Brokering the Broken

March 4, 2018 by  

Opioid addiction, over-prescribing, drug treatment, diversion, doctor shopping, substance-addicted newborns, disruptive sober living homes.  These are all part of the discussion around addiction and recovery.  What’s finally also getting attention is the unthinkable harm “body brokers” pose to those in recovery.  SB 1451 is aimed at stopping them by imposing stiff criminal penalties and fines.

What is a “body”or a “client broker”?  

It is use of a human being as a source of income. At its core, it is no different than prostitution – bought and paid for by drugs, cash and insurance money. The client broker is the pimp, the client is the unwitting prostitute. Although it doesn’t always include actual prostitution or human trafficking –  it can and often does that, too. Here’s how it can work:

Client brokers, paid by unscrupulous treatment programs, will send an individual to a treatment center, and have him/her stay for two weeks. After the two weeks, the broker will lure the client out of the treatment center with cash or drugs incentives – because usually at the two week mark the broker receives their payment.  They will put the recovering addict up in a hotel, feed them drugs, and then find another facility who will pay for the client. This creates a cycle of revenue for the broker. However, it directly jeopardizes the client’s life. Too many times the individual is overdosing and dying before he is sold off to another treatment center.

They often scout out susceptible clients at their 12 step programs.

The problem is widespread in our state.  In fact, last year the State of Massachusetts issued a Consumer Warning in which they warned their residents of the many Arizona treatment centers that were scams.  The State of Florida passed laws banning patient brokering two years ago and now those  unscrupulous treatment providers are moving to Arizona to open facilities here and continue their unethical practices. Arizona must pass laws that will stem the tide as did Florida and New York.

Read the Arizona Republic piece about SB 1451, “3 bills target drug rehab industry abuses”. 






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