After a two year process and organizing a task force, Pennsylvania has announced a set of regulations to oversee sober houses in the state. While efforts are being seen, some questions in how the state will execute this plan, have arose.
For those unaware, a sober house is meant to be a safe, structured environment for recovering addicts and alcoholics to go once they have completed a stay in a rehabilitation center. They are also known as recovery houses, transitional houses and three quarter homes.
Typically a sober house is built, bought and/or designed by other recovering individuals. The purpose is to give back to those in need. Unfortunately, sometimes there are drawbacks.
Without regulation in place, it is hard to know exactly how many homes exist in the state. Some estimate a total of 500 sober residences in Pennsylvania alone.
Furthermore, it is difficult to know which houses are suitable unless you do your research. Most times, families have to go based off of reputation and the experience treatment providers have had with a local sober house.
New policies would enforce safety measures, intake processes, a code of ethics, record keeping and so on. For some, these new regulations will not be difficult to uphold, since they already have similar systems in place.
Once they have met these standards, certification would be issued.
Nevertheless, the issue lies within how exactly the state will implement these regulations.
Firstly, the state needs to have the necessary funding to do so. Secondly, it will be difficult to regulate every sober house, since no one knows exactly how many exist. And finally, who will be responsible for the oversight of these new policies?
Although the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) asked for the new regulations, Jason Snyder, DDAP spokesman, argues why they wouldn’t be qualified to oversee such matters.
DDAP is responsible for overseeing drug and alcohol facilities that provide medical care. Since these homes do not offer medical care on the level of a treatment center, Snyder said, “When you talk about the regulation of housing, it’s not in DDAP’s wheelhouse.”
Also these new policies will be done on a voluntary certification basis.
While this raises a few eyebrows, states such as Massachusetts, Ohio and Florida have seen success with similar systems.
Officials are hoping that a little incentive will push owners in the direction of volunteering.
Rep. Frank Farry said in a press release, “Recovery house owners who wish to receive state funds and referrals from licensed drug and alcohol treatment service providers will be required to become certified.”
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