Opioid crisis sparks green card opportunity

Overseas investors hoping to be able to get a green card in the United States have invested in luxury apartments in Fenway, Vermont ski resorts, Manhattan hotels and the US equivalent of the Eiffel Tower in Miami. Now they are also starting to put their money into a less glamorous but no less successful industry: psychiatric and drug rehabilitation clinics.

Patients seeking help are swamping hospitals and thousands of lives are still being claimed by opioid addiction, and wealthy South American and Chinese investors are betting their bank balances that the best way for them to get hold of a US visa is mental health and private substance abuse facilities.

The EB-5 immigration program has seen $10 million from foreign investors go to a health and substance abuse center in Devens, while immigrant investors are being solicited by the Pennsylvanian company Recovery Centers of America, which hopes to open as many as eight inpatient clinics on the East Coast. Meanwhile, money that came from the EB-5 immigration program was partly responsible for the opening of an addiction clinic in Baltimore earlier this year.

The treatment industry generates around $35 billion per annum, and investors at all levels are paying more attention to it. Large investors such as Bain Capital, which is based in Boston, are capitalizing on the increasing demand and opportunities, so it is unsurprising that individual investors also want in on the action, says McLean Hospital director of psychology Philip Levendusky.