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Rep. Chu Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Sober Homes that Assist in Opioid Recovery

December 19, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), joined by nine other bipartisan Members of Congress, introduced the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act. This bill would authorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop best practices for recovery residences that promote sustained recovery from substance use disorders. Recovery residences, often known as sober homes, are family-like, shared living environments that are free from alcohol and illicit drug use, and centered on peer support and connection to services that help individuals just out of treatment continue on their journey to recovery. Rep. Chu drafted this legislation after meeting with a constituent who lived in one of these homes and reported incidents of residence staff not recognizing the signs of overdose. Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“When a family is going through the pain of treatment for drug addiction, they should be able to trust the facilities that are looking after their loved ones. Many sober homes play an invaluable role in the recovery process, providing residents with resources and support as they leave treatment and re-enter their communities. But, a lack of regulation and oversight has also allowed many other less scrupulous or unqualified facilities to exploit a family’s need for help. This is wrong. I’ve been shocked by some of the first person accounts I’ve heard from constituents and others about staff’s inability to recognize the signs of an overdose in their residents. Lack of training or preparation for something like an overdose is not just an oversight, it’s a basic failure to do what those in need have come for. This bill addresses these shortcomings by helping to develop best practices for sober homes and provide technical support for states that wish to assist sober homes in implementing these practices. This will allow individuals and their families to distinguish the good actors from the bad when selecting a residence to transition to after treatment. I’m proud that this important bill could gain bipartisan support and I hope to see it passed soon so that we can ensure all who are struggling during this national opioid epidemic have the best help available.”

The bill’s original cosponsors are: Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Mimi Walters (R-CA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Ann Kuster (D-NH), and Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX).  The text can be found here