Recovery residences, (sometimes called halfway houses), provide peer-supported, alcohol-free and drug-free living environments for people who are transitioning back into mainstream life following treatment in an alcohol or drug treatment program, release from prison, or those who are on probation or parole. These residences are not licensed in Georgia. So, while some are legitimate, others may provide substandard living conditions with the goal of lining their owners’ pockets rather than supporting their residents’ recovery. One characteristic of some disreputable recovery residences is an illegal practice known as “patient brokering,” in which the owners accept fees or kickbacks for transporting their residents to certain out-patient treatment providers. Sometimes, these arrangements consist of unlawful agreements in which the recovery houses bring their residents to the treatment providers, and in exchange, the treatment providers refer clients who have completed their in-patient treatment programs to the recovery residences. The passage of Georgia General Assembly Senate Bill 4, which went into effect on July 1, 2021, makes this type of practice illegal. Specifically, the law makes it unlawful for any person, including any substance abuse provider, to pay or offer any compensation, such as a commission, benefit, bonus, rebate, kickback, or bribe, or engage in any split-fee arrangement in exchange for the referral of a person to or from a substance abuse provider. The law also prohibits any person, including a substance abuse provider, from soliciting or receiving any compensation or engaging in any split-fee arrangement for the referral of a person to or from a substance abuse provider or in return for treatment from a substance abuse provider.
To report suspected violations of the statute, consumers should contact their local district attorney or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 404-651-8600 or filing a complaint here.
Finally, while recovery residences are not licensed in Georgia, the Transitional Housing for Offender Reentry (THOR) directory of community-based residential facilities lists recovery residences that have accreditation from one or more of the following agencies: Georgia Association of Recovery Residences (GARR), Department of Community Health (DCH), Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), or Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare (JCAHO). Please note that the state does not endorse the facilities contained in the THOR Directory or the Reentry Partnership Housing Program (RPH) for any purpose other than for potential placement of supervisees who reside in the state of Georgia. Inclusion in either program means that the state may approve placement in the facility.
People who are seeking transitional housing following participation in a drug treatment program, release from prison, or those who are on probation or parole, can find more information about recovery residences from the State Board of Pardons and Paroles here.