Drug rehab sued over fraud, exploitation, neglect and wrongful death

River Oaks subject of I-Team investigation

RIVERVIEW, Fla. — A widow is seeking justice tonight against a drug treatment center that's part of an ongoing I-Team investigation.

“There is an absolute lack of oversight, there's a lack of supervision,” said Tampa Attorney Jack Gordon.

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He is suing River Oaks Drug Treatment Center and its parent company American Addiction Centers, alleging their negligence led to his client's death.

Graeme Hill flew to River Oaks from Illinois in December of 2016, hours after speaking to an AAC patient recruiter, who he spoke to during a mental breakdown. 

“He was taken into custody at the Tampa Airport when he first arrived in Florida, because he was delusional, he was paranoid, he was essentially in a full-blown psychotic episode,” Gordon said.

Instead of taking him to the hospital, the driver took him to River Oaks.

“There was nobody who was qualified to otherwise perform an intake process to evaluate him,” Gordon said.

He walked away from the facility and stepped in front of a car, killing him.  

AAC didn’t respond to a request for a comment about the lawsuit, but they previously told us they always meet or exceed staffing requirements, by having a physician on call.

“We don't have any fences. No fences. They can come and go as they please,” said former River Oaks Transportation Manager Mike Isom.

He said he saw video of Hill from the facility’s security cameras on the night Hill died.

“You can see the client, along with the behavioral tech, walking up and down the hallway. You can see how stressed he was,” said Isom.

River Oaks bills patients thousands of dollars a day... but has hundreds of emergency calls in its two-year history.

Last month, another patient shot himself with a stolen gun during a home burglary attempt.  

“There's a significant danger, not merely to the patients who are traveling to the state of Florida to garner this treatment, but to the surrounding neighbors, to the surrounding Florida citizens,” Gordon said.

Hill's widow is seeking a jury trial in Hillsborough County and damages in excess of $15,000.

If you have information about a drug treatment center or sober home in the Tampa Bay area you’d like to share with the I-Team, contact us at adam@abcactionnews.com

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