Recovering drug addicts and homeless residents are the lastest the target of a major scam involving unregulated “sober Houses” and drug treatment programs that paid kickbacks on Medicaid reimbursement, according to a New York Times investigation.
An emerging industry in New York City and many other major cities, the sober houses, also known as transitional houses, offer services to the homeless and recovering drug addicts looking for a place to live.
According to the times, former employees and residents, these houses force residents into outpatient treatment programs, often persuading them to relapse in order to continue treatment or face eviction. In many cases, the home violates building codes, packing multiple tenants into small, windowless rooms that often turned into drug dens.
Some of the houses featured are owned by former addicts and the tenants to go to addiction and support treatment groups, even those who weren’t there for addiction. Once tenants finish a treatment program, they are enrolled in another one in order to remain in the house. In one instance, Medicaid pays thousands for one tenant’s treatment in three different programs.
Investigations into the sober houses are under way in various cities and towns. Stay tuned.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.