Just bc they take food stamps doesn’t make them cheapDrug Treatment Centers
You’ve hear the expression, just bc you can buy it at Walmart doesn’t make it cheap. Same goes for rehab, or treatment, as they call it here. Addiction very often involves taking a metaphorical flame thrower to your finances, so many addicts have nothing. On day 1 of sobriety, It’s common to be as broke as you were as a high school grad, just starting out in the working world. And even if you weren’t destiTunes, it’s likely the family has money and not the person with the addiction. The very first thing to get squared away is getting the addict on welfare with the accompanying insurance through Medicaid. That’s where the big money is. The state will pay for six months in patient treatment and that’s how programs determine your length of stay. But programs don’t stop there. They also take each persons financial benefits (if you’re in drug treatment your disability is covered by welfare bc the money didn’t go to the addict. Finally, the addict signs over all of the food stamps to the program, which Is Loophole in the law because food stamps are supposed to be for the sole use of the beneficiary. Very few people in Hawaii, with its high cost of living and low salaries in very few industries could afford to pay for treatment out of pocket.
I never thought I would be on welfare
The first time I went to treatment I asked if I should maintain my cleaning service, as in maybe I could have the lady come to clean my room at the program. I remember the administrator looking at me with a mixture of surprise, pity, and irritation. “You’re going to be on welfare. You won’t be able to afford a cleaning service.” I had no idea welfare was a requirement.
The drug treatment system perpetuates poverty in Hawaii
Hawaii, like the mainland United States, has a serious drug problem except the main dug of choice, as they tell us to sat, is crystal meth. Ice, is what they call it here. It’s very popular among the locals, or people who call Hawaii home because they were born in Hawaii have been here a long time. Local is also another way to say brown skinned, Polynesian, although no one is really one ethnicity but a mix. Anyway, many of the people doing ice are local. They have just about the worst public schools in the country. Many people start doing ice at a young age and already impoverished, and undereducated, through no fault of their own. Eventually many users get caught because once you lose your place you’re out in public where you can be seen using. Or they break the law to support their habit. I am not saying addicts are not responsible for breaking the law, I am just saying what happens in the life cycle of the addict. People go to treatment most often after getting a “nudge from the judge.” Go to treatment or go to jail.
Drug Treatment gets people more enmeshed in drugs and poverty
There in treatment, they stagnate financially, maintaining that $0 balance. No paying job, the little money they get all goes to the program, every dime, along with the insurance money.All of the programs put the residents to work maintaining the program, in the kitchen or light janitorial work. Unpaid. If they are successful they end up being hired by the program. Low paid. Programs get around the minimum wage requirement by giving “stipends” not paying salary. The recovering addict, if he does everything right, still qualifies for welfare. One two and a half year program that works its residents within its for two out of two and a half years, graduates success stories who have saved all of $300 after 24 months of labor. This program raked in tens of thousands from the insurance, welfare, food stamps, and unpaid labor. None of this money ever went into a trust for residents, for post graduate expenses.
Graduates of drug treatment have little choice but to stay within the ranks of the poor since poor is what they are. The recommended course immediately upon graduation by moving into “clean and sober houses.”
Putting the “high” in high risk
When you add grinding poverty with the knowledge that there’s a sure way to make lots of money quickly you get a recipe for relapse. I always wonder if people can demonstrate systemic inequities. This brief look at how treatment programs in Hawaii shows how people are made to apply for welfare (that’s where the hefty insurance money is), and that application from a treatment center is automated approved. This automatic approval is a government subsidy in addition to any other funding from health and human services. Treatment keeps them on welfare while the residents work for the program. We see a system set up to profit treatment centers if there is a steady stream of addicted people mandated to go into programs. These drug treatment programs have no proven efficacy beyond a few individuals who tell their stories. Any medical treatment with a relapse rate over 90% would not be embraced. So what’s the answer Caroleena? I have a few ideas to help people financially transition to a regular life.