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House Passes Recovery Homes Bill

Lawmakers unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would establish standards for recovery houses to become certified. The certification would carry additional privileges for such homes and enable individuals in recovery and loved ones assisting them find safe and reliable recovery housing placements less challenging.

Sponsored by Rep. Kerri Evelyn HarrisHouse Bill 114S would codify standards for recovery houses to become “certified recovery houses” either through the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health or through a division-approved certifying entity.

Under the bill, a non-certified recovery house could continue to operate and provide an alcohol and drug-free residence to persons recovering from substance use disorders. However, a non-certified recovery house would not be able to receive referrals from a state entity or state court; obtain state or local funding; receive state referrals for individuals; or advertise as a certified house.

“Those who enter recovery houses are extremely vulnerable and in need of top-quality care to assist with their addiction treatment and recovery,” said Rep. Harris. “We also know the challenges people find when navigating the system as it currently exists in Delaware. This bill will establish a certification process and provide a standard of care for residents within these facilities.”

Rep. Harris contends the current lack of standards, certification and oversight has essentially produced an environment where a lot of recovery homes exist, but all options aren’t necessarily benefiting those seeking recovery and addiction assistance.

“We need to do all we can to ensure that people who need help are getting the help they need,” Rep. Harris said. “Recovery houses are about so much more than just where a person battling a substance use disorder goes to sleep every night. Without established standards of care, there really isn’t a way we can say we’re meeting the needs of the residents. Additionally, established standards help ensure we’re providing all the tools a person needs to thrive and grow along their recovery journey.”

HB 114S also would establish a Certified Recovery House Registry and a recovery house fund. The certification fees would be used for training and enforcement of recovery home regulations.

House Bill 114 – Standards for Recovery HomesCurrrent Status – House Passed 40-0-1. Sent to the Senate.
House SponsorsHarris, Longhurst, Baumbach, Griffith, Heffernan, Morrison, Williams // Briggs KingSenate Sponsors Pinkney, Hansen, McBride, Poore, Sokola
House Yes VotesBaumbach Bolden Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Harris Johnson Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Moore Morrison Neal Osienski Parker-Selby Phillips Romer Schwartzkopf Williams Wilson-Anton // Briggs King Collins Dukes Gray Hensley Hilovsky Morris Postles Ramone Short Shupe Smith Spiegelman Vanderwende YearickSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingHeffernanSenate Absent or Not Voting

Rep. Harris said the bill establishes a standard of care, putting a process in place that provides a path forward for those battling substance abuse.

“As a social worker, I witnessed firsthand the adverse effects of substance use disorder in our community. While helping families find support through their recovery journey, it was evident there was a lack of resources. People on their recovery journey should be in an environment that is safe, healthy, and provides a sense of community,” said Sen. Marie Pinkney, the Senate prime sponsor for HB 114S. “This bill puts in place processes to ensure recovery residencies in Delaware are offering services that are the most effective and safe.”

The bill would take effect when final rules and regulations are promulgated or within six months after the measure is signed into law, whichever comes first.

“As a state, we have a duty to protect the public safety of our citizens, including those who are bravely walking out of addiction and into long-term recovery,” said Rep. Ruth Briggs King. “This measure is designed to ensure that individuals residing within recovery houses in Delaware are in a safe and healthy environment, protected from any harm that may be the result of poorly or fraudulently managed homes. Substance abuse has been described as ‘cunning, baffling and powerful.’ Helping to provide a safe recovery environment for someone struggling with addiction is the intent of this important bill.”

BH 114S will be called the Matthew D. Klosowski Act, in honor Marybeth Cicihocki’s son who died of an accidental overdose of prescription painkillers. 

“After my son’s passing I felt like I had to do something,” said Marybeth Cichocki. “We can’t prey on those who are vulnerable. Addiction truly is a disease. We can’t allow people to come into our state and buy or rent a property and then call it a sober living home. There needs to be a way for the state to come in and ensure that those living in these homes are getting the best support and resources. Certifying these homes and providing standards will give individuals the help they need.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “House Passes Recovery Homes Bill

  1. cassandram

    This is very good. And I hope that these Standards for Recovery Homes will improve the relationships these places have with the neighborhoods they are in.

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