Novus Medical Detox Center Says Regulating Sober Homes Will Benefit Residents and Communities

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While sober home legislation often faces challenges due to federal laws preventing discrimination against recovering addicts, Novus Medical Detox Center maintains that sober home regulations can play a key role in residents’ successful recovery.

Novus Medical Detox Center CFO, Bryn Wesch, comments on the regulations needed in sober homes.

Novus is a strong proponent of sober home regulations, and we truly believe they are in the best interests of those struggling to overcome alcoholism and addiction.

State lawmakers across the country have faced ongoing challenges in their efforts to regulate sober homes, which are currently allowed to operate as a business in residential neighborhoods because recovering alcoholics and addicts are protected under federal anti-discrimination laws (1, 2, 3). However, Novus Medical Detox Center, a leading Florida-based drug treatment facility, asserts that sober home regulations and standards can help improve outcomes for those struggling to overcome addiction without compromising their rights or privacy, and maintains that such measures would also address the concerns of neighboring homeowners.

In Novus’ home state of Florida, recent bills aimed at regulating sober homes—also called halfway houses or recovery residences—did not make it through the state legislature, though funds were approved for a study of relevant industry laws (1). In Palm Beach County, “known for decades as the addiction treatment capital of America,” homeowners are calling for action against sober homes and maintain they should not be allowed to operate in neighborhoods zoned as single-family residential (2). Meanwhile, city officials in Palm Beach County are following the progress of local ordinances in Costa Mesa, California, where sober home restrictions have withstood legal challenges but are currently under appeal (3).

“Novus is a strong proponent of sober home regulations, and we truly believe they are in the best interests of those struggling to overcome alcoholism and addiction,” said Bryn Wesch, CFO of Novus Medical Detox Center. “Detox and rehab facilities are regulated and accredited to ensure patients’ safety and a proper standard of care. But since sober homes are unregulated, there is no way to tell if individuals with substance abuse disorders are receiving the support they need for a successful recovery or if lax oversight may put them at risk for a relapse.”

Wesch maintains that certification of sober homes is an important step in the right direction. A Florida law passed last year encouraged voluntary certification by stipulating that as of July 1, 2016, licensed residential drug treatment centers would only be allowed to refer their patients to certified sober homes (4). The Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) requires sober homes to meet 48 standards to earn certification; these include mandates that benefit residents—such as onsite laundry facilities and at least one bathroom for every four residents—as well as good-neighbor policies, such as parking, loitering and smoking rules (4). But as of March 2016, it was unclear if FARR would receive the funding it needs to oversee and enforce the certification requirements (1).

“Sober home operators that are genuinely concerned for their residents’ wellbeing should welcome the opportunity to obtain certification,” stated Wesch. “It not only shows their commitment to their clients’ recovery but also demonstrates a good-faith effort to address the concerns of neighboring homeowners. However, the ongoing opposition from some operators suggests that they are driven by profits rather than clients’ positive outcomes. We believe well-considered regulations, certification and standardization can benefit residents without imposing on Fair Housing Act protections for the disabled and those recovering from substance use disorders, and will help create an environment that is conducive to successful long-term recovery.”

Novus offers medically supervised alcohol and drug treatment programs that are designed to help patients overcome withdrawal symptoms with minimal discomfort. The Florida detox facility provides individually customized treatment plans based on proven medical protocols, including 24-hour access to nursing care and withdrawal specialists. Novus is acclaimed for its expertise in treating high-dose methadone cases, and is proficient in detoxing patients from prescription medications, illicit drugs and alcohol just as safely, comfortably and effectively.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox Center and its alcohol and drug treatment programs, visit

About Novus Medical Detox Center:
Novus Medical Detox Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation as an inpatient medical detox facility. Licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Novus provides safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs that are based on proven medical protocols and designed to minimize the discomfort of withdrawal. The facility is located on 3.25 acres in New Port Richey, Florida, in a tranquil, spa-like setting bordering protected conservation land. Intent on proving that detox doesn’t have to be painful or degrading, Novus set out to transform the industry by bringing humanity into medical detox with individually customized treatment programs and 24/7 access to nursing care and withdrawal specialists. Today, Novus is renowned as a champion of industry standardization and a staunch advocate of patients fighting to overcome substance use disorders. Frequently recognized for its contributions to the industry and local community, Novus has become a regular source to media publications such as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and has ranked in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50, the Florida Business Journal’s Top 500 and the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. For more information on Novus’ medically supervised detox programs, visit

1.    Mower, Lawrence and Christine Stapleton. “Session Ends With Sober Home Legislation Knocked Down to a Study”; Palm Beach Post; March 9, 2016.

2.    Capozzi, Joe. “Sober Home Invasion”; Palm Beach Post; May 1, 2016.

3.    Gottesman, Marisa. “Palm Beach County Cities Tracking Sober Home Regulations in California”; Sun Sentinel; February 5, 2016.

4.    Stapleton, Christine. “Sober-Homes Law’s Effect Will Take Time — Like Turning a Battleship”; Palm Beach Post; June 14, 2015.

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Karla Jo Helms
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