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Stuart Calls for “Vigorous” Oversight and Statewide Review of Sober Living Homes



CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Senator Mike Stuart (R) Kanawha- 7th District, and candidate for
West Virginia Attorney General, today proposed more vigorous oversight of “sober living
facilities” and a review of existing facilities to ensure consistent treatment standards, proper safety requirements, compliance with existing regulations, and adequate oversight.

“We need to get a handle on sober living facilities in West Virginia,” said State
Senator and candidate for Attorney General Mike Stuart. “It has become too
confusing for moms and dads that simply want to get legitimate help for their child. West
Virginia needs more good treatment and rehab centers but, today, there are some bad
players in the industry especially in the sober home segment of the treatment

Sober-living homes have been in the news increasingly over the past few years. Last year,
the City of Huntington filed a federal lawsuit for safety concerns against the operator of
fourteen sober living homes in and around the city. Most recently, according to news
reports, multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating a death of a patient that
occurred at a Jackson County rehabilitation facility. The Jackson County Sheriff cited
multiple issues including a lack of Narcan at the facility as well as employees with existing
outstanding arrest warrants.

“Human trafficking. The exploitation of vulnerable populations. Importing out-of-state drug
addicts. The Legislature needs to address the growing issue of so-called “sober homes,”
continued Stuart. “Today there is too little oversight of so-called sober homes and they
are popping up across West Virginia. We don’t even know the number of sober homes
that are currently operating in West Virginia. Some are certified. Too many are not. Drug
treatment and rehab play a critical role in rebuilding communities and the lives of those
that fell prey to the diabolical scourge of the drug crisis. Sober living homes can play an
important role in the process but they have to be legitimate homes for recovery.”

“The credibility of the treatment community is a growing concern with uncertified sober living homes popping up across West Virginia. These sober living facilities often operate in the shadows, outside of standard review and oversight, and too often are not patient-
focused or grounded in a culture of real treatment and rehabilitation,” – SENATOR MIKE STUART (R) – KANAWHA

“We need legitimate treatment and rehab facilities but too many of these so-called sober living facilities operate counter to the intention of true rehab. Those who seek treatment should be able to feel confident that they are receiving legitimate treatment.”

During his term as US Attorney, Stuart was personally involved the rehabilitation and treatment communities. Stuart successfully prosecuted the largest Medicaid fraud case in West Virginia history and is credited with targeting the removal of fentanyl off the streets of West Virginia estimated to kill more than 40 million people, spearheaded the largest drug raid in the history of West Virginia (“Operation Saigon Sunset” in Huntington) that targeted nearly 100 defendants with more than 250 law enforcement officers at the federal, state and local levels, prosecuted one of the largest elder fraud prosecutions in the country in 2019, and led the largest methamphetamine bust in state history.

“As the next Attorney General of West Virginia, I am deeply committed to expanding and
improving rehab and treatment for those seeking recovery and redemption,” said Stuart.
“Overdose records are broken every single year. It’s devastating and, in the case of some
sober homes, we too often re-victimize those seeking help. The drug scourge is bad
enough without individuals being re-victimized by poorly-operated sober homes in which
there are no reviewed treatment standards. Of course, when there are federal or state
dollars available, ‘bad guys’ are always there to reap the reward.”

Stuart continued, “The Attorney General is in a unique role to substantially impact the
fight against substance abuse and the fraudsters who operate within the recovery
industry. A coordinated statewide response for dealing comprehensively with the drug crisis with an Attorney General given the tools to wage the battle could make a big difference.”



  • Staff Writer

    From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting “Staff Writer” indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.

From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting "Staff Writer" indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.