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

Gunshots erupt after Fetty Wap nearly robbed at New Jersey deli
Gunshots erupt after Fetty Wap nearly robbed at New Jersey deli

Three men ended up in the hospital from gunshot wounds after attempting to rob rapper Fetty Wap at a deli early Sunday.  Wap, whose real name is Willie Maxwell, and some friends were ordering food at a 24-hour deli around 5 a.m. when there was an attempt to rob him, according to the Paterson Times. A wounded 34-year-old man and a 37-year-old...
BREAKING: Pedestrian struck by car on I-95 in West Palm
BREAKING: Pedestrian struck by car on I-95 in West Palm

A pedestrian was struck by a car on Interstate 95 tonight, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman said. The accident happened about 8:30 p.m. on Interstate 95 at Southern Boulevard. The victim was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Further details about the accident weren’t available.
Madonna’s twins get first Barbie dolls, singer posts video
Madonna’s twins get first Barbie dolls, singer posts video

Madonna’s twins got their first Barbie dolls this weekend and the entertainer is sharing it with the world. >> Read more trending news The “Material Girl” posted adorable video of newly adopted twin daughters, Estere and Stelle playing with the dolls. In the short video posted on Instagram, the girls sang the Finger Family song...
Idaho woman blames car crash on deer-chasing Bigfoot
Idaho woman blames car crash on deer-chasing Bigfoot

A northern Idaho woman blamed a car crash with a deer on a Sasquatch sighting last week. >> Read more trending news The woman told police she collided with the deer after spotting a Bigfoot on a highway near Potlatch near the Washington border, according to NBC Montana. The woman said the Sasquatch was chasing the deer Wednesday night along the...
Despite high scores, many minority students passed over for AP classes
Despite high scores, many minority students passed over for AP classes

Black and Hispanic students with promising test scores are far less likely than similarly skilled white students to be enrolled in college-level classes in Palm Beach County’s public high schools, a disparity that school district leaders blame in part on “implicit bias” in the schools. Black male juniors and seniors whose test scores...
More Stories