August 23, 2018 – The Canadian defendants could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Freedom Healthcare of America, which runs a website called Addiction Campuses, said the company takes the accusations “very seriously.” … “We have reached out to Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation CEO and President Mark Mishek’s office about the matter and are in communication with their team,” the company said Thursday in a statement. The lawsuit describes one example of how a patient seeking substance use disorder treatment options was trying to search for Hazelden but wound up on one of Freedom Healthcare of America’s webpages. The person then was misled, the lawsuit says, into contacting one of the defendant’s phone numbers for “Hazelden,” rather than actually contacting the Minnesota-based nonprofit.

Hazelden believes the patient ultimately was directed to a treatment center in Massachusetts that’s owned and/or affiliated with the defendant. While the lawsuit names three defendants, Hazelden said there are other websites that create similar problems. In some cases, consumers might be able to find fine print that explains the website is run by an entity other than Hazelden, Mishek said, but many who call do so in a moment of crisis when such details are easily missed. “They see our picture. They see a big phone number underneath it,” Mishek said. “That’s the deceptive nature of it. We call it the ‘phony directory tactic.’ ”

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