Sober living, addiction treatment conflicts return to California lawmakers’ crosshairs – East Bay Times


To all the important thing gamers — dad and mom whose youngsters died doing medicine in so-called restoration properties, neighbors who reside beside the usually problematic companies, and lots of the rehabbing residents themselves — reforming the fraud-plagued sober residing business can’t occur shortly sufficient.

On Thursday, Dec. 3, three Congress members introduced a bill geared toward bettering the standard of care provided to recovering addicts residing in sober residing properties.

Dubbed “The Excellence in Restoration Housing Act,” the proposed regulation would require the Nationwide Academy of Sciences to check high-quality restoration housing and make suggestions for growing its availability. It additionally would decide learn how to enhance information assortment about restoration, make sure that medication-assisted therapy could be out there for folks looking for to remain sober and discover the authorized tangles that also exist on the state and native entrance involving restoration housing.

The invoice additionally would push the federal Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Companies Administration to work with “respected suppliers” to give you complete tips for struggling state governments, and would supply some $57 million in grants states might use to assist make high quality housing a actuality.

Wendy McEntyre of Sky Forest misplaced her son, Jarrod, to an overdose in a sober residing dwelling in 2004. She based the nonprofit Jarrod’s Legislation in his reminiscence and started combating for change. (Photograph by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG) 

“For hundreds of thousands of People residing with habit and the hundreds of thousands extra who love them, coming into a restoration residence, or ‘sober dwelling’, is an extremely important step which means hope of a life past habit,” stated U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, in a press release.

“However that hope might be fragile, as restoration is a fragile time requiring expert, skilled consideration. That’s the reason we should make sure that restoration housing is definitely offering the protected and secure surroundings we count on. Sadly, I’ve heard too many tales of those that have misplaced somebody whereas they have been in restoration as a result of the employees lacked coaching to acknowledge issues just like the indicators of an overdose.”

Whereas federal consideration on the difficulty is welcome, activists who’ve been pleading for stronger regulation of the habit therapy business are annoyed by yet one more invoice that goals for tips moderately than stringent guidelines, and for suggestions moderately than motion.

“To the extent this invoice encourages all states to take duty for and serve their recovering populations, this could possibly be a great invoice,” stated Laurie Girand of Advocates for Responsible Treatment in San Juan Capistrano.

“However when the federal government solely focuses on the ‘good’ suppliers, it fails to handle the entire image,” Girand added.

“What we actually want is for Congress to have the heart to say ‘the emperor has no garments.’ That is an business determined for presidency regulation.”

To that finish, state legislators are getting ready to re-introduce laws in Sacramento that might take major steps towards reform of the business in California.


The federal invoice was launched by Reps. David Trone, D-Maryland, Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano and Chu. It builds on Chu’s earlier laws that prompted guidelines on quality recovery residences that some critics discovered wanting.

This invoice will assist SAMHSA enhance these tips, and supply sources for states to advertise the supply of high-quality restoration residences. It has the help of a wide range of massive, nationwide treatment-related teams.

Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Seaside, heart, introduced a brand new bi-partisan Legislative Substance Abuse Remedy Working Group in 2019. Behind her from left is activist Wendy McEntyre, Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, Assemblymember Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo; and Assemblymember Invoice Brough, R-Dana Level. (Courtesy Cottie Petrie-Norris) 

State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Seaside, is spearheading a bipartisan group of Sacramento legislators pushing for extra fundamental reform in California. She’s going to reintroduce Jarrod’s Law, which might requiring outpatient facilities, which at the moment are fully unsupervised by the state, to be licensed and controlled by the Division of Well being Care Companies.

Gov. Gavin Newsom preferred the large concept, however stated in a veto message that “growing a brand new licensing scheme is a major endeavor, and would require a major departure from the invoice as enrolled.”

Petrie-Norris is engaged on addressing these issues. The invoice is known as to honor Wendy McEntyre ‘s son Jarrod, who in 2004 died of an overdose whereas within the care of a sober residing dwelling within the San Fernando Valley.

Rose and Allen Nelson have a show on the entryway of their Santa Monica dwelling of son Brandon Nelson, who died in an unlicensed Sovereign Well being dwelling the place he was looking for therapy. (Photograph by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG) 

In the identical spirit, state Sen. Pat Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, will reintroduce “Brandon’s Law,” which might prohibit rehabs from false promoting and advertising. It’s named for Brandon Nelson, who died at age 26 in an unlicensed home run by a company that promised a team of skilled professionals — but couldn’t even get his medications on time.

Newsom preferred the large concept right here, too, however vetoed the invoice over issues that the Division of Well being Care Companies could be requested to police restoration residences, one thing the company at the moment doesn’t deal with.  Bates is engaged on addressing these issues.

Bates can also be pushing to re-introduce one other nixed concept — a bill that would crack down on drug dealers peddling deadly fentanyl, which is liable for a skyrocketing body count, even among children.

“Earlier than COVID, we have been planning on doing a coalition, trying what every invoice had achieved, what did we have to do to full refinement,” Bates stated. “We’re again at that now. Let’s get some information factors. The place are the recent spots? What works?

“There’s a heck of some huge cash coming into substance abuse from the private and non-private insurance coverage business,” Bates added. “Is it hitting the mark? We actually want some research, and placing cash towards that might be cash well-spent.”

On the federal invoice, Bates and Petrie-Norris recognize something that brings extra focus to the problems, and each need the federal authorities to do extra.

“We’re working exhausting to lift requirements for affected person care and set up licensing for all substance use packages in California,” Petrie-Norris stated.

“We’re actually happy to see the introduction the Excellence in Restoration Housing Act in Congress. We urgently want motion on the state and federal degree. A part of that’s having increased requirements for restoration properties. I’d prefer to see the invoice go additional.”

Petrie Norris prompt the federal authorities might assist by making it more durable for federal cash to go to restoration amenities that don’t meet state or federal requirements. Additionally, federal lawmakers might make clear the Truthful Housing Act and People with Disabilities Act to state exactly when substance use dysfunction qualifies as a incapacity, and underneath which circumstances native governments can regulate restoration housing.

“The underside line is that persons are dying proper now,” Petrie-Norris stated. “We have to deal with this as a disaster and act with urgency to place predatory properties out of enterprise.”


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