Senate Approves McGarrigle, Yaw Bill to Set Standards for PA Addiction Recovery Houses

 

Harrisburg – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Tom McGarrigle (R-26) and Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) to establish quality standards for addiction recovery houses in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 446 calls for the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to establish standards and criteria for the administration and operation of recovery houses, sometimes referred to as “sober” or transitional houses. The purpose of such facilities is to provide support for those suffering from addiction after they leave inpatient treatment or correctional facilities.

 “Properly run recovery houses can turn lives around, but unregulated, unscrupulous recovery houses are wasting not only taxpayer dollars, but lives,” McGarrigle said. “Individuals and entire communities suffer when an opportunity for recovery is sacrificed for a quick profit. Passing Senate Bill 446 says we are not going to tolerate that.”

The legislators acted after news articles brought to light cases of facility operators fueling addictions, exploiting residents and employing counselors who use drugs.

Senate Bill 446 is based on standards and criteria developed by the National Association of Recovery Residences, whose Pennsylvania chapter has been working with owners of facilities who have voluntarily sought certification. The administration and enforcement of the act will be funded through fees for certification and fines levied as a result of violations.

Prior to approval, Senate Bill 446 was amended to ban the owners, administrators and employees of recovery houses from requiring residents to sign over their public assistance benefits.

As Chairman of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Senator Yaw has chaired several public hearings on Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic.

“When recovering from an opioid addiction, one important step is finding safe, drug-free housing,” Sen. Yaw said.  “Throughout many of our public hearings, we have heard that there are a lot of places in the state that call themselves ‘sober living’ facilities, but with no state oversight, there’s no real way to check how sober these facilities actually are.  I commend our Senate colleagues for approving this important measure to further protect those suffering from addiction.”

Senate Bill 446 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

CONTACT:    

Mike Rader mrader@pasen.gov (717) 787-1305 (Sen. McGarrigle)

Nick Troutman ntroutman@pasen.gov (717) 787-3280 (Sen. Yaw)