INDUSTRY NEWS: Sober Living Certification Proposal

Earlier this year, Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez reintroduced AB 285, which seeks to establish a licensure and registration process for sober living homes in California.


AB 285 will help establish standards and regulations for the treatment industry, by developing an accreditation process for sober living homes. A certified sober living home is a “drug-and alcohol-free residence”, which is defined in the bill as a residential property that provides an alcohol and drug free living environment that supports personal growth and recovery. The State Department of Health Care Services will designate an approved organization to supervise and oversee the certification process.


There is a growing need for competent treatment services, but the lack of regulation and oversight can lead to misconduct, placing individuals in recovery at-risk. Studies show that clients who live in a structured drug and alcohol free environment are significantly more likely to maintain their sobriety, so it is imperative that treatment facilities provide a responsive setting that supports personal recovery.

Under a standardized system, access to treatment services can be expanded and clients will have the security and comfort in knowing their sober living residence meets state certification.


On and after January 1, 2020, all referring entities, including state and county agencies and vendors, will first refer clients to licensed or certified drug and alcohol free residences. Individuals looking for recovery homes will have access to a registry of certified sober living residences that will be available on a state-approved website.

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