In the wake of the Safe Haven disclosures in 2007, then State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson called on then Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien to stop releasing state prisoners to sober homes. However, Probation spokeswoman Coria Holland said recently that the department had never ordered such a halt. She also said the department has no records showing how many prisoners are now being referred to sober homes. Perry is now the executive director of Recovery Educational Services, a non-profit company that owns five of the contested Roxbury townhouses and houses between 40 and 50 individuals in recovery.

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Residents may also be subject to periodic drug testing to demonstrate ongoing sobriety. eco sober house is a subsidiary of Sober Living LLC, MASH certified sober housing company providing safe, supportive and healthy living environments that promote recovery from alcohol, drugs and other associated problems. “Right now the certification is pretty strong and we’re really confident with how we’re operating our certified homes,” Graves said. Living in this type of environment can promote lasting recovery—helping people to maintain their sobriety as they adjust to life both during and after treatment.

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He is a scientist at the Alcohol Research Group in Emeryville, Calif., which is part of the nonprofit Public Health Institute. The Banner asked the directors of both organizations, and Douglas Polcin, a national expert on sober houses, about the concerns cited about Safe Haven. Some sober houses in other states, reacting to bad publicity or proposed regulation, have banded together to impose quality standards on themselves. The ongoing saga has seen the project shift from single-family townhouses for sale to multiple-occupancy bedrooms for weekly rent sober houses.

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Bournewood CEO Marcia Fowler says she works with various area sober homes but stopped working with RES at the beginning of this year. But at Lakeshore, most clients paid $3,000 a month, plus groceries. Six clients, who spoke to the Globe separately, said that at times there were up to around 30 people living in the house. Another said she and other clients used to make a game of adding up Lakeshore’s revenue for the month — which they regularly calculated at over $90,000. Espinosa, the sober home assistant director, disputed that Lakeshore was overcrowded, saying that at most he thought there were 24 people lodged there.

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If the owners do not adopt the reforms voluntarily, Yetman said he feared the state will impose more restrictive regulations that would do more harm than good. “Would you say in Mr. Perry’s effects of alcohol case, he cared more about the money than helping people on their path?” Curran asked. His former employee said it was clear that Perry was more interested in profits than recovery.

“This is an incredibly vulnerable population, and they need a voice and they have a right to a voice,” said Larissa Matzek, executive director of MASH. “I think if you certify your sober home, you are saying I am holding my sober home to the highest standards available under Alcoholism the law.” Perry, whose law license will be reviewed again, was even smuggling drugs into the Middlesex County Jail. A photo obtained by 5 Investigates shows him inside a visitation room in October of 2016 where he was caught smuggling Suboxone strips to a client behind bars.

Neighbors complained that a stream of supposedly sober residents made daily trips to a nearby liquor store and left empty needles and other drug paraphernalia outside their homes. Further investigation revealed that several had suffered drug overdoses inside the Safe Haven townhouses. The Herald quoted one former Safe Haven resident as saying the homes were a “zoo” and claiming that others living at Safe Haven got high daily and failed drug tests without fear of being expelled. One owner who advocates for improving the status of sober homes estimated that at least 60 houses in the city of Boston have been turned into sober homes, with perhaps a dozen in Dorchester.

This week, a total of 26 Level 3 offenders are living or working in Roxbury, according to the state Sex Offender Registry Board. As it is now, five Level 3 sex offenders — the most serious category — live at Safe Haven, all in one townhouse. The number can fluctuate week to week, but Smith said that earlier this year, as many as 13 sex offenders, Level 3 and Level 2, resided at Safe Haven at the same time. To fit its mission, they would have to also be recovering from substance abuse. Neighbors report seeing Safe Haven residents walk to the liquor store and return with purchases in bags — though these observers can’t know for sure what’s inside. Sgt. Bruce Smith, a community services officer with the Boston Police Department’s Area B station, said at least three fatal overdoses have occurred at Safe Haven.

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“They’re called sober homes, but it’s not really the case,” said Browning. “It’s just an individual opening a home, packing people in, and making a lot of money.” According to Browning, rental subsidies from the state are so lucrative that some sober home owners regularly visit Department of Social Service sites to recruit new non-addicted residents who are homeless or in need of psychiatric assistance.

Many people use sober housing to help make the transition from rehab to living independently without using drugs or alcohol. eco sober house is a transitional sober living program that offers experienced staff, reliable services and competent care. The program is designed to provide male residents 18 and over with a comfortable, safe and structured environment. She says Bournewood does its best to vet sober homes, with staff personally visiting the homes and meeting with the manager and owner. Fowler says housing is often a problem for her patients because many times people have nowhere to live to be able to continue the next step of treatment.

In contrast, the state pays about $130 million a year to operate about 75 group homes that provide residence and intensive rehabilitation programs for people recovering from alcohol and/or drug abuse. Individuals remain in Sobriety those programs for approximately six months of clinical programming and are then expected to find homes on their own. This was Perry’s second shot at helping others on their journey to recovery and staying clean himself.

On July 9, 2016, a 19-year-old man overdosed on fentanyl in the bathroom of the home. He has a devoted following of people who say he gave them their lives back. An investigator sifted through dirt in the side yard of 15 Lakeshore Drive in Wakefield, the site of a former sober home. He barely showered or spoke during groups, said three people there with him. In his room with Kevin, he talked about his kids, how he wanted a relationship with them, how he thought nothing would work. One client, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Bates was being taken off his insomnia medication by staff and was having trouble sleeping. Bates’s wife said she and their daughters always hoped that, with the right treatment, he would return to the person he was before he became addicted.

But these individuals need a stable environment at home to make the best of their recovery efforts. Sober living homes are not for everybody; some people may need to go through detox or rehab before they can successfully live in a sober environment. However, these homes provide a supportive place to transition from the addictive lifestyle to one of sobriety and responsibility. People who have gotten sober and want to stay that way should consider moving into a halfway house or other group home dedicated to sober living. Living in this type of home can aid sobriety and make it more likely that recovering addicts will remain in recovery for the long term. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, a sober living home may be the right solution.