American Addiction Centers Goes Public
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American Addiction Centers (AAC) has been privately helping addicts come clean since 2011, but recently the company was brought public and is now growing faster than ever.
Based in Brentwood, Tenn., and run by Michael Cartwright, a former drug addict and alcoholic who has been clean and sober for 23 years, American Addiction Centers treats nearly 5,000 patients annually. AAC has been met with continued success and last October the establishment set a precedence when they became the first privately owned addiction treatment center to go public.
The upscale facilities provide a comfortable environment for the patients at a cost of $800 per day, approximately 90% of which is covered by insurance providers. Cartwright argues that although most insurance companies only allow for a maximum of 30 days of treatment, 90 days is far more effective and in the long run actually costs less money.
“We were involved in 15 different federally funded research studies, and the common theme that we kept coming back to, over and over and over, is that the best predictor of outcome is length of stay,” said Cartwright. “Look, I personally think it’s more important that you get longer-term treatment than it is you come to me.”
Many, like 28-year-old Jeremiah Jackson, have found solace in AAC and were finally able to beat their addiction. Jeremiah was addicted to heroin and lost a great deal of his personal life to the drug. Jackson’s mother reached out to AAC for help, passing along her son’s information. In return, AAC repeatedly called Jackson, letting him know they were there to help him. After dozens of “no's,” Jackson finally said “yes.”
“I woke up on one of those green electrical boxes, and there were all these ambulances and police cars,” Jackson recalls of his near-death heroin overdose. “They’d responded to reports of someone screaming. I guess it was me. I had no idea how I got there…All I had on were my boxers and my shoes. The rest of my stuff was strewn across the parking lot. I was white as a ghost and freezing.”
Several days later Jackson boarded a plane to Dallas and was met at the airport by an AAC representative.
Cartwright hopes all AAC patients remain clean once they reenter the real world, but is so confident in the effectiveness of the program that he says any patient who relapses after spending 90 days or more in their centers can return for free.
“If they go out and tell 10 other people, ‘Hey, if you need help, that’s where you go,’ that’s great all around,” said Cartwright.