What is Private Pay Drug Rehab?

What is Private Pay Drug Rehab vs. Government Funded?

In the United States and Canada many company and government medical insurance plans cover addiction treatment for alcohol and other drugs of abuse. For those people who otherwise cannot afford to get help for their addiction, the option of subsidized help can be life saving. But is it the right choice for you or your loved one?  Click here for more info on publicly funded alcohol and drug treatment.

Referral Fees

private-pay-drug-rehabIf you are talking with your doctor or Employee Assistance Program about your addiction, you will most likely be funneled into the one- size- fits- all North American Drug Addiction Treatment Industry Machine. Even more so with the advent of Obama Care, the addiction treatment industry in North America is primed, well oiled, and ready to accept you. You are the product, and treatment centers are ready to pay a high price for your admission. In some cases, the referral cost of your treatment is higher than the full cost of an International private pay drug rehab. There is a strong code of ethics around referral fees, but this is often overlooked by many in the field. Learn more about referral fee ethics.


Typical North American treatment centers paid for by the state or large insurance companies are 28 days.  The first week of this 28 day program will be for detox – whether you need detoxifying or not. Many people do not need a medical detox, but due to legal liability issues, most funded treatment facilities will insist and impose upon every individual an expensive 7 day detoxification process. This leaves just 3 weeks left for treatment and the last week of treatment is usually about getting ready to go home. You can see that leaves only 2 weeks for the heart of the matter – you and your individual needs. At private pay drug rehab, you are not molded to fit the needs of the treatment center.

Justice System

Many state-run and insurance fed alcohol drug treatment rehabs are filled with persons coming from the justice system. For those who have run afoul of the law, the choice between drug rehab or jail can be an easy decision. But it means that often people are not in rehab because they want to be. If you are trying to have treatment with people who are not serious about recovery, you are at risk. These people are threatening to your life of sobriety.  Treatment should be an uplifting and supportive environment, not one filled with toxic behaviors, or worse, filled with the addictive substances themselves.  Treatment centers that are private pay drug rehabs are not obligated to accept anyone into their facility that doesn’t want treatment. In fact, private pay drug rehabs can ask people to leave if they are jeopardizing the recovery of the others by their negative attitudes.

Drugs in Rehab

In British Columbia, Canada, for example, the Harm Reduction Model means that if people are caught using drugs while in government funded treatment, they are not forced to leave. Imagine being 4 to a bedroom with other people who are doing drugs! This is not treatment. This is treatment nightmare.  There are a number of stories of people trying new drugs while in treatment, and going home with a new addiction. In many rehabs it is a game between trying to beat urine tests and suitcase searches. In many private pay drug rehabs, guests are treated with respect and dignity.  With the individual care each person gets, there is no need for random invasive procedures looking to get someone “kicked out”.

Nicotine Addiction

Most treatment facilities in the United States and Canada allow, and even encourage, their smoking clients to remain actively addicted to nicotine. There is a very good reason for this, but probably not the reason you think. The decision made by most addiction treatment centers to allow smoking is purely financially motivated. It is a very well documented fact now that people who continue to remain in active addiction to nicotine have much greater relapse rates than those who are abstinent from all addictive drugs. Nicotine addiction kills more people worldwide than ALL other addictive drugs combined, even including motor vehicle accidents, homicides and suicides related to substance abuse.  The well-oiled North American Treatment Industry does not want to lose customers who refuse to put down nicotine.  If you are a current tobacco user, there is no better time or place to face your nicotine addiction than while in the supportive environment of drug rehab. This is nearly impossible if your treatment facility allows smoking. Click to learn more about nicotine addiction treatment.

Wait Times

Almost all government funded and insurance coverage based drug rehabs have long wait times. They are often a revolving door for people who relapse and repeat, relapse and repeat, creating an environment that is not completely serious about recovery, but rather one of people well experienced in using the system. Most private pay drug rehabs are smaller, with a discerning population. This means that there is almost always a bed available within days.


If you go to a state run facility, or choose treatment through your Doctor or Employee Assistance Program, make no mistake about it, there will be a record of you going to rehab. This piece of information recorded in your “file”, may come back to haunt you. You don’t need too much imagination to see how this could be detrimental to you and your reputation. This is especially true for older teenagers or young adults, who’s early mistakes may seriously impact future opportunities.

Why Choose an Out-of-the-Country Private Pay Drug Rehab?

Choosing a private pay drug rehab facility like Serenity Vista means that you get excellent value for your money. Treatment costs in Panama are very low.  Owned and operated by Canadians, all of the facilitators at Serenity Vista are American or Canadian expats now living in Panama. The cost of a 90 day program is often lower than the standard 28 or 30 day program in North America. No one needs to know why you have come to Panama. Some of our guests say they are at a Wellness Retreat, or just having a well deserved holiday.  There is no paper trail linking you to a substance abuse recovery facility.

People that choose to come to a facility like Serenity Vista are serious about their recovery, just like you. They are discerning and want the best and most effective treatment available. Treatment at Serenity Vista is holistic, addressing body, mind and spirit.  There are excellent counselors who know how to get to those places that are keeping you sick. There are creative outlets like sculpture and painting. Yoga, massage, hammock time, and amazing culinary delights balance the hard work of recovery. And Ceiba, our chocolate Labrador retriever dog is always ready to play or exchange a cuddle.

Chances are really good that you do not belong in a publicly funded treatment facility. But there is a place for you in the mountain highlands and the Pacific Coast of Panama.  You know what value and quality mean. We are ready to help you at Serenity Vista Addiction Recovery Rehab.

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