Public Safety: Recovery from Substance Abuse

Public Safety Recovery from Substance Abuse HB 19-1009 Support H. Appropriations Reps. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood and Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont; Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Brighton Meghan Dollar This proposed legislation comes from the Opioid and Other Substance Disorders Study Committee. As introduced, the bill required each recovery residence operating in Colorado to be licensed by the department of public health and environment. These recovery residences are also called sober living homes and aim to promote sobriety and independent living for addicted individuals. There was concern among recovery residences operators that licensing was too costly. The bill was amended in committee to reflect a compromise. In order to operate, recovery residences must be certified by the Colorado Association of Recovery Residences, Oxford House, or have been in operation for over 30 years. The legislation also expands the housing voucher program currently within the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to include individuals with a substance use disorder. Finally, the bill creates the opioid crisis recovery fund for money the state receives as settlement or damage awards resulting from opioid-related litigation. CML is particularly interested in the regulation of recovery residences and a potential state fund that could support municipal programs to lower substance abuse addiction in their communities. Recovery residences operate in many municipalities across Colorado. Municipalities have been advocating for a state-level regulatory structure of these facilities due to concerns that local regulation may conflict with federal law. This legislation, as amended, creates that regulatory structure. When the Senate took up the budget bill this week, an amendment was offered and passed that funds the portion of HB 19-1009 that expands the use of housing vouchers through DOLA.