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?

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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. 

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