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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Regulating Sober Living Homes

sober living homes
The American opioid epidemic has created a huge demand for addiction treatment services. With over 2.5 million Americans struggling with an opioid use disorder, providing adequate addiction programs across the country has proven to be a challenge.

Ideally, when an addict makes the choice to finally seek help and check into a program of recovery, there will be a treatment center close by with an open bed available. What’s more, such facilities should be both affordable and utilize evidence-based methods of treatment to ensure the best outcomes. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for addicts to access addiction treatment centers in rural America, such as inpatient and outpatient treatment or sober living homes.

Addiction treatment services are much more common in cities across the country. People with substance use disorders who reside in major cities often have a long list of choices when it comes recovery. Long-term, inpatient care is considered to be the best choice, usually resulting in ideal outcomes. The goal is being able to focus solely on one’s recovery, free from the distractions of family, friends and work.

Addiction counselors will typically recommend patients to aftercare programs, upon finishing the 90-day inpatient program. Aftercare options typically include outpatient treatment and living in what is known as “sober living” home. People in early recovery have a better shot at achieving significant recovery time, if they follow the recommendations of their counselors. The more time you spend in
safe environments, the better protected you are from relapse.

However, people who are new to recovery, should be careful when picking a sober living home. Not everyone who moves into a sober living home started their recovery in a treatment facility, so they may not have good sources for recommendations on which homes they should look at. There are some sober living homes that are not conducive to recovery.

The huge demand for addiction treatment services, led to a boom in sober living homes opening up across the country. When bad homes are operating, cities have struggled to determine which ones are taking advantage of the vulnerable to turn a quick profit. Addiction is a disability, which means that people living in sober living homes are protected by the Fair Housing Act, CBS12 reports. Unfortunately, medical privacy laws have actually ended up serving the interests of sober home owners, who are not subject to housing regulations. Meaning, people can get away with shady business practices, potentially affecting vulnerable newly sober people.

In an effort combat such behaviors, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the release of new guidelines for cities to use for the effective regulation of sober living homes, according to the article. A joint statement indicates that the agencies are giving cities:

"...the legal clarity they need to maintain the safety and character of their communities while protecting the rights and needs of people with disabilities, including those recovering from drug addiction.”

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