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Ohio codifies recovery residence principles in groundbreaking legislation

August 4, 2014
by Beth Fisher, LCSW, LCAS, MAC, CCS
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This June saw a seminal event for the industry of recovery residences. The Ohio General Assembly passed unprecedented legislation that the industry hopes will serve as a template for other state governments. Lori Criss, associate director of the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers, reports: “There’s a plan for $10 million to flow through [the] Ohio [Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services] into Ohio communities for RH in the next couple of years. There’s also a definition of recovery housing that has been adopted in Ohio statute that reads:

"Recovery housing" means housing for individuals recovering from drug addiction that provides an alcohol and drug-free living environment, peer support, assistance with obtaining drug addiction services, and other drug addiction recovery assistance.”

Criss goes on to report: “There are a number of other provisions that affect our work; most I’m very happy with and we’ll watchdog rules and practices that come out of the language.”

Highlights of the legislation's provisions include these:

  • It requires that recovery housing be included in a continuum of care established by local Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) boards and that funds be withheld by the state if the board fails to plan for a complete continuum. Providers can be directly funded if funds are withheld from a board.

  • Recovery housing can be owned and operated by a community addiction services provider or other local nongovernmental organization (including a peer-run recovery organization).

  • ADAMHS boards can only own and operate recovery housing if they already do on the effective date of the law, or if there is an emergency need to do so and board ownership represents a last resort.

  • Recovery housing shall have protocols for administrative oversight, quality standards, policies and procedures, including house rules to which residents must agree to adhere.

  • Family members of the recovery housing's residents may reside in the recovery housing to the extent the recovery housing’s protocol permits.

  • Length of stay cannot be limited to an arbitrary or fixed amount of time but shall be determined by the resident’s needs, progress, and willingness to abide by the recovery housing’s protocols, in collaboration with the recovery housing’s owner and, if appropriate, in consultation and integration with a community addiction services provider.

  • Recovery housing may permit its residents to receive medication-assisted treatment at the housing.

  • Recovery housing may not provide addiction services but may assist a resident in obtaining addiction services that are certified by OhioMHAS. Addiction services may be provided at the recovery housing or elsewhere.

  • OhioMHAS must create a plan for a resource hub on recovery housing in Ohio. The plan must be submitted to the Ohio General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2014.

This is very good news for Ohio recovery housing and the recovery residence industry overall, as it is the first significant funding to be granted to establish a residential infrastructure within the addiction recovery continuum of support.

To learn more about the Ohio legislation, click here. For more information about recovery residences, click here.

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Beth Fisher Sanders

CEO/Executive Director, Hope Homes Recovery

Beth Fisher Sanders

@RecoveryBeth

www.narronline.org www.hopehomesrecovery.org

Beth Fisher Sanders has been working in the field of addictions recovery since 1987. In long-...