sober homes

Peter Haden / WLRN

Widespread incidents of fraud have given the South Florida addiction treatment industry a black eye. Law enforcement has been cracking down — with strong support from the treatment industry’s legitimate providers.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Law enforcement has been cracking down on corruption in South Florida’s drug treatment industry. State and federal officials have arrested more than 30 people for running scams in rehab centers or sober homes in the past year.

But the facilities are often filled with recovering drug users from out-of-state. And when the homes shut down, the residents frequently wind up on the street.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN News

Local officials are raising concerns about drug use at hurricane shelters, saying they aren't equipped to care for addicts, unaccompanied minors and others with other medical needs.

 

Nearly 16,000 people in nine counties from Indian River to Miami-Dade evacuated to shelters during Hurricane Matthew. Six evacuees seeking refuge at a Delray Beach high school during Hurricane Matthew overdosed on drugs as the dangerous storm approached South Florida. Bags brought to shelters by evacuees are typically not searched.

bigjohn36 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

A South Florida drug treatment provider will spend the next 27.5 years behind bars for operating a multimillion-dollar health care fraud and sex trafficking scheme.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks handed down the sentence Wednesday at the Federal Courthouse in West Palm Beach. Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, 47, of Boynton Beach, pleaded guilty in March to the charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafaña said Chatman was a relatively small provider in the drug treatment industry, but he was, “the most dangerous.”

House Approves Bill Cracking Down On Sober Homes

Apr 27, 2017

A crackdown on sober home corruption took a big step forward on Wednesday after House members unanimously voted to pass a bill strengthening the state's role in prosecuting criminal and regulatory violations.

Delray Beach Police Department

The man had just risen from the dead.

He’s in his mid-20’s. Sitting on a couch in a house in Delray Beach. Pale as a ghost, sweaty, wide-eyed, disoriented.  Like he just woke up from a nightmare.

Bernard Spragg. NZ / via Flickr/Creative Commons

As the addiction recovery industry boomed in South Florida over the past decade, so did the number of recovery residences - also known as sober homes.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Addiction treatment is big business in Palm Beach County.

According to research conducted by the Palm Beach Post, it brings in more than $1 billion a year, making addiction treatment the county’s fourth largest industry – only behind tourism, construction and agriculture.

Local officials are cracking down on corruption in Palm Beach County's sober-home industry.


The man leading the fight against unscrupulous sober homes has a message for state legislators.

“When the appropriations process comes up, please keep us in mind,” said Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg at a meeting with the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation in Boca Raton Tuesday.

Palm Beach County Jail

A sober home operator is under arrest in Palm Beach County following a corruption investigation.

Ehab Iskander, 33, of West Palm Beach, faces six counts of patient brokering. He runs Integrity House, a sober home in Lake Worth. Sober homes — also known as halfway houses — are group living facilities for recovering addicts.

iStock

The federal government is giving cities some new guidance on how far they can go in regulating sober homes.

The Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development issued the joint statement Thursday.

It gives local governments some legal wiggle room to oversee group housing for recovering addicts on a case-by-case basis.

For example, many cities bar more than three unrelated people from living in a single-family home. But sober homes are often given an exemption to that rule because the occupants are considered to be disabled and are protected by federal law.

Peter Haden / WLRN

A new law could be in the works to regulate so-called “sober homes” in Florida. 

At a meeting attended by hundreds of residents in Lake Worth, Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson said that he is part of a task force created to crack down on  unscrupulous addiction recovery residences in Florida. The facilities are not currently required to be certified or licensed and the task force will propose legislation to change that. 

Pages