Advocacy

AB 1542 - INVOLUNTARY SUD TREATMENT

CAADPE POSITION: OPPOSE

AB 1542 (McCarty, D-Sacramento) authorizes the County of Yolo to offer a voluntary pilot program, known as the Secured Residential Treatment Program, for individuals suffering from substance use disorders (SUDs) who have been convicted of drug-motivated felony crimes. The program, known as Hope Yolo, would provide residential treatment in a locked drug treatment facility where felony offenders could be sentenced and treated for SUD rather than serving their sentence in jail or prison. AB 1542 requires that Yolo County develop the program in consultation with SUD service providers and other relevant community partners.

CAADPE’s position is that involuntary treatment runs directly counter to the principle of free and informed consent to health care and SUD treatment. Locked and coerced SUD treatment has not proven effective, raises risk of overdose, is very expensive and cannot be used to draw down federal funding through Medi-Cal, a key funding source for SUD treatment in California. Potential harms resulting from compulsory treatment include increased risk of overdose and fostering distrust between treatment providers and patients, causing people who need help to be unlikely to seek it out in the future. Compulsory or coerced SUD treatment is not an effective means of promoting positive, sustained clinical outcomes for individuals with substance use disorders.

Although AB 1542 ostensibly requires the consent of the defendant prior to being sentenced into the program, the procedure by which a defendant chooses to participate may be coercive. Secured or locked facilities, regulated by the courts, blur the lines between medical care and punishment, and undermine the goal of helping those in need. This concept is also inconsistent with national standards for SUD treatment established by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

No secured SUD treatment facility currently exists in California. While AB 1542 is a pilot project in one county, Yolo County, it could set a dangerous precedent and goes against the ethical standards of treatment.

AB 1542 is currently in Senate Appropriations Suspense File.

Help bring new SUD Treatment to CA!
Overdose Prevention and Contingency Management

Two important bills, if approved, will bring two new SUD treatment therapies to California. Overdose Prevention and Contingency Management will bring sorely needed SUD treatment options to CA. CAADPE has long advocated that CA needs to utilize all tools, promising therapies and evidence-based practices to fight the exploding need for SUD services, especially in light of the current COVID 19 pandemic.

SB 57 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) - Overdose Prevention Programs

SB 57 will authorize the City and County of San Francisco, the City of Oakland, and the County of Los Angeles to pilot and evaluate overdose prevention projects (OPP), sometimes referred to as “supervised consumption services,” or “supervised injection sites.” The evaluations will provide the information in order to better address California’s high rate of fatal drug overdose, homelessness, and public injection. Data from the more than 110 OPPs that already exist in eleven countries indicate that overdose prevention projects help to connect people to substance use disorder treatment and housing, and to reduce health and safety problems associated with drug use, including public drug use, discarded syringes, HIV and hepatitis infections, and overdose deaths. These OPP pilot programs will also act as health settings to mitigate overdose mortality rates as well as emergency room use. Incredibly, the cumulative research shows that even with tens of thousands of injections, there has never been a known death associated with these programs. Not one.

SB 57 is timely and urgent. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated overdose rates and, as hospital resources are stretched thin, we need a science-driven strategy to prevent fatal and nonfatal drug overdose. In the context of the current national discussion to re-imagine public safety and emergency responses, OPPs should be in the forefront of our strategies to address the needs of community members living at the intersection of homelessness and substance use.

SB 110 (Wiener, D-San Francisco) - Contingency Management

SB 110 would expand substance use disorder services to include contingency management services as a covered benefit under Medi-Cal. SB 110 would also require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to issue guidance and training to providers on the use of contingency management services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries who access substance use disorder services under any Medi-Cal delivery system, including the Drug Medi-Cal Treatment Program and the Drug Medi-Cal organized delivery system.

Contingency management has proven to be the most effective method of treatment for methamphetamine addiction, and is frequently used as a treatment strategy by the Veterans Affairs Administration. This intervention program gives those struggling with substance use disorder positive reinforcement if they enter substance use treatment programs and remain in the program. This positive reinforcement helps people reduce and even fully stop substance use.

In this time of the need for public health safeguards, California should be using all known and effective strategies to address the growing need for substance use disorder services. Contingency Management programs are proven to help individuals maintain their health and are an effective relapse prevention strategy.

SB 110 Fact Sheet >

SB110 Press Release >

Joint Statement: Elected Officials & Statewide Coalition Launch Legislative Effort to Create “Overdose Prevention Programs” in the Golden State

Coalition Promises Vigorous Campaign Amid Skyrocketing Overdose Deaths and Growing Support Across the Country for this Evidence-Based, Cost-Effective Approach

California Legislators joined California State Senator Scott Wiener (San Francisco) today on the first day of the Legislative session to introduce SB 57, a bill to bring overdose prevention programs to California. The Drug Policy Alliance—along with other co-sponsoring organizations, including the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives, California Society of Addiction Medicine, HealthRIGHT 360, National Harm Reduction Coalition, Tarzana Treatment Centers, San Francisco AIDs Foundation and a growing statewide coalition—are launching a vigorous legislative campaign to pilot Overdose Prevention Programs (OPP), in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles County, where the homeless crisis continues to grow, overdose rates have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and fentanyl-related deaths are surging....

"CAADPE is proud to join, as a co-sponsor, with Senator Wiener in his effort to address California's overdose crisis. The Overdose Prevention Programs (OPP) are proven to make our communities safer and healthier. In this time of the need for public health safeguards, California should be using all known and effective strategies to curb the state's overdose crisis. Overdose Prevention Programs have been shown to reduce health and safety problems associated with drug use, including public drug use, discarded syringes, HIV and hepatitis infections, and overdose deaths. CAADPE applauds Sen. Wiener for his leadership in bringing this important treatment alternative to California."
Al Senella, President CAADPE- CA Assn. of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives, Inc.

Support SB57

Drop an email to Sen. Wiener today using this button. Under "Select an Issue", choose "Comment on Legislation" and then add just a few words in the comment section. Sample comment: "Thank you for your leadership in helping save lives, introducing SB57, I support the bill. "