All work and no pay: From rehab to servitude

REVEAL NEWS / Center for Investigative Reporting

For years, North Carolina officials looked the other way while a rogue drug rehab program exploited people struggling with addiction and put disabled patients at risk.

Recovery Connections Community, a two-year rehab program near Asheville, sent participants to work as unpaid caregivers at adult care homes throughout the state. Participants got little addiction help, but were ordered to work 16-hour days caring for elderly and disabled patients, often with disastrous results.

Jennifer Warren has spent years recruiting the poor and desperate to her drug rehabilitation program in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina.

She promised them counseling and recovery for free. When they arrived, she put them to work 16 hours a day for no pay at adult care homes for the elderly and disabled.

Thrust into the homes with little training or sleep, the rehab participants changed diapers, bathed patients and sometimes dispensed the same prescription drugs that sent them spiraling into addiction in the first place.

For some, the temptation proved too great. They snorted prescription pain pills, swallowed droplets of morphine from used medical syringes and peeled fentanyl pain patches off patients and sucked them to get high.

Then there were the allegations of assault. At least seven participants from Warren’s program, Recovery Connections Community, have been accused of sexual misconduct or assault of patients at the homes. Former participants and workers said no one reported the incidents to social services, as required by law. The accused continued working or were simply transferred to another care home.

“There’s a whole lot in the program that’s covered up,” said Charles Polk, who completed Warren’s program in 2017 for alcohol addiction. “The only thing she thinks about is the money.”

Full story  here.

May 25th, 2018 by
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