If you are at all familiar with the recovery scene in Southern Florida, you are surely somewhat acquainted with the idea of a ‘flop house’ – a piece of property rented or owned by a manipulative scumbag who proclaims his or her house “sober” and charges struggling and unwitting addicts a hefty sum to live in close quarters with other struggling addicts in exchange for… who knows. A ride to a meeting once a week, or maybe a piss test once every couple of months.
‘Flop Houses’ Are Responsible (In Large Part) For High Relapse and Mortality Rates
The unfortunate reality is, even recovering addicts who are desperate to stay sober sometimes find themselves in ‘flop houses’, surrounded by other initially good intentioned but since fallen casualties of the system. Starry-eyed parents happily write out weekly checks, ignorantly assuming that making a payment to “Second Chance Halfway House” must mean that their beloved son or daughter is truly taking advantage of this mercifully gifted opportunity. In reality, “Second Chance” is naught but a termite-infested 3-bedroom home nestled somewhere in the midst of a really bad neighborhood, housing 15 young men who came to South Florida to get clean and know which left to take if they feel like getting high after ‘curfew’.
Rick Scott, Florida’s elected Governor, passed a law last Thursday (June 11th) that gives sober housing communities the opportunity to become state certified – and strongly encourages noble and genuine sober living houses to take action in order to become distinguished. In order for a house to become certified it will have to undergo careful state inspection, validation of all employees, and a thorough assessment of the drug and alcohol free community it provides and strives to uphold.
HB 21 Substance Abuse Service Law May Be a Game Changer
This new law, the HB 21 Substance Abuse Services Law, will (hopefully) begin to weed the bad from the good. Southern Florida started out as an honest and robust recovery community – a sunny, sober mecca for those who were looking to truly begin their lives anew and overcome addiction in the midst of those who had come before and succeeded. Over time, however, greed and fraudulent opportunity began to filter in, seeing desperation and powerlessness as weakness to monopolize upon rather than nurture and overcome. If laws like these are taken seriously and those who come to Florida to recover transfer directly to accredited and certified sober living facilities upon completion of inpatient treatment, the state may once again be restored to one of progress and sincerity – rather than corruption, self-indulgence, and subsequent futility.