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Sober/Transitional Living Facility Resources - Massachusetts
Frequently Asked Questions

Addiction Treatment Centers

  1. What types of chemical dependency services are offered in Massachusetts?

  2. The following types of treatment services may be offered in Massachusetts with appropriate licensure: Read More

  3. What does it mean to be “licensed,” “certified,” or “accredited” in this industry?

  4. A license means that a facility or professional may operate or may deliver services with the advance and continuous authorization of a designated government agency, which is done to ensure protection of public health, safety, and welfare. Read More

    Licensing & Certification
  5. What kind of licensure and certifications are required to operate a chemical dependency treatment program in Massachusetts?

  6. Facilities must be licensed to operate programs that provide treatment services. Certification is generally optional; however, alcohol and drug free housing must be in order to obtain referrals from state agencies. Read More

  7. How can the licensing and credentialing agencies in Massachusetts be reached?

  8. Bureau of Substance Abuse Services
    Department of Public Health
    250 Washington Street Read More

  9. How does a treatment facility obtain a license?

  10. Applicants for an initial license or approval must submit an application to the Department on an approved form obtained from the Department, together with any other documents and materials that the Department deems appropriate. Read More

  11. How does a treatment facility renew, amend, or terminate its license?

  12. Applicants for renewal must submit completed forms and fees required by the Department at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the current license or approval. Read More

    Alcohol and Drug Free Housing

  13. What is alcohol and drug free housing?

  14. Alcohol and drug free housing, also known as sober living facilities, are transitional alcohol and drug free residential settings with rules, peer-led groups, activities and/or other structured operations. Read More

    Licensing & Certification
  15. Is a license or certification required to open alcohol and drug free housing?

  16. Alcohol and drug free housing are unlicensed facilities, which can offer sober housing with rules, peer-led groups, staff activities and/or other structured operations for persons in early recovery... Read More

  17. How can alcohol and drug free housing facilities demonstrate their commitment to meeting minimum quality standards?

  18. Sober homes may devise their own quality standards. NARR provides a Code of Ethics that is used by sober homes in many states and is available here: Read More

  19. What kind of services can alcohol and drug free housing offer?

  20. Alcohol and drug free housing provides a structured alcohol and drug free environment for congregate living that offers regularly scheduled peer-led or community gatherings (self-help groups, etc.) Read More

    Zoning and Land Use
  21. What are the protections afforded by federal law to small group homes used for the purpose of sustained recovery?

  22. A recovery house with six or fewer people is generally exempt from zoning and land use regulations based on federal and state law, and need not seek municipal approval to operate. Read More

  23. Can local governments put special restrictions on alcohol and drug free housing?

  24. This area of law is complex and evolving. It is well settled that state and federal law prohibit local governments from discriminating against or treating the residents of sober living homes differently... Read More

  25. What other aspects should an operator consider before choosing a location for alcohol and drug free housing?

  26. In siting alcohol and drug free housing, attention should be paid to potential hostility from neighbors. While federal and state law protect the right to operate sober living residences of six or fewer people in any residential community... Read More

    Residents’ Rights and Responsibilities
  27. What are alcohol and drug free housing operators’ obligations to residents?

  28. In general, operators of sober living houses should agree to the following: (1) to enforce that the premises remain safe and free of intoxicant use; (2)... Read More

  29. What kind of agreement should alcohol and drug free housing operators ask residents to sign?

  30. As a general matter, the housing agreement should include: (1) a pledge from the client to live by the house rules, including to abstain from drug and alcohol use and... Read More

  31. Can an alcohol and drug free house insist on drug tests and searches?

  32. As a general matter, alcohol and drug free housing does not have the right to impose testing or searches without consent. Read More

  33. Can alcohol and drug free housing bill insurance for required and/or random drug testing?

  34. Alcohol and drug free housing sometimes rely on the drug screening that takes place when the resident attends outpatient services, although they may make use of drug testing equipment... Read More

  35. Can an alcohol and drug free house make clients’ obligations contractually enforceable?

  36. Yes, as long as the obligations are enforceable under Massachusetts law in general and any applicable laws relating to landlord and tenants. Read More

    Governance and Staffing
  37. What kind of ownership and staffing structures are common with alcohol and drug free housing?

  38. Alcohol and drug free housing may be structured as a nonprofit corporation, a for-profit corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or a sole owner arrangement. Read More

  39. Are there any other organizations from which alcohol and drug free housing operators could find more information?

  40. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    http://www.samhsa.gov/ Read More

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