When Fred Way visited our class to discuss recovery housing in Pennsylvania, he brought to my attention an entire slew of regulations that I had no idea existed. I never before considered how much goes into the certification process for recovery housing. In fact, I had never even realized that recovery houses were supposed to be certified in the first place.

I thought it was really interesting that entire communities can band together in zoning board meetings to oppose recovery housing. Effectively, people can block the certification of a recovery house in their neighborhood by convincing their legislators to deny their zoning applications. That seemed backwards to me — perhaps people didn’t realize that the recovery house would likely exist regardless, but if it is certified then it will comply with more regulations and will likely be a more friendly neighbor. On the other hand, Fred explained that an uncertified recovery house can often contain fire hazards, problems with noise and bed bugs since they aren’t complying with state regulations.

It’s disappointing to know that more people are concerned about keeping recovery housing out of their backyard instead of helping their communities recover from addiction. I hope that the shame surrounding addiction, which manifests in harmful ways like this, is soon replaced by a realistic, practical outlook on how to solve the addiction problem at hand.