Reps. Stewart & Frankel Call for Better Oversight of Unregulated Sober Homes

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) have sent a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ investigative arm, requesting a review of federal and state oversight of sober homes. 

“Far too many of us have been personally affected by addiction to drugs and alcohol, and helping people recover should be our top priority,” Stewart said. “Ensuring that we have safe, licensed and registered homes that are part of the community is essential to the recovery process.”

“Sober homes are supposed to be the last step in addiction recovery, where individuals prepare to transition back into the community,” Frankel said. “Sadly, in too many cases, sober homes are failing both the patients and the communities in which they live. Information from GAO will help us crack down on abusive sober homes and protect those in recovery.”

“Sober home” is a name given to group homes for individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Their purpose is to help addicts who have completed addiction treatment transition back to everyday life in a residential, community environment.

In recent years, there has been a significant proliferation of unregulated sober homes across the country. This has changed the residential character of communities and caused serious problems for neighbors and local governments. Unscrupulous sober home operations undermine the recovery of persons struggling with addiction. In the worst cases, residents who overdose are left on the curb side to die.

The letter asks GAO for information, including the number of sober homes in each state, how many individuals they serve, how they can be regulated at each level of government, how effective their services are, and their relationship with Medicaid and other federally-funded healthcare programs.

A copy of the Stewart-Frankel letter can be found here.

The letter was also signed by Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ed Royce (R-CA), Bill Keating (D-MA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and Mia Love (R-UT).