American Addiction Centers Upgrades Recovery Community Websites

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American Addiction Centers Upgrades Recovery Community Websites

By The Fix staff 08/22/18

The enhancements on recovery.org and rehabs.com include logo rebranding and the addition of consumer resource guides on how to identify legitimate treatment providers.

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A group of people sit in a circle with one woman separate and facing the camera; group therapy
"AAC will do everything it can to raise the quality of addiction treatment.”

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – American Addiction Centers (“AAC”), a leading operator of addiction treatment facilities across the United States, today announced rebranding and content enhancements to its recovery community websites, including recovery.org, rehabs.com, projectknow.com and drugabuse.com.

The website upgrades include website logo and page redesigns that further highlight AAC’s primary business of operating treatment facilities across the United States, in addition to its websites for those seeking treatment. The websites contain contact information for hundreds of treatment centers across the country, in addition to contacts for AAC’s facilities.

“Most treatment providers do their very best to help those struggling with alcoholism and the disease of addiction,” said Michael Cartwright, AAC’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “At the same time, there’s some concern about exploitation of those seeking recovery. Our recovery community websites, including the new upgrades, are meant to help people navigate all of the treatment options available to them and to choose a treatment center with confidence.”

Cartwright last month testified before members of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee about online marketing practices in the addiction treatment industry. He said that feedback from members of Congress, as well as peer treatment centers, helped AAC’s digital marketing team develop ways to make the websites more helpful.

“We already stated on our websites that AAC owns and operates the helpline number for its treatment facilities, and that other options could be found by browsing our directories,” Cartwright said. “But based on feedback we got, we made these changes because it’s our responsibility to try to set a standard of transparency and usefulness.”

“I’m glad that Congress and state governments are paying attention to the addiction treatment industry,” Cartwright added. “AAC will do everything it can to raise the quality of addiction treatment.”

The website changes include the addition of AAC logos and trademarks, enhanced “About Us” content, as well as consumers guides meant to help those looking for treatment identify high-quality providers and be aware of warning signs of potential bad actors.

Tom Doub, AAC’s Chief Clinical Officer & Chief Compliance Officer, said that some critics of AAC had mistakenly stated that its online marketing practices were similar to those of “call center aggregators” that have misdirected calls from those seeking help to misleading call centers.

“There are certainly some bad online actors like that,” Doub said. “But AAC isn’t one of them. We’ve actually had our own phone numbers hijacked and have had to try to chase down the offenders. We were glad to give Congress our presentation on these kinds of practices. And we’re glad to hear any feedback on our websites because we want people seeking treatment to have the best possible experience. The process of choosing a treatment center can be overwhelming. Our websites provide a way for the whole addiction treatment industry to help make this process easier.”

AAC’s recovery community websites offer original news relating to many facets of substance use, mental health and behavioral disorders. The websites also contain verified reviews of specific treatment centers written by people who received care there. AAC uses well-known psychiatrists and addiction experts to help write and review the news on its websites.

AAC also works with treatment centers from across the country to place listings in its online directories free of charge and also allows competitors to advertise on its websites. AAC’s advertisers must have already been listed in the online directory operated by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) at SAMHSA.gov.

“Our treatment directories are open access and we enjoy the relationships we have with centers across the country,” Cartwright said. “A lot of other centers don’t have very big marketing budgets and we’re more than happy to give them a platform to connect with people who need help.”

Cartwright noted that online search engines and advertising platforms have begun to institute certification processes to help stop rogue treatment providers from misleading patients. “The vetting being done by these platforms is a good thing, but the conversation about online marketing in our industry has gotten a little confused,” he said. “It’s not an inherently bad thing for treatment centers to be able to place online ads and try to generate phone calls with online marketing. It just has to be done in a way, where the person who is seeking recovery isn’t misled or lured in by unrealistic promises.”

“Unfortunately, the majority of people who need treatment never receive it,” Cartwright said. “But the research shows that treatment works. Those who follow a sound treatment plan stay clean and sober and can rejuvenate their lives.”

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