Politics

State Watchdog Finds Deadly Conditions At California Rehab Clinics

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A volunteer disposes a used syringe of heroin. (Sutanta Aditya/AFP/Getty Images)

A volunteer disposes a used syringe of heroin. (Sutanta Aditya/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSSanFrancisco.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSSanFrancisco.com/Health

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – The California agency that licenses residential alcohol and drug programs failed to identify life-threatening problems and did not do proper follow up to ensure that those issues were addressed following a fatality, according to a report by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.

The watchdog group’s report spotlights the response by the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs to recent deaths at the private, inpatient facilities across the state.

Among the facilities highlighted in the report was a Southern California business that saw four patients die between 2008 and 2010. According to a Press-Enterprise report, the agency was unable to mobilize to shut the facility until it had moved due to foreclosure of the property.

State law does not permit such drug-treatment centers to provide medical treatment, but the report uncovered numerous cases of centers advertising medical care and accepting very ill patients, according to a Press-Enterprise report.

The report suggests that such laws are outdated, and urges lawmakers to consider allowing medical care in while mandating investigations for cases in which a client dies.

The Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs is scheduled to hand over its licensing responsibilities to another department as part of a reorganization in 2013, according to the Press Enterprise, but the Senate office report calls for legislation and regulations “to prevent a return to a legacy of spotty enforcement.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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