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Licensing and Certification Program Compliance Branch
The Program Compliance Branch investigates complaints against California's alcohol and other drug recovery and treatment programs. Through complaint investigations, the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) ensures the provision of quality treatment through the enforcement of standards for professional and safe treatment.
The Program Compliance Branch 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 ADP are required to report counselor misconduct to ADP 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. Such report may be made by contact the automated or electronic means, such as email or fax.
If you wish to file a complaint about a licensed/certified alcohol or other drug service provider OR a registered or certified counselor you can do so via mail, fax, or email.
Please complete the Complaint Form and submit form via mail to:
Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs
Program Compliance Branch
1700 K Street, Fifth Floor
Sacramento, CA 95811-4037
Fax form to: (916) 445-5084
In addition, complaints for Residential Adult Alcoholism or Drug Abuse Recovery or Treatment Facilities may also be reported by telephoning the appropriate licensing branch listed below:
Program Compliance Branch:
Public Number: (916) 322-2911
Toll Free Number: (877) 685-8333
To verify if the program you are submitting a complaint for is licensed or certified through our department, you can check the Licensing and Certification Branch Directory.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Program
For complaints pertaining to the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Program contact the DUI Program Branch:
Public Number: (916) 322-2964
Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP)
For complaints pertaining to a Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP) contact NTP Branch:
Public Number: (916) 322-6682
Fax Number: (916) 323-5086
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 ADP, 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.
ADP 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 is providing services that should be licensed?
If a sober living 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 ADP.
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 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 ADP.
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 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 is providing licensable services, you can file a complaint with ADP and an investigation may be opened.