By Assemblymember Marie Waldron
Every two days a young person in California dies from an opioid overdose. More and more opioid dependent children are treated in emergency departments than ever before — increasing by 54% over the past ten years.
While there is no single treatment or remedy for substance abuse, it is clear that early intervention programs aimed at youthful abusers are comprehensive and effective. That’s why I have joined with Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D – Van Nuys) to co-author Assembly Bill 1031.
The bill establishes the Youth Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment and Recovery Program, which requires the Department of Health to establish community-based initiatives aimed at intervention and treatment for underage alcohol and drug abusers. In collaboration with counties and providers of SUD services, regulations will be established for treatment and recovery, along with program requirements and standards. Medi-Cal billing codes will be updated to include screening, counseling and other services. AB 1031 will also enable community-based providers of youth SUD treatments to be reimbursed appropriately, so that the current gap in services in many parts of California can be reduced or eliminated.
As we all know, the individual and societal costs of drug abuse are huge. Crime, deaths, homelessness, broken families, dropout rates, the related costs of law enforcement and incarceration, suffering – all can be prevented through early intervention and treatment. Most important of all, lives can be saved.
AB 1031 enjoys wide bi-partisan support, and passed the Assembly without opposition on May 28th. The bill has been forwarded to the Senate, where hearings are pending.
As your Assembly representative, I will continue working to break the cycle of substance use disorder that costs taxpayers millions, devastates families and cuts short far too many lives.
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.