Following the overdose of 24-year-old Nick Rohdes of Middleton, NJ, a new legislative movement was started to regulate sober living homes for recovering addicts. Rohdes was found dead of a heroin overdose by his mother, Alba Herrera, in her Pennsylvania home in February 2014.
Herrera was shocked to learn that the day before he died, her son had been thrown out of the recovery home where he had been living. Further research revealed that the home was under investigation for operating without a boardinghouse license and violating the city’s occupancy and zoning codes. The home’s records also revealed multiple instances of mismanagement. For example, Rohdes had not signed the mandatory log-in for the two months leading up to his death. Herrera believes that her son’s life may have been saved had the recovery house notified her of his relapse and eviction.
In response to Rohdes’ death, Governor Chris Christie signed Nick’s Law, which requires recovery houses to notify families if residents relapse, with the residents’ approval. However, advocates say this law is ineffective as there is almost no oversight or regulation for recovery homes in New Jersey.
Thanks to the recent surge of heroin and painkiller abuse, there is a high demand for addict homes in New Jersey. In addition, because they are so loosely regulated, recovery houses can be opened by any individual or business regardless of drug rehabilitation experience. The result is overcrowded, mismanaged homes that are unaccredited and unlicensed, but are still charging residents up to $500 per week.
Efforts have been made to investigate recovery homes as well as to enact legislation placing stricter controls on their operation. The hope is that the laws will soon catch up with the demand, and that recovering addicts will be provided with a safe way to transition back into the community.
New Jersey has strict drug laws with heavy penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug-related offense, email or call the Rosenblum Law Firm at 1-888-979-7551 for a free consultation about your case. Adam H. Rosenblum is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight to defend your rights and to have the charges reduced or dismissed outright.