Sending Your Kid to Treatment in Israel

I often explore addiction treatment options outside of the United States and am always surprised by how few rehab centers there are in other countries. In some countries, possession of even the smallest amount of drugs can mean harsh prison sentences so the absence of treatment makes sense. Evan European countries fall woefully short of adequate private treatment options or are super expensive and therefore only available to very wealthy clients. One private facility in London quoted me almost $57,000 for a two-week minimum engagement. This is a highly exclusive example considering in the United States we aim for a patient to remain in treatment for 90 days.

This led me to explore Israel where I was introduced to three such places that offer private, high-quality treatment options for middle-class patients. Affordability is relative as you are still looking at $7500 to $9500 per month in addition to travel expenses. The cost of treatment in the States starts at approximately a thousand dollars per day. Some long-term (more than 90 days) rehab options are less.

Since making these discoveries I've had the opportunity to speak with some clinical staff members and a handful of alumni who have returned to the U.S. from Israel. My take away from these conversations was positive enough where I would send my kid if there was ever the need.

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The big obvious question is why should you send your son or daughter to treatment in Israel when there are so many good treatment centers in this country? 

This treatment option is not for everybody but it makes sense in some cases. I am referring young adults who have been to rehab multiple times and continues using drugs, getting involved with nefarious characters and getting in trouble. 

In addition to using a long term treatment model, which is proven to be more effective than the 28-day standard, Israeli rehab centers have what I like to call a high barrier to exit. In other words, it's unlikely your kid is going to walk out the door when he decides he's had enough. By the same token, the large separation will prevent you from enabling them or succumb to his or her demands. 

Culturally Israelis are stricter than Americans and are less susceptible to manipulation and the games addicts like to play. Also being in unfamiliar surroundings will shut down some of the addict's cockiness and force them to fall in line.

These places are not prisons but there's an expectation of structure and following directions something the appropriate candidates can benefit from. The alumni I spoke with were grateful experiences and were good examples of success. The young man I spoke with is enrolled in medical school, and the young lady talked to is finishing her junior year at Rutgers in New Jersey. 

Sending your kid to treatment in Israel is not the result of them having a bad semester in school or getting caught drinking a couple of times. The young adults being sent away for multiple months are in danger of either dying from an overdose or getting involved in a life-altering situation. Generally speaking, they're on a bad path.

Deciding to place your kid in a long-term treatment facility, regardless of its geography is not a punishment, it's taking the necessary action to reverse their course before its too late. It's you putting a stake in the ground that says the addiction and manipulation stop right now.

The Israeli programs are not designed to be religious but some of that exists. Being Jewish myself and working as an interventionist amidst a highly Jewish population in South Florida is one of the reasons I sought these programs out. One of the programs I spoke with has a daily prayer practice though it's meant to be more spiritual than anything else. 

Most of the young adults attending these programs are Americans. I know there are also Israelis, and one program I spoke with separates the two groups while another program purposely puts them together. English is widely spoken in Israel, especially among young adults so there is unlikely to be a communication barrier between the groups. 

Like I said earlier, this approach is not for every situation but it's an effective solution for getting your kid out of a troubled environment. You have to ask yourself what will happen if my son or daughter continues on their current trajectory? Chances are you'll conclude the existing plan isn't working and a more aggressive position must be taken.

South Florida Intervention offers solutions for families struggling with the devastating effects of drug addiction and alcoholism. Marc Kantor is an interventionist and recovery coach based in Boca Raton, Florida. If someone you know is struggling with addiction, we can help. For additional information please visit www.southfloridaintervention.com or e-mail us at marc@southfloridaintervention.com