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December 03, 2020

Reps. Trone, Chu, and Levin Introduce Legislation to Expand Availability of High-Quality Recovery Housing for Those With Addiction


Contact: Hannah Muldavin,

Reps. Trone, Chu, and Levin Introduce Legislation to Expand Availability of High-Quality Recovery Housing for Those With Addiction

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives David Trone (MD-06), Judy Chu (CA-27), and Mike Levin (CA-49) introduced the Excellence in Recovery Housing Act, which would help states expand the availability of high-quality recovery housing as an option for those in and seeking recovery from a substance use disorder.

Over 20 million Americans identify as being in recovery from a substance use disorder, and many rely on “sober homes,” a family-like communal living experience in which individuals agree to abstain from substance use in order to aid their recovery. Given the high demand for this treatment option, studies have shown that there is a shortage of beds in recovery housing. Many state and local governments do not currently regulate the quality of these homes.

The Excellence in Recovery Housing Act would require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in coordination with national accrediting entities and reputable providers of recovery housing services, to develop guidelines for states to promote the availability of high-quality recovery housing. The bill would also:

  • Provide grants to states to implement these guidelines and promote high-quality housing,
  • Require the National Academy of Sciences to study the issue and issue a report. The report must include recommendations for increasing availability, improving data collection, and improving inclusivity for individuals who take medication-assisted treatment. The report will also review state or local allegations or legal actions regarding the opening and operation of recovery housing, and
  • Create an interagency working group, chaired by SAMHSA and HUD, to increase collaboration among federal agencies in promoting the availability of high-quality recovery housing.

“We’re seeing spikes of overdoses all across the country due to COVID-19, and we need to invest in ways to help those with substance use disorders get to treatment and recovery,” said Rep. Trone, founder of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction and member of the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking. “We know how important safe, substance-free living is for Americans in recovery. This bill gets us the data and best practices we need to replicate and multiply successful recovery housing models across the nation. I couldn’t be more proud to work with Representatives Chu and Levin on this much-needed bill that will help us end the stigma surrounding substance use disorders and save lives.”

“For millions of Americans living with addiction and the millions more who love them, entering a recovery residence, or ‘sober home’, is an incredibly significant step that means hope of a life beyond addiction,” said Rep. Chu. “But that hope can be fragile, as recovery is a delicate time requiring skilled, professional attention. That is why we must ensure that recovery housing is actually providing the safe and stable environment we expect. Sadly, I have heard too many stories of those who have lost someone while they were in recovery because the staff lacked training to recognize things like the signs of an overdose. That is why the Excellence in Recovery Housing Act is so important. This bill builds on my legislation, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act, that first called for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to issue guidelines to states on quality recovery residences. The Excellence in Recovery Housing Act will help SAMHSA improve those guidelines, and provides resources for states to promote the availability of high-quality recovery residences. Additionally, the bill commissions a study so we can understand the gaps in access to recovery residences in this country. If we want to defeat this opioid crisis, we must put the resources into providing quality care to those who need it. That is what this bill will do, and I’m grateful to Rep. Trone for his leadership in introducing it with me.”

“As we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget about the substance abuse crisis and the desperate need to improve recovery services,” said Rep. Levin. “For far too long, many Americans have sought support at recovery homes that provide substandard care, failing to provide those who are struggling with the opportunity to recover. We can make real progress in addressing the substance abuse crisis by creating higher standards for recovery homes, and I am proud to partner with Congressman Trone on that effort.”

“Tens of thousands of individuals rely on recovery housing each year as an essential resource for overcoming addiction and achieving stable recovery. However, for years it has been under-resourced and poorly supported. This has led to a lack of needed quality recovery housing capacity and has created significant barriers to recovery, especially for our most vulnerable and under-served populations,” said Dave Sheridan, Executive Director of National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR). “This legislation takes significant steps to address those deficiencies. It will provide states with the expertise to establish and expand systems of recovery housing operated in alignment with national best practices. It will bring together needed policy expertise from several federal agencies and national organizations. It will build on significant advances in standards and establishment of best practices. Most importantly it will support the increased availability of quality recovery housing where it is most needed, strengthening our nation’s effectiveness in the fight against addiction. NARR enthusiastically supports its passage.”

For bill text, click here.

For bill summary, click here.

For a section by section, click here.

This legislation has been endorsed by Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Behavioral Health Association of Providers, California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Professionals, Faces & Voices of Recovery, Live4Lali, National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery), National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR), National Council for Behavioral Health, Partnership to End Addiction, SMART Recovery, The Kennedy Forum, Treatment Communities of America, and Well Being Trust.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees, where he is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.