Drug cartels are notorious for bringing mass amounts of illicit drugs across the border. Some of the most dangerous cartels are centered in Mexico and the drug-related violence in the country is at record levels, even now in 2018. Organized crime members are manipulative, conniving, and will do just about anything to profit.

Whether that means trafficking drugs, killing others, or infiltrating organizations, the cartel knows how to get what they want. Unfortunately, these calculated executions have extended to rehabilitation centers, which should be the safest space of them all in terms of drugs and violence.

The Cartel and Mexican Clinics

Mexico has long been associated with the drug trade: producing illicit substances, performing ruthless acts, and continuously raising the number of drug-related killings over the years.

the cartels grip on rehabsJust across the border, cartel members have actually turned to operating their own rehabilitation clinics. Within these clinics, they recruit patients by threatening to beat them or harm their families, and the weak and vulnerable state these addicts are already in makes refusing impossible. Money and eliminating the enemy has always been the cartel’s motive, which has turned Mexican rehab facilities into killing zones and an extension of the violence that occurs from the war on drugs.

The drug presence throughout the Mexico is so strong that it has resulted in hundreds of thousands of residents becoming addicted to some form of an illicit substance. What does this mean? Booming business for Mexican rehabs. Many individuals checked into these rehab clinics have some affiliation with the cartel, whether they were a former runner or still owe them money. Having a lot of the individuals that have “wronged” the cartel in one place make rehab centers an easy target, leading to violent raids and mass killings. To the cartel, these horrible acts mean nothing other than an efficient way to handle their business.

It should be noted that the main issue with Mexican rehabilitation centers is that the majority are unlicensed and have no accreditation. Security is virtually non-existent, and pretty much anything goes. Rehabs have been run out of the homes of former addicts, and crime members themselves pose as employees to learn about the patients and their potential affiliation with cartels. Some even infiltrate facilities to sell drugs to recovering patients in the name of monetary gain. Although this type of corruption is not present in facilities throughout the United States, the cartel and other organized crime members have found a way to infiltrate our clinics.

Rehab Centers and Rights Under HIPAA

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) “…establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically”. As stated, this Privacy Rule applies to any and all forms of an individual’s protected health information: electronic, written, and oral.

Keeping this type of personal information safe and confidential is critical for those undergoing rehabilitation treatment. As obvious as addictions may seem, many victims choose to hide their abuse issues from the people in their lives. It is likely that they will want to return to the same job or the same place they used to live, and bringing the past into the present is not ideal for the recovering addict. Especially if that past no longer defines them.

That being said, a data breach that releases any information related to an addict’s condition/health status could take a huge toll on their professional and personal lives. Reputation and self-esteem are two things that those in recovery are trying to rebuild, and leaked information relating to their condition could be a major mental set-back. Hence the intensity of the standard that these laws are held to. The last thing a recovering addict needs is to worry about the privacy of their information.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule is taken so seriously that fines can be as large as $1,500,000 and criminal violators can serve up to 10 years in prison. The fact that these laws are strict beyond belief is a big reason why the cartel and other organized crime members have taken to hiding out at rehabilitation centers: HIPAA laws protect them so that nobody can confirm or deny they are at a facility.

In the United States, the majority of rehab centers are closely monitored and security is efficient. Organized crime personnel aren’t likely to pull the same stunts as they would back home. Rather, they use our privacy laws to protect their whereabouts from law enforcement searching for cartel members. Because HIPAA laws do not allow facilities to release information, their location cannot be released or determined.

SRC: A Safe Facility

Safety for our patients and their information is one of our top priorities at Scottsdale Recovery Center. We know that confidentiality is of utmost importance, and your safety and well-being will never be a concern during your stay at our facility. We are a highly accredited facility and have been proven to offer some of the best drug recovery treatments in the country. If you have any questions about our day-to-day operations, or are concerned with addiction in yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our doors are always open, contact us today.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.