HARRISBURG – Rep. Frank Farry (R-Langhorne) announced legislation to establish a certification process for recovery housing in Pennsylvania, as well as statewide standards for their operation, is headed to the governor’s desk following approval by the state Senate Wednesday.
Recovery-based housing facilities offer assistance to individuals with substance abuse problems. There are currently no regulations in place in Pennsylvania to govern the operation of these facilities.
Senate Bill 446 includes policies and procedures for inspection of the facilities and penalties for violations, among other guidelines.
“Recovery housing is a very important part of the process to overcoming an addiction; therefore, we must ensure recovery houses are operated in a safe and appropriate manner to warrant the best possible outcomes for those seeking treatment and the surrounding communities,” Farry said.
Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bensalem) was instrumental in getting the legislation through the state Senate.
“A growing number of recovery houses are located in our community and this bill was an important step forward toward ensuring residents are safe,” said Tomlinson. “I want to thank Rep. Farry for his leadership on this issue.”
Guidelines included in the bill are based on recommendations made by the Certification of Drug and Alcohol Recovery Houses Task Force (CDARH), which Farry helped establish in 2014.
Specifically, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is directed to include the following when establishing the certification process:
Policies and procedures addressing the safety and protection of residents.
Criminal background check requirements for owners and certain employees, as well as restrictions on individuals who have certain convictions.
Policies prohibiting owners and employees from “self-dealing,” or accepting payment or similar offer in exchange for referrals. • Procedure for handling and follow-up of complaints.
Notification process for family members of residents who overdose or pass away.
Requirement for annual inspections.
Fee structure for certification.
The CDARH Task Force was formed to ensure appropriate safety and operational standards for Pennsylvania’s recovery houses, taking into consideration related issues such as the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, protection of consumers, legitimate community concerns, discriminatory practices, and recovery house owners and operators. It was made up of law enforcement officials, treatment providers, recovery housing operators, county and state drug and alcohol agencies, and advocacy and recovery support groups.
“We are grateful to Rep. Farry for his focus on this issue since we started the task force,” said William Stauffer, executive director of Pro-A and chairman of CDARH Task Force. “What this means for Pennsylvania is safer, better run recovery housing for people seeking help with a substance use condition.”
“While this is an exciting step forward, our work on this issue is far from over,” Farry said. “I look forward to working with the DDAP to establish specific policies and procedures for these facilities.”
Representative Frank Farry
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam