Local lawmakers push to regulate halfway homes, substance abuse recovery

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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – Addiction recovery is said to be a challenging journey for those trapped in substance abuse or the opioid epidemic.  

Representative Russel Fry is one of the sponsors pushing a bill that would help those with alcohol or substance abuse addiction have a better chance at achieving long-term recovery. 

Representatives Fry, Dillard, Hewitt, Erickson, Davis, Wooten and Trantham support halfway recovery homes, also known as ‘sober living homes;’ a transitional living facility for those in recovery from drugs or alcohol.

“This is one of several ways in which the state of South Carolina can be proactive and diligent in dealing with the opioid epidemic,” Rep. Fry said. 

One concern comes as other states have tried to uphold similar legislature but have failed to regulate the halfway housing system due to a lack of nationally recognized quality standards. 

“This is a big part in some of these journeys to true recovery, so we want to support that but also want to make sure halfway houses or recovery houses do not go off the rails, so to speak, and perpetuate the problems that currently exist,” Rep. Fry said.  

Leaders say this bill is designed to put guardrails on the system in order for the state to create a supportive networker for the recovery housing community.

If passed, sponsors say South Carolina would commit to putting framework around the systems to ensure there are enough resources in place for addicts and users to “thrive in a true recovery environment,” according to representatives.

“Someone who opens up a recovery house and they have good intentions but because they do not have the support internally or externally or there are not regulations around recovery houses at all, people who are suffering from addiction, sometimes fall into bad habits,” Rep. Fry said. 

The General Assembly found people who are suffering have a higher recovery success rate if given opportunities like halfway housing. 

Rep. Fry said the state would seek help from a credentialing agency to approve state standards for halfway homes, and whichever service is selected will work in coordination with The Department of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Services. 

Section 44-49-320 of the bill quotes…

“‘Recovery housing’ means recovery residences, recovery homes, sober living homes, work-rehab homes, three-quarter houses, and other similar dwellings that provide individuals recovering from alcohol and substance use disorders with a living environment free from alcohol and illicit substance use and centered on peer support and connection to services that promote sustained recovery, including continued sobriety, improved individual health, residential stability, and positive community involvement.”

Despite halfway homes being a topic usually politically unbiased, only one democrat and six republicans sponsor the bill. 

To read more about the bill, click here

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