America’s Only Publicly Traded Addiction Treatment Chain

addiction profits

On a spring morning in 2017, in a Grand Hyatt ballroom in midtown Manhattan, Michael Cartwright took the stage and talked about growth.

“There’s no great brand out there—Nike, whatever you consider a great brand out there today—that doesn’t have a great sales and marketing platform,” he told the audience of health care investors and executives attending a UBS-sponsored confab.

That’s why, Cartwright said, his company—American Addiction Centers, the nation’s only publicly traded addiction treatment chain—had built a thriving marketing machine.

And it was vast. Some 65 sales reps marketed AAC’s services to therapists, DUI attorneys, and doctors. The company operated more than 100 websites, ensuring AAC showed up frequently in search results. “If you type in ‘heroin addiction’ or ‘methamphetamine addiction,’” Cartwright, AAC’s CEO, told his audience, “you’re probably going to come across one of our websites.”

Each month, roughly 30,000 calls came into AAC’s call center in Nashville, where, he said, “we have 100 sales reps answering the phone every day.” AAC had dozens of facilities across eight states, including high-end residential centers, outpatient programs, and sober-living housing. According to Cartwright’s slides, the average residential client brought in more than $22,000 in revenue.

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