The creator of a new and well-financed consumer site for those seeking addiction treatment says he has already seen significant differences in marketing for the addiction field, compared to other industries where he previously worked. Entrepreneur Jason Brian, who is launching the brand website 1-800 Addicts and runs parent company Redwood Recovery Solutions, says talking about marketing in the addiction field has certain challenges.

“We felt we were the leopard in the room,” Brian says. “I’ve never encountered a reaction like this. It’s almost as if we want to come up with a different word for ‘marketing.’”

Brian hopes 1-800 Addicts will prove to be an alternative for treatment facilities that have arguably suffered harm from ethically questionable marketing practices in the industry. The site will allow treatment centers “that meet certain ethical and business practices” to acquire qualified leads for individuals seeking treatment. And Brian says the access will be spread across numerous centers so that no facility obtains a dominant presence on the site.

“There really isn’t an unattached site out there anymore,” he says.

The recent acquisition of the Recovery Brands referral network by treatment provider American Addiction Centers (AAC) has generated significant speculation about the impact of that particular deal. Many believe the large, well established Recovery Brands will now direct more leads to AAC than other providers in the network.

Redwood also employs a model in which facilities pay to receive treatment leads, and paying for referrals is also considered by some industry leaders to be an ethical challenge.

1-800 Addicts states on its website: “We commit to working only with treatment facilities that practice and uphold commonly accepted ethical standards, and provide the best medical care available.”

Brian adds that his organization looks into whether participating centers have any pending litigation over care issues, and says it also intentionally targets accredited facilities for participation.

“From a consumer’s perspective, I’m finding that identifying good intentions from treatment centers is more difficult than I imagined it to be,” says Brian.

Maryland-based digital marketing firm Dreamscape Marketing is building the 1-800 Addicts site, with 300 pages created so far and an anticipated total of 1,200 by October 1, says Brian. About $9 million will be invested in the site’s launch.

West Palm Beach-based Redwood, established in 2014, will continue to operate the TreatmentCalls.com site as a separate entity. The Redwood team includes former Unity Recovery Group CEO James Hull, who serves as Redwood’s vice president of operations.