Concerned about an uptick in unlicensed or overcrowded residential substance-abuse treatment programs in Los Angeles, a City Council committee Tuesday called for an overview report on such facilities in hopes of determining which ones are providing proper care.
“A lot of (residential treatment homes) go forward and do a good job, however, there are others who do not and have a negative impact on the patients themselves,” said City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who originally requested the report in April. “I believe we need to revisit this issue and see what we can do.”
Blumenfield’s request, which was approved by the council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee Tuesday but still needs approval of the full council, asks for the city to gather information on addiction-treatment homes in an effort to determine which ones are properly caring for their clients and which are operating legally.
It also calls for the Building and Safety Department to provide numbers on emergency and service calls to residential treatment centers, and for the fire department to examine whether too many people reside at the facilities. The proposal also asks that the city try to determine if there are operations taking place at the facilities unrelated to patient care.
“Residential neighborhoods in Los Angeles have seen a dramatic growth in two types of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities: licensed and unlicensed facilities,” Blumenfield wrote in his original motion requesting the report. “This has resulted in some facilities which are not actually serving the best interests of their clients. This has also caused real issues and problems for some communities where they are located.”
Blumenfield’s motion cited a Department of City Planning report that identified 934 licensed treatment facilities that could, on average, have 20 patients living at each home, raising concerns that some patients may not be receiving proper care. The state occupancy limit for such residential outpatient facilities is six people.
The request also seeks to identify which homes are staffed 24 hours.
Blumenfield said he would like the report back within 90 days of its approval by the city council.
In response to comments from some speakers at the meeting, Blumenfield said the report is not part of an effort to ban such treatment facilities in the city.
“It is nothing of the sort. This is an effort to get information,” Blumenfield said, adding that state and federal laws prohibit the city from an outright ban on certain homes. “There’s not an ordinance being proposed. This is just asking for recommendations.”
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