(USA TODAY) -- When Bethany Ehrhart, 23, wanted to kick her addiction to painkillers, her mother, Darlene, found the money for top-of-the-line treatment at the world-renowned Betty Ford Center. A week after her arrival at the celebrity rehab in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Ehrhart says, a fellow patient gave her heroin smuggled in on visitors' day.

Ehrhart, just days into detox, says she was powerless to resist the pull of her addiction, took the heroin and plunged into relapse, surrounded by the counselors paid top dollar to help her.

Ehrhart says she witnessed a drug deal at the rehab center and told a staff member, who failed to report it. In an e-mail to Ehrhart's mother, Betty Ford's former CEO John Schwarzlose, who left the post in July, promised an investigation, offered the family free services and refunded Ehrhart's tuition. Ehrhart transferred to another rehab center.

"We take your concerns very seriously," he wrote.

Betty Ford spokesman Russ Patrick declined to comment on Ehrhart's specific allegations, citing anonymity for patients in a 12-step recovery program and confidentiality laws for health care providers, but Patrick said in a statement that the center "has zero tolerance for drug use on campus."

"During our 31-year history of treating thousands of addicted patients, a very small number of them have tried to get drugs on campus," Patrick said.

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