Sober homes

The South Florida United States Attorney’s Office announced 124 charges against South Florida doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals on Thursday as part of what authorities are calling the largest nationwide takedown on health care fraud and those fueling the opioid crisis.

House Panel Targets 'Sober Homes'

Feb 7, 2018
Florida Legislature
Florida House of Representatives

Florida would require additional background screening for operators of controversial recovery residences known as “sober homes,” under a bill that cleared a House panel Tuesday.

Peter Haden / WLRN

The Reflections treatment center looked like just the place for Michelle Holley's youngest daughter to kick heroin. Instead, as with dozens of other Florida substance abuse treatment facilities, the owner was more interested in defrauding insurance companies by keeping addicts hooked, her family says.

About five years ago, Dillon Katz, entered a house in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"I walked in and the guy was sitting at this desk — no shirt on, sweating," Katz says.

The man asked Katz for a smoke.

"So I gave him a couple cigarettes," Katz says. "He went around the house and grabbed a mattress from underneath the house — covered in dirt and leaves and bugs. He dragged it upstairs and threw it on the floor and told me, 'Welcome home.' "

Delray Beach's charming downtown, palm trees and waves attract locals, vacationers and, increasingly, drug users who come here to try to get off opioids. In some parts of the small Florida community, there's a residential program for people recovering from addiction — a sober living house or "sober home" — on nearly every block. Sometimes two or three.

Sober Homes To Receive Stricter Guidelines

Jul 3, 2017

A new law to better control sober living homes in the Sunshine State goes into effect Saturday.

House Approves Bill Cracking Down On Sober Homes

Apr 27, 2017
Steve / Flickr

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.

Changes to how Florida regulates the private system of addiction treatment in the state could help stop patient abuse and exploitation. That’s the conclusion of newly released report by the Sober Home Task Force.

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.

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. 

Addiction Epidemic Fuels Runaway Demand For 'Sober Homes'

Apr 7, 2016
Associated Press

The nation's epidemic of addiction to painkillers and heroin is fueling runaway demand for a once-obscure form of housing known as "sober homes," where recovering addicts live together in a supervised, substance-free setting to ease their transition back to independence.

Palm Beach County lawmakers say tightening regulations on so-called "sober homes" will be one of their top priorities during this year's legislative session in Tallahassee. 

Sober houses are group homes for people recovering from drug or alcohol dependencies. In recent years, the facilities have become a booming business in parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. But critics complain many of the facilities are bringing noise, traffic and even drug dealing to their single-family neighborhoods.