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Will California Drug Addicts Stay Sober for Cash?

Published: in Crime news 18+ by .

While programs incentivizing addicts with cash to stay clean have yielded positive results, the effects also don’t last long after treatment concludes.

Seeking to mimic the federal government, which employs the practice with military veterans, California leaders want the state to be the first to pay people to stay sober, reports the Associated Press. Research shows it is one of the most effective ways to get people to stop using drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, stimulants for which there are no pharmaceutical treatments available. Called “contingency management,” the practice allows people to earn small incentives or payments for every negative drug test over a period of time. Most people who complete the treatment without any positive tests can earn a few hundred dollars.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the federal government for permission to use tax dollars to pay for it through Medicaid. How much it would cost depends on how many people participate. A program covering 1,000 people could cost as much as $286,000, a pittance in California’s total operating budget of more than $262 billion. An analysis by the California Health Benefits Review Program found “clear and convincing evidence” that the treatment works to keep people sober from drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine during the program, but also that the effect doesn’t last much beyond six months after treatment concludes. Overdose deaths from stimulants in California nearly quadrupled between 2010 and 2019, with data from the first nine months of 2020 showing stimulant overdose deaths jumping 42 percent compared to 2019.

Source: The Crime Report

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