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09/05/2014

DDAP Joins Task Force to Review Recovery House Safety Standards

News for Immediate Release

Sept. 5, 2014

Harrisburg – The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) joined with the Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance, Inc. (Pro-A) today for a meeting of the newly formed Certification of Drug and Alcohol Recovery Houses Task Force, which will provide recommendations that will work to ensure appropriate safety standards for Pennsylvania’s recovery houses.

“Individuals with a substance use disorder require an appropriate level of care while receiving drug and alcohol treatment,” DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis said. “When individuals transition, from treatment services to a recovery house for continued support, they should also have peace of mind that they are provided with safe housing and quality of care needed to sustain them on their path to recovery.”

Recovery houses are not licensed as treatment providers because they do not provide detoxification services, or drug and alcohol counseling. Recovery houses provide individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction with a safe environment to focus on continued recovery from their disease, with a goal toward maintaining their sobriety, and increasing self-sufficiency. 

The Certification of Drug and Alcohol Recovery Houses Task Force is led by Pro-A and will consider both the stigma of addiction, as well as community concerns about the lack of oversight at some recovery houses.  The task force’s goals are to identify recommendations for minimum safety standards for all recovery houses. The chair of the task force is Pro-A Executive Director William Stauffer.

"We are excited about the task force and the opportunity to provide preliminary recommendations to the department, such as safety and recovery house operations that provide the kind of living environment that increases opportunities for long term recovery for residents in these houses,” Stauffer said. “This is important work and we believe we have assembled the right group of people to accomplish the task."

Individuals or family members who are seeking a recovery house should consider asking the following questions:

  • Is the house clean and in good repair?
  • Are there smoke detectors and fire extinguishers?
  • Are there any local ordinance violations on record with the local planning/municipal office?
  • Are there safeguards and rules that ensure the safety and protection of residents?
  • What is the level of supervision at the house?
  • Is there a zero tolerance policy for the use of alcohol or abused drugs?
Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks) also attended today’s meeting.


For more information on the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, visit www.ddap.pa.gov or call 717-783-8200.

Media contact: Carey Miller, DDAP, 717-547-3314

Editor’s note: Members of the Certification of Drug and Alcohol Recovery Houses Task Force include

  • William Stauffer, Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance, Inc. (Pro-A)
  • Melanie Brown, Pa. House Health and Human Services Committee     
  • Michele Denk, Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators (PACDAA)
  • LeeAnn Edelman, Capital Area Behavioral Health Collaborative, Inc.   
  • Denise Holden, RASE Project
  • Philip Falvo, Pa. Legislative Policy and Research Office                       
  • Gary Kaisinger, Emilie House Sober Living
  • Marvin F. Levine, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health/ID Services
  • Kenneth J. Martz, Pa. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • Tyrone Smith, Gaudenzia Recovery House                               
  • Kathy Jo Stence, Pa. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • George Vogel, Council on Chemical Abuse                                
  • Fred Way, Pa. Assoc. of Recovery Residences (PARR)     
  • Fern Bolles-Wilcox, The Gate House for Men                   
  • Ron Young, Pa. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • Jay Youtz, Recovery at Our House, Inc. 

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