SACRAMENTO – Today, Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron (Escondido) announced that her bill to fund Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs for people in jail or community supervision who struggle with substance use disorder has been signed into law. Assembly Bill 653 will create a grant program to give counties flexible funding to provide addiction treatment to a population where it can do the most good.
“We need to break the cycle of addiction and incarceration, and this bill is a step in the right direction,” said Waldron. “MAT is one of the most effective ways of treating people with addiction and with this grant program, counties will have the resources to administer it to people who are incarcerated or on parole.”
Nearly 80 percent of incarcerated Californians have substance use disorder, including 26 percent who struggle with opiate addiction. Individuals with substance use disorders are at high risk of fatal drug overdoses in the period after release from custody (a three to eightfold increased risk of drug related deaths within the first 2 weeks of release from prison), and relapse into substance use is a common reason that former inmates re-offend.
Medication Assisted Treatment is a “whole-patient” approach that uses medication in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders, reducing drug use and overdose deaths, and improving retention in treatment.
AB 653 was supported by the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California, California State Sheriffs’ Association and the County of San Diego.
Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.