Scammers are capitalizing on the opioid epidemic by marketing phony treatment options to the estimated 2 million opioid addicts in the United States.
Trying one of these “cures” may seem harmless, but it’s more than just a waste of time and money. Using products with unsubstantiated claims can prevent people addicted to opioids from seeking treatments that are safe and effective.
Here is how the scam works: You see an ad for a product that claims to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms. Many of these phony products claim to be a “miracle cure” with “guaranteed” results. Many brands stress that their pills are “all natural,” “organic” and contain vitamins and herbs.
Phony dietary supplements are by no means the only scams to prey on the opioid epidemic. Scams involving phony treatment centers and insurance fraud are also becoming widespread, as described in several investigative reports.
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Tips to avoid this scam:
The Better Business Bureau offers these tips to help you or your loved one begin the treatment and recovery process:
Be skeptical. Beware of any product making claims such as “miracle cure” or “fast results — guaranteed.” Many of these treatments that make these bold promises are not FDA-approved. Opioid dependence is a serious issue and takes time and effort to address. It won’t happen overnight.
Find help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a referral and information service. Consumers can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit SAMHSA.gov. All information is confidential and free.
Check with a doctor. Before taking any dietary supplement, ask a health provider about the product’s scientific evidence, side effects, and interactions with other medication. Learn more on FDA.gov.
Research with BBB. Visit BBB.org to view the company’s BBB Business Profile. Business Profiles include contact information, complaint history and customer reviews. Read the details to learn more about previous customers’ experiences.
Report questionable claims. Contact your local BBB, FTC or the FDA if you discover any misleading or deceptive advertising.
For more details about this scam, read the FDA warnings about treatment scams at www.fda.gov. To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/scamtracker). You can also research ways to protect yourself from all kinds of scams by visiting BBB.org.
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor. The Better Business Bureau sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance and helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: www.bbb.org or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org