Valley Center – Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Valley Center) acquired $10 million in the state budget to fund the Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) grant program for counties to reduce fatal overdoses of incarcerated individuals in county jails or under supervised release in the community. MAT is clinically effective in treating substance use, including opioid and alcohol use disorders.
In 2018, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation estimated that approximately 80 percent of incarcerated individuals had Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD) and, of these, approximately 26% have SUDs related to opiate drugs. 1 in 3 arrestees in 2018 tested positive for more than one drug in the San Diego region alone. Medication Assisted Treatment is a “whole-patient” approach to treating substance use disorders that uses medication in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies.
Assemblymember Waldron stated, “There is a three to eightfold increased risk of death for individuals struggling with drug addiction within the first two weeks of release. $10 million will go a long way to reduce crime and recidivism rates while saving lives.”
In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 109, known as “prison realignment”, shifting from state prison to counties the responsibility to monitor, track and incarcerate lower-level offenders. The goal was to downsize the over-crowding in the California prison system.
Because of AB 109, county jails were now mandated to house offenders previously sentenced to prison and for longer periods, while providing programs and treatment options they were not equipped or funded to provide, county budgets have been impacted. In response, Waldron authored AB 653, the Medication Assisted Treatment Grant Program, setting up the framework for the grant. Governor Newsom signed AB 653 in 2021 but it did not contain funding until this budget approval this week.
“This new grant program will provide counties with flexible funding to treat substance use disorders,” said Waldron. “In 2021, I ran Assembly Bill 653 to create the program; now in 2022 I am grateful to have obtained the funding for it. This grant will greatly reduce recidivism and prevent overdoses in jails.”
Assemblymember Waldron anticipates the funding to be distributed during the fall.
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R-Valley Center, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes much of rural San Diego County
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, AD 75, 350 W 5th Avenue #110, Escondido, CA 92025 – 760-480-7570