Investigations

The opioid crisis has helped create a boom in the private rehab industry. And for many who cannot afford treatment, a new strain of facilities offers a tantalizing promise: freedom from addiction at no cost.

In July, WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting joined Reveal’s Rehab Reporting Network, a coalition of more than 100 local journalists who are investigating rehabs that require residents to work for free in exchange for treatment.

This arrangement has led to abuse and exploitation across America. In Oklahoma, people struggling with addiction were forced to work in chicken plants under threat of prison. In North Carolina, residents of one facility were placed in adult care homes with little training, then charged with dispensing the very drugs that landed them in recovery.

Reveal’s reporters have tracked the issue for more than a year, uncovering story after story and earning a Pulitzer Finalist nod in 2018. Along the way, they gathered dozens of tips about work-based rehabs – far more than they could ever track down on their own.

That’s where KyCIR comes in. We’re looking for tips about rehabs that require unpaid labor in Kentucky, and we want to hear from you.

Tell us about your experience using the form below. Your story will help inform our ongoing efforts to expose wrongdoing at these facilities.

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Kate Howard is a veteran investigative reporter specializing in government accountability and higher education issues.