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State plans to tighten licensing for drug treatment centers

Posted: 6:52 AM, Dec 26, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-27 12:32:18-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- After federal investigators detailed allegations of abuse at South Florida drug treatment centers, state officials say they plan to tighten licensing standards for the industry.

Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Jessica Sims told The Palm Beach Post that strengthening regulations will help "prevent unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of vulnerable individuals in the recovery process."

DCF said it also will lobby for more authority to begin monitoring sober homes, which currently have no licensing requirements.

The agency's pledge follows a federal probe into sober homes and substance-abuse treatment facilities in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

Prosecutors say one sober home operator forced female residents into prostitution, promising they wouldn't have to pay rent or participate in treatment so long as he could continue billing their insurance companies.