There was a recent article in the New York Times on the proliferation of rehabs in the tony beach community of Malibu. Apparently some of the neighbors object.

I’ve visited a couple of those programs, and the accommodations are truly impressive. I felt a bit like the kid who gets taken to the jail on a ‘scared-straight’ visit and comes away thinking, “hey, that’s nicer than our apartment.”

No, it doesn’t feel like rehab, but then, I guess that’s the point. They’re appealing to a market that requires luxury and doesn’t mind overspending to get it. I mean, if you’ve already got a Lamborghini and a Ferrari sitting unused in the garage, what’s a measly $80K for treatment?

So let me go on record as saying I have no objection to that end of the business. I just wonder how it came to be the media ‘face’ of treatment.

Those programs are deliberately small, exclusive, customized to the individual. What does a place like that have in common with a big-city program filled with homeless addicts who have multiple social problems and co-occurring disorders and perhaps haven’t held a job in decades? Answer: not much. They might as well occupy different planets.

Doesn’t mean treating the famous is easy. I have no desire at all to work with celebrities. I’m generalizing shamelessly, but my experience is they live in a bubble and have little inclination for direct in-person contact with reality. And their enablers are on salary.

They’re all yours, Dr. Drew.

On the other hand, some of the underpaid, undertrained staff in underfunded programs are working minor miracles on a daily basis. Why aren’t we reading more about them?

I guess they’re just not pretty enough.