In the midst of an American drug epidemic, low-cost drug treatment has been in high demand, and across the United States, treatment facilities are offering clients a simple solution: check into rehab and work a job to pay for your treatment.
The result has been a national trend called work-based rehab, often celebrated by drug court judges seeking a cheaper way to send people to treatment instead of prison.
But there’s a catch: the jobs for private companies that clients work are unpaid, the workplaces are often dangerous, and the labour practices that underpin the entire system could well be illegal.
In Recovering from Rehab, Fault Lines and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting investigate The Cenikor Foundation, one of the nation’s largest and most lucrative work-based rehab programmes.
Cenikor’s residential rehab facilities in Texas and Louisiana have partnered with more than 300 companies in the past five years, sending thousands of clients to work inside the oil and gas, warehouse, manufacturing, and construction industries – a practice that has garnered about $36m.
Drawing on the accounts of former staff who blew the whistle on this practice, we tell the stories of four men who were promised a chance at recovery from drug addiction – and are now recovering from rehab instead.
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