Drug Cartels vs. Rehab Centers

12/03/18: Addiction Recovery \ Drug Addiction
A drug cartel is a crime organization that has the intentions of creating drug trafficking operations for profit. These operations can range from smaller agreements to massive enterprises. They are especially well known for bringing drugs across the border into the U.S. The drug enterprises are huge in Mexico and can be traced back all the way to the 1980s. One of the first men to start the idea of the drug cartel was a man by the name of Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Men like him, and most drug cartel members, are notorious for being manipulative, conniving, motivated by money, and sometimes violent. Whatever boundaries need to be crossed, whatever rules need to be broken, whoever needs to be killed, the cartel will do whatever it takes to get what they want. It was recently discovered that the cartels have actually moved some of their efforts to rehabilitation centers. This is horrible considering the fact that these medical centers are meant as a safe space from drugs and violence. Unfortunately, the cartels have extended their grasps into this less than fortunate area.

Mexican Treatment Centers vs. The Cartels

Since the 1980s, Mexico has been notoriously known for its drug trade enterprises. Illegal substances and also violent acts have raised the number of drug-related crimes over the years. In the last decade, there have been a number of attacks on Mexican Rehab Centers by what can only be assumed as the cartels doing. In 2017, two rival gangs were fighting over drug territory and the fight ended up in a rehab facility. “How did the fight end up in a rehab facility?” you may ask. The answer is more shocking than you would think. One of the gangs had actually strong-armed themselves into the rehab facility and taken over. This is no surprise as many other gangs and drug cartel organizations have started to either take over rehab facilities or create their own as a front. They use these centers to recruit patients into their business. With the cartels, it is nearly impossible to refuse their offers without fear of harm. It is sad to see they have resorted to extending their violence into a place created for safety. The presence of drugs in Mexican communities is real and it is scary. It has made thousands of Mexican citizens become addicted to illegal substances. When there are more people who are addicted to drugs, that means there are more people who may seek out recovery. But how can they seek out recovery when rehab facilities are just traps they walk right into? You can’t. Sometimes, cartel members will pose as employees to even sell drugs to patients to keep them on their addiction or simply get more money out of them. If they are not there to sell drugs, then they are there to take care of business. These addicts are not always just substance abusers, but they can also be people who owe the cartel money or have wronged them at some point. They become easy targets for the cartel, walking right through the door for cartel members to “take care of”. Cartels will do whatever they can to properly do business, even kill. It’s scary to think that acts like these are just right over the border from us, who’s to say they won’t extend their businesses into the U.S.?

Rehab Centers Right Under HIPAA

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) states that it “…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”. This privacy rule applies to any and all forms of an individual’s protected health information. Rehab facilities, through HIPAA, are dedicated to keeping patient’s personal information safe and confidential. Addiction is something that can be extremely difficult to be open about, especially with close loved ones. Rehab facilities are created as a safe place to be open about your past and use it to fight for the future. If their personal information is breached or compromised, it can take an immense toll on the former addict's life. If someone is trying to rebuild their lives from their past decisions, the last thing they may want is for their past to be known by others. This is why the standard of confidentiality and the laws around patient information is so intense. The HIPAA Privacy Rule is a very serious one and it shouldn’t be taken so lightly like it is in Mexico. Fines for breaking this rule can reach up to $1.5 million and can even result in years of prison time (10+ years). When it comes to the cartel, it can be hard to pin them for this since the law itself protects them. They can’t confirm or deny the fact that cartel members are at a facility. Thankfully, rehab centers in the U.S. are closely monitored and security is much more effective. It is much more difficult to pull off organized crime in rehab facilities in the U.S. than it is in Mexico. Content for Arizona Addiction by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment and technology. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media

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