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Q&A: Real Estate Developer Brian O'Neill


For more than 25 years, Brian O’Neill has been making a mark with his high-end residential and retail developments throughout the Philadelphia area. Now, the Villanova resident is hoping that his new venture, Recovery Centers of America, will provide a more accessible way for addiction patients to receive treatment around the United States. One such center is set to open on the Main Line next year. 

MLT: What inspired you to do this?

BO: I’ve been disappointed with the treatment options available to addiction patients and the quality of a lot of them. I also feel that it’s discrimination to make a patient fly to California, Arizona or Florida to get treatment when you can go around the corner for every other disease and get treatment. 

MLT: Why now?

BO: There’s been an explosion of heroin and opioid addiction. Someone had to create a national treatment company on a scale that’s capable of dealing with the amount of young people who are getting addicted to heroin and opioids. This is how I want to spend the rest of my life—helping people get well. This isn’t a business plan like other business plans. Every day, we waste time in not getting out there and treating people. Thousands are dying. I felt there was no time to lose. 

MLT: How are your treatment centers different from others?

BO: Our philosophy is: Patients who are treated well, get well sooner and stay well longer. This is a patient that people don’t want to deal with; a lot of the facilities are old and tired. Our facilities are brand new, and we treat our patients with extra-special customer care, in addition to clinical care. Our facilities are convenient; we’re building in neighborhoods, as opposed to nationally. 

MLT: When will a local facility open?

BO: We’re opening a facility in Paoli in the fourth quarter of 2017. The folks in Willistown Township were terrific to deal with. Last month, we opened our first facility in Mays Landing, N.J. 

MLT: Is this going to be accessible to everyone?

BO: Yes, we accept all forms of insurance. 

MLT: What was the initial reaction from others when you proposed this?

BO: At first, people thought I was crazy, but now that we’ve gotten the $230 million investment, they know I’m for real. 

MLT: What’s the biggest misconception about addiction and recovery? 

BO: People don’t understand that it’s a disease, so they blame the patient. It would be like blaming someone with breast cancer for having cancer. It seems absurd as an analogy, but it’s true. 

MLT: You have a huge goal for RCA. Can you explain?

BO: We want to build a $5 billion company that can cure a million patients, so our entire framework is based on doing that. When we get to a million, we’re going to go to 20 million. There are 20 million Americans who need treatment who aren’t getting it right now. So, if we reach our goal, we’ll solve 5 percent of the problem. We’re hoping our success encourages others to do what we’re doing. 

Photo by Tessa Marie Images

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