(1) It is unlawful for any person or agency to act as a substance abuse service provider unless it is licensed or exempt from licensure under this chapter.
(2) A violation of subsection (1) is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(3) The department may maintain an action in circuit court to enjoin the unlawful operation of a substance abuse service provider if the department first gives the violator 14 days’ notice of its intent to maintain such action and the violator fails to apply for licensure within that 14-day period. If the department determines that the health, safety, and welfare of individuals are jeopardized, the department may move to enjoin the operation at any time during the 14-day period. If the service provider has already applied for licensure under this chapter and has been denied licensure, the department may move immediately to obtain an injunction.
(4) In accordance with this subsection, the department may waive rules adopted pursuant to this chapter in order to allow service providers to demonstrate and evaluate innovative or cost-effective substance abuse services alternatives. Rules waivers may be granted only in instances where there is reasonable assurance that the health, safety, or welfare of individuals will not be endangered. To apply for a rules waiver, the applicant must be a service provider licensed under this chapter and must submit to the department a written description of the concept to be demonstrated, including:
(a) Objectives and anticipated benefits.
(b) The number and types of individuals who will be affected.
(c) A description of how the demonstration will be evaluated.
(d) Any other information requested by the department.
A service provider granted a rules waiver under this subsection must submit a detailed report of the results of its findings to the department within 12 months after receiving the rules waiver. Upon receiving and evaluating the detailed report, the department may renew or revoke the rules waiver or seek any regulatory or statutory changes necessary to allow other service providers to implement the same alternative service.
(5) The department shall allow a service provider in operation at the time of adoption of any rule a reasonable period, not to exceed 1 year, to bring itself into compliance with the rule.