Five-star suites, swimming pools and massage therapists: It's rehab celebrity-style… But are these luxury retreats a waste of money
Amy Winehouse famously sang about rehab, bringing the largely hushed world of drug therapy into mainstream culture.
But, exorbitantly expensive, professional and, sadly, popular as the centres are, many celebrities seem unable to kick their addictions.
A Today.com report suggests that the reasons are all too obvious and not helped by the high luxury of celebrity treatment centres, which it likens to 'five-star hotels'.
Promises, promises: Malibu's famous rehab centre comes complete with swimming pool, massage therapists, fireplace, suites and plungepool
Swimming pools, massage therapists, fireside chats and luxurious 'princess suites' are par for the course, says the programme, which was shown around the opulent grounds of the famous Promises retreat in Malibu, where guests including Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears have attempted to battle their demons and clean up for good.
Dr David Zack, director of Promises, told the programme: 'We created an environment that was going to be recognizable to people as comfortable, welcoming, that was going to reduce their anxiety so that they would want to stay for treatment.
Clear outlook: Celebrities are able to clean up with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, plenty of relaxation and gourmet meals
He makes 'absolutely' no apologies for the luxury – which sets each guest back around $9,000 a week – explaining: 'I think it helps to respect them and to show them that respect in any number of ways.'
Today believes, however, that the treatment centres, are perhaps too comfortable.
Radio host Danny Bonaduce agrees, saying the three rehab centres he has stayed in were 'certainly not difficult'.
Princess suite: Bedroom suites are available at Promises. But addiction extends beyond its walls – and Today.com suggests the problem is also down to Hollywood culture
Time to talk: As much as some centres profess to be replete with therapy sessions, radio personality Danny Bernoduce says no rehabilitation 'that [he] was aware of' took place when he went into rehab
In fact, he says, '[rehab] was fun. It was a really good time. A lot of conversation. And a lot of swimming and a lot of hanging out with really cool movie stars. I met the most famous people I have ever met in my whole life.'
He goes so far as saying that no rehabilitation even goes on at the centres, or at least 'not that [he] was aware of.'
'They're country clubs that don't have the decency to have a bar.'
High hopes: 'We created an environment that was going to be recognizable to people as comfortable, welcoming' said Promises' Dr David Sack
Not only that, but away from the comfort of clinics such as Promises, the darker sides of Hollywood culture are replete with 'enablers' who make drugs and alcohol almost impossible to escape from for some stars.
Some wannabes attach themselves to celebrities, supplying illicit substances to make themselves inexpendable, reports Today.
Then, there is the notoriety that comes from a front page splash – no matter the dark circumstances of the headline, the media furore over a star being rushed to rehab glamourises addiction, says the programme.
Troubled: Actress Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of rehab centres, including Promises in Malibu
Chris Gardner, a Hollywood journalist who spoke with personal experience, was one such enabler.
Though now clean, he told the show that 'everyone in this town wants to be friends with a celebrity. it is an exciting life. you get access to places you would never normally go. you get a level of service. and the trade-up is that someone you're supplying them with the drugs.'
If it wasn't for his actions, some
other willing accomplice – 'there are dozens of, if not hundreds of
people that are waiting to take your place', he said – would have stepped in.
perhaps most worrying – and timely, given the death of Whitney Houston –
is the admission that the problem is certainly not the realm of illegal
Prescription drugs are easy to find and legal – and are very far from benign.
Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the
National Drug Control Policy, told Today that Ms Houston's death was a
moment in which 'the country can reflect upon recognising that
prescription drugs can in fact be very powerful, addictive and can be
It is not
just celebrities who are prone to falling off the wagon, of course, and
NIDA figures show that 40 to 60 per cent of all drug rehab patients
relapse after treatment.