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Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Services - Complaints

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) ensures the provision of quality treatment through the enforcement of standards for professional and safe treatment.

The Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Compliance Division investigates complaints against California's alcohol and other drug (AOD) recovery and treatment programs. The SUD Compliance Division also investigates violations of the code of conduct of registered or certified AOD counselors.  Alcohol or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facilities licensed or certified by DHCS are required to report counselor misconduct to DHCS within 24 hours of the violation. Title 9, California Code of Regulations, Section 13065 states the following:

Within 24 hours of the time an alleged violation of the code of conduct specified in Section 13060 by a registrant or a certified AOD counselor becomes known to an AOD program, the program shall report it to the Department and to the registrant or counselor’s certifying organization.

If you wish to file a complaint about a licensed, certified AOD drug service provider OR a registered or certified counselor you can do so via mail, fax, or by using the online Complaint Form.

Please complete the Complaint Form and submit online.  You may also print the form and mail or FAX to:

Department of Health Care Services
Substance Use Disorder Services
P.O. Box 997413
MS# 2601
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413

Fax form to: (916) 445-5084

Complaints for Residential Adult Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facilities may also be made  by telephoning the appropriate licensing branch listed below:

SUD Compliance Division:

Public Number: (916) 322-2911
Toll Free Number: (877) 685-8333


To verify DHCS licensed or certified programs please check the Licensing and Certification Branch Directory.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Program 

For complaints pertaining to the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Program complete the online Complaint Form.  You may contact the DUI Program Branch directly:

Public Number: (916) 322-2964
Complaint Form

Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) 

For complaints pertaining to a Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) complete the online Complaint Form.  You may contact the NTP Branch:

Public Number: (916) 322-6682
Fax Number: (916) 323-5086
Complaint Form


Sober Living/Transitional Housing 

There are some residential facilities that do not provide AOD services and do not require licensure by ADP. These include cooperative living arrangements with a commitment or requirement to be free from alcohol and other drugs, sometimes referred to as a sober living environment, a sober living home, transitional housing, or alcohol and drug free housing. It is important to note that while sober living environments or alcohol and drug free housing are not required to be licensed by DHCS, they may be subject to other types of permits, clearances, business taxes or local fees which may be required by the cities or counties in which they are located.

DHCS does not license, certify, or investigate complaints against sober living/transitional living homes.

Common Questions Regarding Unlicensed Facilities

How do I know if a sober living facility is providing services that should be licensed?

If a sober living facility is providing 24-hour non-medical, residential, alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment services to adults then it must obtain a valid license from DHCS.

California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 9, Chapter 5, Section 10505(a), states:

“Except for facilities operated by a State agency, no person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, county, city, public agency or other government entity shall operate, establish, manage, conduct, or maintain a facility which provides 24-hour non-medical, residential, alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment services to adults without first obtaining a current, valid license from the Department.”

What is considered to be an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) abuse recovery or treatment service?

An AOD recovery or treatment service can be detoxification services, group sessions, individual sessions, one-on-one counseling, educational sessions, and or recovery or treatment planning. If a sober living facility is providing just one of the mentioned services, then it should be classified as a residential treatment program and must obtain a valid license from DHCS.

California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 9, Chapter 5, Section 10501(a)(5), states:

“Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Service means a service which is designed to promote treatment and maintain recovery from alcohol or drug problems which includes one or more of the following: detoxification, group sessions, individual sessions, educational sessions, and/or alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment planning.”

My sober living facility has a house meeting to split up chores and address house issues; is this different from a group session?

It is common for sober living homes to hold a weekly meeting to address issues in the home and/or to resolve conflicts amongst roommates. If tenants are meeting to discuss recovery, drug related problems, or relapse prevention then it is considered a group session.

California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 9, Chapter 5, Section 10501(a)(19), states:

“Group Session means group interaction than encourages residents to identify and resolve alcohol and/or drug related problems, to examine personal attitudes and behavior, and provides support for positive changes in life style and recovery from alcoholism and/or drug abuse.”

What is an individual session?

California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 9, Chapter 5, Section 10501(a)(21)states:

“Individual Session means a private interaction between a resident and program staff which focuses on identification and resolution of alcohol-and/or drug related problem, to examine personal attitudes and behavior and other barriers to recovery.”

If a sober living facility is providing licensable services, you can file a complaint with DHCS and an investigation may be opened.  You may use the online Complaint Form, FAX or mail your concern to:

Department of Health Care Services
Substance Use Disorder Services
P.O. Box 997413
MS# 2601
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413

Public Number: (916) 322-2911
Fax form to: (916) 445-5084
Complaint Form

 

 

Last modified on: 12/13/2013 3:16 PM