PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A new report finds no oversight over private homes that allow individuals to recover from addiction alongside peers in Maine.
At least 76 so-called “sober” homes are operating in Maine, with more than three-quarters in the Portland area, The Bangor Daily News reported. Large swaths of Maine appear to have little access to such homes, and about 80 percent of 39 sober-living homes that provided data were founded in the past five years.
The newspaper found Maine has no official list of sober-living homes, with monthly rent ranging from $400 into the thousands. A bill to create a statewide certification of recovery residences died this session.
Democratic Sen. Shenna Bellows said a lack of regulation in other states has led to problems, according to the Bangor Daily News. In Massachusetts, for example, a sober home operator was charged with offering drugs and legal representation to residents in exchange for sex.
Maine sober homes can voluntary seek accreditation from the newly formed Maine Association for Recovery Residences. So far, 18 of the state’s more than 70 recovery homes have obtained such accreditation.
“The quality of the programs has varied substantially from house to house,” said Bob Fowler, executive director of Milestone Recovery, which runs one of Maine’s two dedicated detox centers and plans to open a recovery residence. “They’ve become a tremendously important component in the system of care for people seeking recovery, and the next evolution is to find some opportunity for consistency and quality management of those programs.”
A few sober homes in Maine are associated with detoxification or treatment centers, or have professional staff. The newspaper found that in most cases, sober homes are opened and run by individuals who have faced addiction themselves and want to help others down that path.
“Portland has an abundance of resources, and we don’t have that here,” said Erik Lamoreau, who opened Aroostook County’s first recovery residence, Allen’s Way, in Caribou last November. “The smaller towns are less open to having facilities like mine because they don’t want addicts congregating together, and they kind of forget that they’re recovering addicts.”
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