Task Force Wants State To Oversee Sober Homes

Dec 28, 2016

A task force is making recommendations to state legislators for cracking down on fraud in the addiction recovery industry.

The Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force is putting the finishing touches on a report headed to lawmakers in Tallahassee. It outlines strategies to better regulate drug treatment providers and sober homes.

Among the recommendations: Give the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) the ability to license and inspect commercial sober homes.

“If we’ve got legislative authority, these are things that we could get done,” said John Bryant, assistant secretary for substance abuse and mental health at DCF.

But not without a significant increase in funding. The task force says that money should come from increased fees from businesses in the industry – sober homes and drug treatment centers – not from taxpayers.

Bryant says this would be a good step to curtailing out-of-control corruption in the industry.

“In terms of the number of disreputable folk that are doing this business – the patient brokering and, in effect, the human trafficking – it’s really incredible,” Bryant said.

Republican State Rep. Bill Hager of Boca Raton is drafting a bill aimed at stopping corruption in the recovery industry. He said he’ll submit his bill before the Legislature meets in March.