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Tennessee bills regulate sober homes and marketing

May 30, 2018
by Tom Valentino, Senior Editor
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Legislation recently passed in Tennessee will allow municipalities within the state to require a sober home to post signage identifying the property as a sober living facility. Signs will be required to include:

  • That the property is a recovery home;
  • That the facility is not licensed or funded by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services;
  • That the facility does not provide treatment services.

Signage is also to include contact information for the Tennessee Redline, which provides information on addiction recovery services.

The legislation is an amended version of HB 1929. The initial version of the bill included several additional requirements for the operation of sober homes within the state, including providing documentation to the municipality in which the home is located and establishing and complying with an operational plan.

Mary-Linden Salter, executive director of Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & other Services (TAADAS), tells BHE that legislative liaisons from TAADAS and the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services worked with bill co-sponsor Rep. Michael Curcio to amend the bill after raising concerns it would have unintended consequences for the industry in its initial form.

“[Curcio’s] concern had been that some people he knew had gotten into some sober living situations where the nature of the facility was not really clear,” Salter says. “He thought that by creating this bill, he could provide some structure, so that the facility environment more accurately portrayed what a sober living [home] should be.”

The Tennessee legislature also recently passed HB 2068, which creates criminal offenses relating to the marketing of addiction treatment services by providers, facilities and third-party marketers. Among the activities covered under the bill: creating false/misleading statements in marketing materials, creating websites and links that surreptitiously direct readers to other sites, and engaging in undisclosed kickback programs for patient referrals.

Editor’s note: A previous article, which reported on Tennessee House Bill 1929 without its amendments, is no longer available.

 

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