contract to maintain sobriety of the client.
11/15/19 Morningside Recovery accused of unlicensed treatment
The company that launched lawsuits against Newport Beach and Costa Mesa and killed at least one person
finally is accused of the fraud that funded all of it.
1/15/20 Body brokering, where addicts are sold as investments, can continue in sober homes, for now
A common sense bill, sponsored by State Sen. Pat Bates, is once again turned down by Sacramento.
1/17/20 Ten teen rehabs have sprouted in OC’s eclectic equestrian corner, Orange Park Acres
Chaos and endangerment when a single operator over concentrates in a residential neighborhood.
1/17/20 5 Arrested in $3.2 million Southern California sober living home fraud scheme
Rehab, Casa Bella, that fought insurance companies for additional payments found to be bilking insurance
1/28/20 County supervisors tighten rules on sober living homes, addiction treatment facilities.
1000 feet of separation is the maximum in California.
1/29/20 Bill forbidding lies in rehab marketing re-introduced in State Senate
Another common-sense bill, introduced by State Sen. Pat Bates, tries to run the gauntlet
2/24/20 Disabled by Addiction? Prove it, federal judge says to recovery home suing Costa Mesa
Home can’t make blanket claim that everyone deserves federal protections.
3/5/20 History of addiction doesn’t automatically mean people are disabled, federal judge rules
Finally, a court that is interested in the facts.
3/12/20 How many body-brokering cases have been prosecuted by the feds under new law?
5/25/20 Addiction rehab centers report small number of coronavirus infections
They don’t report runaways or missing adults;
why would the state expect them to voluntarily report infections?
6/10/20 Costa Mesa’s win against sober living home affirmed by U.S. Court of Appeals
The city can regulate where and how they operate.
6/19/20 5 Charged in $11.7 million Southern California addiction treatment fraud scheme
Fraud scheme included money laundering, kickbacks and patient brokering; 17 separate rehabs involved.
7/3/20 OC district attorney charges surgeon, girlfriend with sober living home insurance fraud (CA)
Surgeon recruited addicts for experimental naltrexone implant surgery
7/26/20 Doctor’s life of luxury built on backs of drug users, prosecutors say
$676 million in billings, $1000 paid to addicts to get implants
9/26/20 Timmy Solomon, a guide through the Rehab Riviera system, dies of overdoes at 31 (OC Reigster)
The worst outcome of the challenge of staying sober.
9/26/20 Rehab Riviera: What has happened since our series? (OC Register)
Not nearly enough. We need representatives to take action.
10/3/20 Costa Mesa addiction treatment CEO faces federal charges (OC Register)
Federal crackdown charges defendants with more than $6 billion in fraudulent claims.
12/5/20 Sober living, addiction treatment conflicts return to California lawmakers’ crosshairs (CA)
Summary of some bills currently rolling out in the California legislature.
2/19/21 California Bill Would Mandate Minimum Insurance Coverage at Rehabs (CA)
Bill would require licensed houses carry commercial insurance, report adverse events to insurance companies.
2/23/21 A movie about drug rehab’s dark side sparks pushback, even as legislators seek sweeping changes (CA)
Behavioral Health Directors issue press release saying movie must say it is “fiction."
5/16/21 Plugging deadly holes in California’s addiction treatment system.
Behavioral health experts propose spending more time and money on prevention, while ignoring
California's current problems with fraud and sham addiction treatment.
5/18/21 From up to 62 years in prison to zero; plea deal raises anger and questions
An unconscionably lenient sentence proves California courts just don't care about addicts,
unless there's the slightest potential for discrimination with no addict involved. Appalling.