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Stakeholders share thoughts on California bills aimed at regulating and weeding out predatory practices in 'sober-living facilities'

California lawmakers introducing legislation.
California lawmakers introducing legislation.

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They’re called “sober-living facilities”— private homes, usually unlicensed, where drug and alcohol addicts can live with others also battling addiction in an environment that is supportive of their recovery efforts.

Some of them even work in conjunction with a 12-step recovery programs. Many of them, patient advocates say, though unlicensed, do good work and are genuinely invested in the recovery of their residents. But there are others, some say, where the very drug and alcohol abuse these homes are designed to prevent runs rampant, or that look to take advantage of a vulnerable population to make a quick buck, putting addicts right back on the street when they can’t afford to pay the rent anymore.

A group of bills currently making their way through the California legislature would introduce new regulations and guidelines that their supporters say will help the state have more control over how these facilities operate. Included among the legislation are proposals that would direct the state to develop guidelines for the state on handling complaints made against unlicensed homes, establish fines for “patient brokering,” a practice in which someone will recruit patients, usually with insurance coverage, and refer them to a treatment center which then pays the recruiter, and allow the state to revoke the license of any facility associated with an unlicensed facility that abuses the system.

For more on this from our sister show Take Two, click here.


Teri Sforza, Orange County Register reporter and one of the leads into the Southern California News Group’s investigation into the SoCal drug treatment industry; she tweets @terisforza

Warren Hanselman, member of the steering committee of Advocates for Responsible Treatment, a grassroots volunteer organization comprised of concerned residents of Southern California who want to ensure they have a voice in the future of addiction rehabilitation in our cities

Lauren Kahn, director of public affairs at HealthRIGHT 360, a California safety-net healthcare provider serving 35,000 Californians annually with primary care, substance use disorder treatment, and mental health services