THE MASSACHUSETTS attorney general’s office is wise to the operators of shady drug testing clinics and their kickback schemes with some so-called “sober houses’’ inhabited by recovering addicts. But the absence of regulation in this area practically assures that abuses will happen time and time again.
Sober houses fall somewhere between rooming houses and residential treatment centers. At their best, they provide a supportive, shared living environment for tenants who prove sobriety through random urine screenings. At their worst, operators of sober homes pocket the weekly rent as well as bribes for steering their indigent tenants to unethical testing labs, which pad Medicaid bills with frequent and unnecessary tests.