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17 Dec 2021

Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs announces licensure program for drug and alcohol recovery houses

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December 17, 2021 Category: Stateside Posted by:

HARRISBURG, PA –The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) announced today that the licensure program for drug and alcohol recovery houses is open and accepting applications. The licensure program for recovery houses will help to empower sustained recovery for individuals with substance use disorder by ensuring a network of safe drug and alcohol recovery houses across the commonwealth.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery houses as “safe, healthy, family-like substance-free living environments that support individuals in recovery from addiction.”

“The Wolf Administration is dedicated to ensuring that Pennsylvanians are supported through all phases of their recovery journey,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “Without recovery housing standards or protections, there are unknown numbers of substandard facilities who may be exploiting this vulnerable population. These regulations are a significant step in ensuring safe, supportive housing for Pennsylvanians in recovery from substance use disorder.”

The recovery house licensing regulations contain a number of provisions designed to protect residents in the areas of health and safety, finances, and resident rights, some of which include:

•  Staff training on administering naloxone, CPR, first aid and requirement of naloxone on the premises;

•  Notification of emergency contact as a result of resident hospitalization, death, or not returning within 12 hours of expected time;

•  Pennsylvania State Police criminal history check for all staff and volunteers;

•  Nondiscriminatory practices based on age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression; and


•  Documentation of all financial transactions with residents and establishment of a written agreement before assisting in any management of resident funds.

In 2017, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 446 into law as Act 59, which gave DDAP the power and duty to license drug and alcohol recovery houses that receive referrals from state agencies or state-funded facilities, or receive federal or state funding.

On October 21, 2021, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) unanimously approved DDAP’s Regulations on Standards for Drug and Alcohol Recovery House Licensure. On December 11, 2021, the regulations were published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, allowing DDAP to begin the licensing process across the commonwealth.

Recovery houses can find more information regarding the application process on the DDAP website. Drug and alcohol recovery houses are required to be licensed in order to receive referrals from state agencies or state-funded facilities or to receive federal or state funding to deliver recovery house services. Information on locating licensed recovery houses and inspection reports of recovery houses will be publicly available on the DDAP website in the coming months.

Individuals seeking treatment or substance use supports for themselves or a loved one can always call the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The free, confidential hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by trained professionals. A live chat option is also available online or via text message at 717-216-0905 for those seeking help who may not be comfortable speaking to a helpline operator.

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