California Could Pay Drug Addicts To Stay Sober Using Medicaid Funds

A plan to pay California residents struggling with drug addiction for each negative drug test they receive, is in the approval process. Senate Bill 110 faced no opposition when it passed the Senate on August 26, and is now up for approval by the Assembly.

The plan hopes to address the state's rise in drug overdose deaths. If passed, California would be the first state to enact this type of program.

The bill was authored by Senator Scott Wiener, who represents District 11, which represents all of San Francisco, Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City. The bill is based on an approach used by federal government in helping military veterans with addiction. It is reported to be one of the most effective ways to get people to stop using drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and stimulants which can't be treated by pharmaceuticals.

The plan, referred to as “contingency management,” would provide small payments to individuals for each negative drug test they received over a specified period of time. The total amount an individual can earn is a few hundred dollars, which is typically provided via gift card.

According to AP News, California Governor Gavin Newsom has sought permission from the federal government to use tax dollars to fund the program through Medicaid, the joint state/federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled that covers roughly 14 million Californians.

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