Who regulates addiction recovery houses?

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Addiction recovery houses are meant to be a safe, structured place for recovering drug addicts to live as they get sober. We found out that the Pennsylvania Department of Drugs and Alcohol doesn’t regulate or license these facilities unless there is drug or alcohol treatment provided on the premises. Neither do most municipalities. “We don’t regulate the running of the house. That’s up to the particular business, person or whoever owns the property and is running that particular use there,” said Walter Siderio, Zoning Officer with the City of Lancaster.

“You can go out and rent five houses and call them sober houses and move people in and you are just renting rooms,” said Kathy Sorandes, Director of Choices Recovery House. She runs a tight ship to help recovering drug addicts get sober. “We do routine room checks, we do routine drug testing,” said Sorandes. She thinks the lack of regulation could be putting recovering addicts safety at risk. “The people coming into these houses are fighting a disease that wants to kill them.”

She recommends you do your research before moving into one of these homes. “The families really don’t know a lot of times. Their child is going into a sober atmosphere for the first time after coming out of a treatment center. Try to get references, find out who the house manager is and how often they are at the house. Find out how often the clients are being drug tested and what their requirements are to live there,” said Sorandes.


  • Fred Botz

    One in six people have a drug or alcohol problem. This means that there is a very high likelihood that there is a so called “junkie” or “alkie” a door or two down in any direction from where you live. And guess what? They are the people who are more likely to cause problems in the neighborhood since they are still using. But get a group of people who recognize their problem, want to do something about it and are not relying on anyone but themselves in making sure their past is not repeated AND admit their shortcomings publicly: suddenly everyone gets all butt hurt and, “not in MY back yard!”

    Addicts and alcoholics get enough grief for their disease. Yes, it is recognized by the AMA and every other medical establishment world wide as a proven neurological disease. People with this disease are discarded and spit on when their disease is active. And society continues to discard and spit on them even when they have proven themselves to be clean, responsible and productive members of society.

    It there were a set of private homes for cancer patients who are fully functional and in remission, people would be over there praising them for their courage and donating to their needs, even though most of them have cancer from smoking or some other unhealthy and destructive choice. And no one even DARE think about “regulating” their homes or lives. But…addicts. A completely different and hypocritical attitude.


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