Contra Costa County Prepares for Proposition 36
To implement Proposition 36, the voter-approved law that calls for non-violent first- and second-time drug offenders to be placed in treatment programs instead of jail, Contra Costa County health officials are planning to expand or add contracts with counselors and other drug treatment professionals, the Contra Costa Times reports. Under the new law, which takes effect July 1, county officials anticipate a 10% increase in the number of people entering rehabilitation programs. County supervisors last week appointed the county Health Services Department to lead Contra Costa's efforts in implementing the law. The county will receive $3.1 million from the state to enforce the law. The health department will receive 67.5% of the funding, while the probation department will receive 26.2%, and the court system will receive the remainder. Although Contra Costa County already has an "extensive" drug treatment program, Dr. William Walker, director of the county Department of Health Services, said the challenge will be adding further necessary services (Cuff, Contra Costa Times, 2/7).
In other county substance abuse news, the Contra Costa Children and Families Commission last week voted to use some of the county's share of the state tobacco tax to provide $3 million in grants for a "wide array" of projects, including expansion of a program to assist mothers with substance abuse problems. The Contra Costa Times reports that the largest grant, approximately $1.4 million, will go toward expanding a countywide drug and alcohol program for mothers and pregnant women. The grant also will expand services available for children whose mothers are currently in residential treatment programs, according to Brenda Blasingame, executive director of the commission. Fifteen community grass roots groups from the county will share the remaining funds (Cuff, Contra Costa Times, 2/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.