NPR News –
Millions of Americans have been helped by substance abuse recovery programs, but there’s a little-known side industry to recovery that some say has taken advantage of people trying overcome addiction. Sober living homes, sometimes called halfway houses, are not regulated in Georgia, but they are potentially very profitable. A recently passed bill aims at gaining some control over the programs.
State Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta, sponsored Senate Bill 4, which makes illegal what is known as “patient brokering.”
When people successfully complete a hospital or jail-based detox program, they must be careful walking back into society. Former friends, old places and things can make it easy to relapse and start using drugs again, and so judges in drug accountability courts often release people into the custody of so-called halfway houses.
They are supposed to be a transitional place between treatment and home. But in Georgia, these residences are unregulated and often expensive.
“When I presented this to the House committee, they were shocked to find out that nobody really regulates this industry and nobody really knows where these places are,” Kirkpatrick said. “And for that reason, it’s hard to get control of it.”