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Senator Jeff Clemens, District 31 — Press Release


February 9, 2017

CONTACT: Chauncey Graham, 8504875031

Florida Lawmakers persist in their efforts to protect vulnerable Floridians, fix Sober Homes issue

Tallahassee —

Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) and Representative Bill Hager (R-Boca Raton) have been working for several years to put the brakes on the unchecked proliferation of sober homes.  They will continue their work this upcoming Session making sure that Floridians in recovery get the care they need while keeping our communities safe.

Building on a policy that makes it easier for the state to track recovery residences, SB 788, which was filed yesterday in the Senate, cracks down on fraudulent marketing and patient brokering.  Unethical marketing practices purposefully mislead patients and their families, mostly motivated by profit.  The bill creates licensing and certification standards for marketers directing patients to specific treatment programs and provides criminal penalties for violators.  In addition, the measure implements an effective and comprehensive plan to control the housing component of the recovery and treatment process and eliminate the exploitation of those in recovery by providers and residence operators.

“It’s hard to measure the strain that has been placed on families and communities by those sober homes operators taking advantage of the system,” Clemens said.  “The good operators have joined with us to improve the system for everyone.”

“Sober homes provide assistance for recovering alcohol and drug addicts. This legislation puts in place a standard of care which will benefit the residents of these homes and their neighbors while the patients continue on the road to recovery,” Hager said. “This bill puts in place new regulations across the state for the benefit of Floridians.”

The recommended changes are the result of the Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force led by Dave Aronberg, State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit.  The Task Force is made up of three groups: a Law Enforcement Task Force to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing criminal laws, a Proviso Task Force to study the issues and make specific legislative changes and regulatory enhancements, and a larger, more inclusive group of industry representatives, public officials, private organizations, and individuals. 

Representative Hager will file a companion bill in the House of Representatives.