Arrest of owner of Roxbury sober house raises questions

WBUR reports on the aftermath of the arrest of David Perry on charges he gave drugs to residents of the sober house he owned in exchange for sex - even as he was battling his own addiction issues.





It's Time to Regulate

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I think it's time for the City of Boston and other state Regulators should to begin monitoring documenting and regulating all Sober Houses or similar businesses in the City of Boston and possibly Statewide. One of those regulations should include but not limited to random drug testing all staff members including the rectus of these facilities along with extensive background checks.

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Complex questions

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Questions about addiction problems and sex abuse are complex but we keep looking for simple solutions that end up in failure. Ending the needle exchange program has resulted in thousands of discarded needles in parks,schoolyards and bathrooms. Allowing addicts to live in elderly housing because of being disabled has caused problems. In some cases sober houses have been run by scam artists like Mr. Perry who have preyed on those who need help. The city of Quincy's battle with Boston over the building of the bridge to Long Island so the Long Island shelter can reopen is the classic case of NIMBY. Allowing level three sex offenders to stay in shelters causes other homeless folks to seek shelter in train stations such as South and North station because clients both male and female are fearful of sex offenders.

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I've worked with former clients of RES/Safehaven

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As a clinician and program manager in the substance user health field, I felt as though it was important to discuss this unfortunate series of events.

These are troubling allegations given the substantial power that recovery homes can leverage over clients. Many homes will require urine drug testing and request approval by outside medical professionals to avoid the pricey cost for these tests. The issue with that revolves around the coverage by insurance providers and the mandate that urine drug screening is only approved when it is for the purposes of medical supervision.

As programs like Mr. Perry's are often run by peers or other non-clinical professionals, these actions create a disturbing conflict of interest. Further, vulnerable and desperate clients are put into a position where they either find a willing provider to sign-off, or face eviction. Many health centers have begun to adopt policies which explicitly state that they will not authorize drug screens for this purpose.

Complicating this is the fact that several labs have been linked to businesses which are connected to the managers of these sober houses as well. Essentially, they are financially benefiting from the very lab services that are supposed to be independent. That perverse incentive is a direct violation of regulations, and ultimately expose the very real need that formal certification through the DPH Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS), and the requirement of licensed clinical staffing as well as evidence-based standards of care, are desperately needed.

Regarding the allegations that Mr. Perry, and others like him, are engaging in inappropriate behavior which exploits a significant power dynamic, there is a saying in the recovery services community: "It all comes out in the wash".

I hope that this case puts other program owners and managers on notice that there is a number of initiatives underway to ensure that unethical and illegal practices are dealt with, and that perpetrators of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, are held responsible and punished accordingly. Further, as there are several treatment centers which have contractual relationships to refer clients for aftercare at some of the most notorious offenders, it is likely that investigations will lead to additional charges.

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It's always been well known

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that sober houses were generally scandalous. This guy Perry has been on the radar screen for a long time. I don't know why it's tolerated except 'businessmen/women' are make $ from tbe status quo.

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