CBS12 Investigates: Sober home regulations
PALM BEACH COUNTY (CBS12) —
City, state and federal officials are now asking for help figuring out how to regulate sober homes in Palm Beach County.
Sober homes are designed to help people recover from drug and alcohol addiction.
As CBS12 Investigates reported Wednesday night, they are abundant in neighborhoods throughout our area.
Mayor Cary Glickstein of Delray Beach estimates there are more than 800 sober homes now in operation within the city.
City officials say the sober home industry is overwhelming first responders, hospitals and police.
Families across the area are not happy about living right next door to a make-shift recovery centers and want to know what is being done to address the growing issue.
"It's very manpower intensive," said Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman.
"It definitely drives everything we're doing right now,” Goldman added. “When you're running fifty percent of your stuff with one community that becomes taxing."
The police department is part of a multi-agency task force the state attorney formed to come up with recommendations on how to deal the epidemic.
Officials hope to drive off bad sober home operators while protecting recovering addicts.
"We also have an aggressive code enforcement group that we will go to houses that have repeat overdoses,” added Goldman. “We've actually closed houses down using code enforcement."
The task force has until January 17, 2017 to report back to state lawmakers with its legislation proposals.
"We have too many in certain neighborhoods,” said U.S. Representative Lois Frankel. “It's changing the character of the neighborhood.”
CBS12 Investigates also asked what is being done on a federal level.
"At the federal level we are working on getting guidance from the federal agencies that would enable the local governments to craft good legislation that abides with federal law,” said Frankel. “It would have balance between the need to get people back into a community who have been addicted to drugs.”
Frankel sent a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Department of Housing and Urban Development requesting a review of federal and state oversight of sober homes.
Frankel says she is still waiting on the Justice Department to sign off.
Frankel's office called saying in response to last night's report, Washington is taking notice.
The Sober Home Task Force established a tip line for recovering addicts, doctors, counselors or community members to report questionable business practices.
The toll free hotline is 1-844-324-5463.