You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Rubio cites Post coverage, asks feds to review grand jury report


Local prosecutors hoped that state regulators would consider a Palm Beach County grand jury’s recommendations on fixing the crime-plagued sober home industry.

Now, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, wants the federal government to see whether the grand jury report should change laws across the country.

Citing the wake-up call delivered by The Palm Beach Post’s “Heroin: Killer of a generation” special section, Rubio formally asked the comptroller general to assess the Palm Beach County grand jury’s recommendations in its review of federal and state oversight of sober homes.

“It’s shocking to realize that in 2015, more people died in Palm Beach County from opioids than in car accidents. Seeing the faces of these 216 victims drives home the incredible toll this epidemic is having in our state, and makes it clear the disease of drug addiction can visit any family at any time,” Rubio said in reference to the Nov. 20 Palm Beach Post front page, which was devoted to photos of the 216 people who died in Palm Beach County in 2015 from heroin-related overdoses.

“The Palm Beach Post’s special report is heartbreaking — these people were fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters to people we know. It also helps inform our policy work,” Rubio said. “We’ve taken some steps forward this year to prevent more deaths, but we must do more to stop this terrible scourge from spreading.”

The grand jury convened at the request of State Attorney Dave Aronberg, a Palm Beach County Democrat entering his second term. It focused on fraud in the sober home industry. Many of the report’s findings echoed details revealed in Post stories dating to August 2015.

Those stories included a closeup looks at several industry operators, including Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, who was arrested Dec. 21 with his wife and four others in a federal crackdown on fraud in the sober home industry.

Rubio, a Republican entering his second Senate term, launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for president. In its special section, The Post noted that Rubio missed a critical 2016 Senate vote on the most important addiction bill in decades.

In his statement to The Post, Rubio pointed out many steps he’s taken to fight the heroin epidemic, such as his vote in December for the 21st Century Cures Act and $872 million to pay for it.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, under the comptroller general, is reviewing federal and state oversight of sober homes, Rubio wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro. He asked Dodaro to consider the grand jury report, released Dec. 12, which made 15 recommendations to:

  • Crack down on deceptive marketing aimed at vulnerable people.
  • Require effective standards for sober homes.
  • Help state regulators move quickly and effectively.
  • Improve laws against patient brokering and other kickback schemes.
  • Rebalance law enforcement and patient privacy laws to help criminal investigations.

“I believe more must be done to make sure these facilities are acting in good faith and not defrauding taxpayers by taking advantage of people who are desperately seeking help in their fight against the disease of addiction,” Rubio said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

NEW: Coast Guard medevacs man, 52, from cruise ship
NEW: Coast Guard medevacs man, 52, from cruise ship

A 52-year-old man was medevacked from the Carnival Pride cruise ship 50 miles east of St. Augustine early Saturday after experiencing symptoms of shock, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard said the Jacksonville Command Center received notification about the man at 11:15 p.m. Friday and an MH-60 helicopter crew arrived on the scene at 1:40 a.m. Saturday...
WATCH: Gator goes after Florida man trying to take picture
WATCH: Gator goes after Florida man trying to take picture

A guy had a close call with a gator after he strayed from a path to take a better picture.  The man left other hikers on the boardwalk of La Chua Trail at Paynes Prairie in Gainesville and encroached on a mother alligator’s space as she was sunbathing, according to Ben Boukari Jr, who posted the video on Facebook.  <div>...
JUST IN: Coast Guard searching for missing 50-year-old diver
JUST IN: Coast Guard searching for missing 50-year-old diver

Coast Guard crews are searching for a 50-year-old male diver who failed to surface Saturday half a mile east of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. A Fort Lauderdale Coast Guard boat crew and a Miami Coast Guard helicopter crew are conducting the search in conjunction with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department and the Florida Fish...
Florida homestead law a ‘debtor’s haven’? Not for Beverly Hills dentist
Florida homestead law a ‘debtor’s haven’? Not for Beverly Hills dentist

Facing a $2.1 million court judgment in California, longtime Los Angeles resident Michael Motamed suddenly got a yen to move to Florida, plunking down $1.5 million for an oceanfront condominium in Palm Beach. But attorneys representing a former UCLA pre-med student who suffered horrific injuries in 2012 when Motamed’s Mercedes plowed into...
BREAKING: Car crashes into West Palm Beach house, driver extricated
BREAKING: Car crashes into West Palm Beach house, driver extricated

A woman had to be extricated from her car after it crashed into a home in the 2700 block of Genesse Avenue Saturday, Fire Rescue spokesman Albert Borroto said. The crash happened shortly before noon and extrication tools were used to cut the driver, who was trapped, from her car, Borroto said. The driver was taken to a local trauma center to be treated...
More Stories