Pennsylvania Recovery Houses Urged to Become Licensed During Stop at First Licensed Facility in the Commonwealth

Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones continued Phase 2 of the agency’s statewide stakeholder engagement tour in Monroe County as part of the agency’s Carbon, Monroe and Pike County Engagement Tour.

“Addressing the opioid and overdose public health crises must include effective, evidence-based strategies in SUD prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery – a full spectrum of services and supports,” said Secretary Davis-Jones. “Today was an opportunity to be in some of the actual communities our funding supports and be part of the local treatment and recovery systems, in particular. It was living proof that people can and do recover from the illness of addiction.”

As part of this stop, Secretary Davis-Jones visited Pennsylvania’s first licensed recovery house, We Have a Choice “Justin’s House” for Men, to highlight the importance of houses becoming licensed.

We Have a Choice provides stable housing for up to eight men who are in the early stages of recovery from SUD. The home offers supportive living and daily structure to residents including life skills development, recovery support services, peer support, job search, resume building, and support with community organizations.

“Recovery house licensure is vital so that every person with a substance use disorder has the opportunity to go to a safe place to recover,” said Kenneth Ramirez, We Have a Choice Recovery House Executive Director. “Treatment providers, family members, and the community need to be reassured that clients aren’t being placed in dangerous situations by being referred to unlicensed and unregulated recovery homes. DDAP’s recovery house regulations are in place to provide that safety for a vulnerable population.”

Currently, there are nearly 350 DDAP-licensed recovery houses across the Commonwealth. The purpose of the licensure program is to help empower sustained recovery for individuals with SUD by ensuring a network of safe drug and alcohol recovery houses across the Commonwealth. Individuals can find a listing of licensed recovery houses on DDAP’s website.

Additionally, Secretary Davis-Jones visited DDAP-licensed SUD treatment facility Pyramid Healthcare Stroudsburg Outpatient Treatment Center where she joined individuals receiving services and staff to take part in an interactive music therapy group session designed to assist in individuals’ treatment journey. Pyramid Healthcare’s Stroudsburg outpatient rehabilitation center provides drug and alcohol treatment as well as mental health treatment for adults and teens. Treatment services at the facility include on-site level of care assessments, a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, mental health counseling, peer support services and others.

These stops were in addition to a roundtable discussion held to hear top issues and concerns surrounding the opioid and overdose crises from area treatment providers, prevention specialists, law enforcement and others in the drug and alcohol service delivery field.

Secretary Davis-Jones was joined by Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug & Alcohol Commission, Inc., the Single County Authority (SCA) for drug and alcohol services in Carbon, Monroe, and Pike counties. The commission is both an administrative body and direct service provider for prevention, intervention, case management and outpatient treatment for individuals with SUD.

“As the Single County Authority, we work daily to battle substance use disorder in our communities. This is a comprehensive and collaborative effort with all our partners, from leadership to community members, to address ever-changing SUD needs,” said Jamie Drake, Executive Director of the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug & Alcohol Commission. “Together, we are working to reduce stigma and make the community aware of the local issues, and that recovery matters in Carbon, Monroe, and Pike counties.”

Phase 2 of DDAP’s engagement tour centers on gaining stakeholder insight to assist the agency’s work on regulatory reform and build on the feedback received and solutions instituted as a result of Phase 1.

The Phase 1 findings were derived as a direct result of the feedback received during roundtable discussions held in 2023. Throughout Phase 1, DDAP visited 10 Pennsylvania counties including Allegheny, Erie, Centre and Philadelphia, met with more than 220 stakeholders during the roundtables, and visited nearly 20 different service providers including inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities, DDAP-licensed recovery houses, and wellness centers.

Throughout the remainder of the tour, DDAP will continue to seek input on the agency’s regulatory reform initiative as well as SUD issues related to: ​

  • data requirements and modernization needs​
  • health equity work and advancement​
  • treatment slot management ​
  • improving departmental communications.

Future tour stops will include Westmoreland County, Cambria County, and several others.