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‘American Rehab’ And The Dark History of Rehabilitative Treatment

Courtesy of American Rehab.
Courtesy of American Rehab.

Across the nation, drug overdoses have spiked since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. While some states like Kentucky have worked for years to see a decrease in overdose deaths, experts say the pandemic has brought on a monthly increase to fatal and non-fatal overdoses since its outset. Although it could be months until more data is available, officials believe the increase in overdoses are a result of social isolation, economic turmoil, and a global disruption to the drug trade due to COVID-19.

But anew podcast explores rehabilitation facilities that exploit those who are seeking help. “American Rehab” by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, is a serial investigation three years in the making. It examines a system that exploits the vulnerable through a form of indentured servitude — sometimes with no counseling at all — and has roots in a bizarre cult from the 1950s.

We talk with the producers, reporters and a person who experienced one of these rehab facilities about how they use attendees for unpaid labor. 

 Watch the trailer for the series.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven