Fred Way runs the Pennsylvania Alliance of Recovery Residences (PARR) and also works with the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR). He showed us a PowerPoint explaining what a recovery house actually is. According to Way, a recovery residence is a sober, safe, and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and drug abuse and residential stability. A certified recovery house has standards. It is a residence that has standards outlined and governed by PARR.

Next, Way gave us a brief synopsis of how the Recovery House System and standards came about. Developed in 1995 by the Coordinating Office of Drug & Alcohol Abuse Programs (CODAAP), Now referred to as DBH IDS Office of Addiction Services. They receive much of their data from over Philadelphia recovery organizations, recovery houses, also, NARR & PARR, all with the intent to improve the care of people trying to maintain a healthy, lifestyle. He talks about how people use the wrong vocabulary. They refer to halfway houses as a recovery house and that is wrong. A recovery house is there for someone who still needs treatment. It is a sober safe and healthy living environment. According to Way, PARR is a provider in the community, responsible for visiting and evaluating the standards in local recovery houses within the Philadelphia area.

Recovery house standards are very high. Yes, it is a safe place where someone can live safely and recover. As well as a place where residents learn to live together as a community. However, there are some people who are on medicated assisted treatment, such as Suboxone or Methadone. These people need to contact a Recovery House funded by the OAS because independently owned recovery houses may not allow patients on these types of medications. The standards are very high and were developed in 1995 by coordinating offices. This is because usually these houses are often one step away from independent living. The goal of these houses as well, is to increase one’s stability and to improve the way a person functions in a sober environment, to make it easier to reintegrate back into their community.

Yes recovery houses are increasingly bringing attention to the opiate epidemic. “However, it’s not just an opiate epidemic, it’s a drug epidemic,” said Way. Many people are using opiates, but there are also many people that have an addiction to other drugs such as crack, cocaine, or PCP.
These recovery house are there for anyone with an issue with any substance and must adhere to the standards. All recovery houses must secure the appropriate zoning for the number of people in the house. Way also explains that there is a designated individual responsible for house operations at all times. All staff must have training in house rules and safety procedures and each house should have a clear written description of the intake criteria. Also, most importantly, all residents must follow the clearly documented house rules Therefore, recovery houses are held to a very high standard because they are run and funded by PARR & NARR. However, Way made it very clear that there is not just an opiate epidemic, there is a drug epidemic happening. “What I try to do is save lives,” said Way. Hopefully, with the continued work he and his organizations are doing, a dent can be mad in this ongoing epidemic.