Cohen Milstein is investigating wage theft in drug and alcohol rehab programs. Please complete the form below or contact us directly to learn more.

“Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs Promise Recovery Through Work – but Deliver Slave Labor,” NBC News THINK

By D. Michael Hancock, former assistant administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, and Joseph M. Sellers, partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll

Addiction and substance abuse are destroying lives, communities and families all across America. The skyrocketing levels of addiction to opiates, alcohol and other substances make it critically important that effective treatment programs are available for those in need. Respect and dignity for those struggling to fight a nasty disease will be essential to save lives and reduce the number of families torn apart.

. . .

Evidence-based studies of therapeutic communities demonstrate that work can be an important part of a holistic treatment program when tailored to a person's skills and aptitude. Such work tends to build on existing strengths and reinforce the value of the individual. However, some research argues that it is not the work itself that provides effective treatment but rather accountability in the form of drug and alcohol testing and paid work. One prominent researcher is quoted as saying: "I'm not sure that it's right to say that work is a powerful incentive. Paid work is a powerful incentive. It's probably the money that's the most important thing."

But many of the workers in these rehab programs are not receiving pay. By not paying recovering drug and alcohol abusers, these programs do not provide the most effective approach to healing patients. Moreover, such arrangements are wrong — and illegal.

Read more at NBC News THINK.

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Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting has reported extensively on the issue of wage theft in rehab programs on its podcast American Rehab and in numerous articles, including:

In addition, Members of Congress have asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to investigate the exploitation of rehab participants.

The attorneys investigating this matter are D. Michael Hancock (only admitted in the District of Columbia and Illinois) and Aniko Schwarcz (admitted only in the District of Columbia and Maryland).

In addition to completing the contact form above, please also feel free to contact us with any additional questions.

Contact Information
Aniko Schwarcz, Director of Civil Rights and Employment Case Development (
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
1100 New York Avenue, N.W.
Suite 500, West Tower
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (888) 240-0775 or (202) 408-4600
Fax: (202) 408-4699