Cottie Petrie-Norris

Legislation to protect substance use recovery patients from bad actors advances

In response to an 18% increase in overdoses nationwide, legislation to protect patients recovering from alcohol and substance use advances to the Assembly Floor. AB 1158, authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, will protect recovering patients from abusive practices by requiring licensed recovery and treatment facilities to maintain minimum insurance coverage.

As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, substance use has increased at an unprecedented rate leading to a rise in the number of individuals seeking help. Several well-documented cases have shed a light on a pattern of abuse against at-risk patients in these facilities, including serious injury and death.

“The cycle of abusive practices in California’s substance use treatment industry is only possible due to a total lack of state regulation and oversight,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “Unscrupulous actors have been exploiting loopholes in the law, resulting in the pain and suffering of Californians in recovery. AB 1158 ensures that these bad actors are held accountable so patients can recover without worrying about their safety.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use as a way of coping with stress or emotions related to COVID-19. The American Medical Association reported in December that more than 40 U.S. states have seen increases in opioid-related mortality along with ongoing concerns for those with substance use disorders.

AB 1158 will require recovery residences, sober living homes, alcohol or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities that are licensed by and contract with the government to maintain minimum insurance coverage levels. This includes liability insurance and workers’ compensation to protect patients and workers on site. Ultimately, this proposal will enhance the ability of state regulatory agencies to work collaboratively to investigate insurance complaints, protect patients and prevent fraud at these facilities and residences.

AB 1158 will be voted on by the full Assembly in late May or early June.

This article was released by the Office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.