Sober home report calls for more regulation, stricter enforcement

The Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force overseen by State Attorney Dave Aronberg has submitted its final report to the Legislature.

As The Post reported on Dec. 20, the report calls for more oversight of sober homes, licensing of so-called “marketers” and enforcement measures to help police.

“Our primary goal is to protect the vulnerable patients who have been abused by unscrupulous actors in the industry,” Aronberg said. “Right now, there is no oversight of recovery residences, and very little oversight of the providers.  Rogue operators are able to thrive in the current environment.”

The report, a six-month effort, can be found on the state attorney’s web site under the sober homes task force link. 

The Legislature gave Aronberg $275,000 for the three-pronged effort, which included a law enforcement arm that has made 11 arrests focused on patient brokering, in which treatment centers pay sober homes for providing a steady stream of patients.

Sober homes, which have proliferated under a nationwide heroin epidemic, are supposed to be safe places where recovering addicts support one another while learning to remain sober. Most go to treatment centers for medical services where they are tested to make sure they are still sober.

Fraud has undermined the industry in Palm Beach County and elsewhere as insurance companies are soaked for huge charges for largely unnecessary drug tests.

The task force continues, with its next meeting at 1 p.m. Monday at the West Palm Beach Police Department on Clematis Street.

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