A new law to better control sober living homes in the Sunshine State goes into effect Saturday.
The transitional homes used by many substance abuse addicts after rehab have come under scrutiny in the last few years as an opioid crisis plagues the country. South Florida has seen the most in scams, targeting addicts in northern states.
The homes, described by local addiction professional Lucy Jones, are settings where people in recovery are able to live together under supervision, “but it would give them an opportunity to have a functional living situation and be able to start working and transition into society.”
The new law adds more regulation to services provided to substance abuse patients, and tighter penalties for companies scamming the addicts.
Jones said the treatment continues to be a much needed service.
“The idea of learning about how addiction affects them—physically, mentally, spiritually—helps the individual to understand that it’s not just the drug use that they’re dealing with,” said Jones. “And once they have made a commitment to refrain from the substance use, the importance of support systems to help them throughout their process of maintaining.”
The new law bans homes from falsely advertising goods or services they do not provide; revises limitations on referrals to sober homes; and provides penalties for centers that don’t meet state guidelines or operate without a license.
Lawmakers weren’t able to put more regulations on the homes themselves, since recovering addicts are counted as disabled under the Americans With Disabilities Act, but they hope this will slow down false claims and advertising by sober home companies.