Liberal California to Pay Drug Addicts to ‘Stay Sober’
A program covering 1,000 people could cost as much as $286,000
California's radical leaders are proposing paying drug addicts to stay sober as the state sees massive increases in drug overdose deaths.
After using the method on military veterans, the federal government claims it is an effective way to get people to stop using drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.
Drugs addicts would receive incentives or payments for every negative drug test over a period of time.
People who complete the treatment without any positive tests will be able to earn a few hundred dollars.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the federal government for permission to use tax dollars to pay for the program via Medicaid, the joint state and federal health insurance program that covers nearly 14 million people in California.
A similar proposal already passed through California's Democratic-controlled Legislature, passing Senate with no opposition and is pending in the Assembly.
"I think there is a lot in this strategy for everyone to like," said state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco and author of the bill.
"Most important of all, it works."
A program covering 1,000 people could cost as much as $286,000.
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation runs a privately-funded contingency management program, where Tyrone Clifford, who was addicted to meth, enrolled because they promised to pay him for every negative test over 12 weeks.
He received his first payment of $2, which increased a total of about $330 after each negative test.
"I thought, I can do 12 weeks. I’ve done that before when my dealer was in jail," he said.
"When I’m done, I’ll have 330 bucks to get high with.’"
While opioids have pharmaceutical treatments to help get people sober, there are none for stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine.
"There is a clear kind of hole in regards to treatment services for individuals who have a stimulant use disorder," said Jacey Cooper, director of California's Medicaid program.
"At this point (contingency management) is the only thing people are pointing to that has been effective."
"We don't think it does," Wiener said, noting the Biden administration has signaled its interest in the treatment.
Wiener's bill would require California's Medicaid program to pay for the treatment, while Newsom's plan would let counties choose whether to participate.