Can Lindsay Lohan get a refund for her drug rehab?

Answers to your questions about the news.
July 24 2007 4:11 PM

Blown Rehab

Can Lindsay Lohan get a refund because of her relapse?

Lindsay Lohan. Click image to expand.
Lohan after her latest DUI arrest

Lindsay Lohan was arrested for cocaine possession and driving under the influence early this morning after failing a field sobriety test in Santa Monica. The 21-year-old actress has been in rehab twice this year; two weeks ago, she finished up a lengthy stay at the Promises Malibu Alcohol and Drug Rehab Treatment Facility. The swanky rehab center costs almost $50,000 for 30 days. Can Lindsay get a refund since the rehab didn't work?

Advertisement

Nope. Rehab centers don't issue a money-back guarantee that they will cure you of your alcohol or drug addiction. (Click here to see the "no refund" clause in Courtney Love's contract with the Beau Monde Recovery Retreat program.) Some may issue refunds under certain very specific conditions—if you leave within 24 hours of arriving, for example, or if they kick you out. But there's no such thing as a "sober for a year or your money back" guarantee—at least not at a reputable clinic.

It would be financially disastrous and ethically wrong for rehab centers to make such an offer, because treatment success rates are very low. Addiction experts think the 30 percent success rate claimed by some programs (let alone the 84 percent rate trumpeted by the ultraexpensive Passages Malibu) is overly optimistic. In fact, up to 80 percent of people who seek treatment for drug or alcohol abuse will eventually relapse, many of them soon after exiting treatment, like Lohan.

Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer.

Explainer thanks Dave Loiterstein of Passages Malibu and Sal Petrucci of Renaissance Malibu.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 11:25 AM Naomi Klein Is Wrong Multinational corporations are doing more than governments to halt climate change.
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 AM Thomas Jefferson's 1769 Newspaper Ad Seeking a Fugitive Slave 
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 11:38 AM Tim & Eric Brought Their Twisted Minds—and Jeff Goldblum—to This Bizarre Light Bulb Ad
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.