Earlier this week, State Rep. Frank Farry announced Senate Bill 446 on recovery housing in Pennsylvania has moved to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.

Currently, in PA there are no regulations in place to oversee recovery-based facilities which offer assistance to individuals with substance abuse problems amidst the “opioid epidemic.”

“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 in a statement.

The Bill outlines policies and procedures for inspection of recovery homes and penalties for violators.

Farry said Sen. Tommy Tomilson, of Bensalem, was “instrumental” in getting the legislation passed in the state Senate on Wednesday, the prime sponsor Sen. Thomas McGarrigle.

Tomlinson understands the growing number of recovery houses in the Bucks community, and said, “This bill was an important step forward ensuring residents are safe.”

The guidelines are based on recommendations from the Certification of Drug and Alcohol Recovery Houses Task Force (CDARH), which Farry helped establish in 2014.

The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) is directed to include the following during 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 made up of recovery house owners/operators, county and state drug and alcohol agencies, and advocacy and recovery support groups take the federal Americans with Disabilities Act into consideration when planning.

In the past, Gov. Tom Wolf expressed support for State Reps Farry and Tina Davis’ work towards recovery homes. According to reports, he should sign the bill soon.

“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.”

Farry called Pat Wandling, host of Speak Your Piece on WBCB 1490 AM to discuss the recovery homes legislation, the State Rep’s experience with the fire department, and more. Click below to listen to their full conversation: