Lawmakers Consider Paramedic Drug Treatment Program
California lawmakers on Monday voiced support for a proposed paramedic diversion program that would allow paramedics with substance abuse problems to seek treatment to prevent them from committing crimes, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Assembly member Alan Nakanishi (R-Lodi) said he supports the creation of a diversion program, similar to a program provided by the Medical Board of California that allows physicians with substance abuse to turn themselves in confidentially and receive treatment. The program helps physicians with substance abuse problems avoid court cases and possibly continue to practice under supervision.
Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), chair of the Senate Health Committee, said she would consider the program but questioned its source of funding.
The physician program costs $1.6 million annually.
Cesar Aristeiguieta -- director of Emergency Medical Services Authority, the state regulator of paramedics -- said that he supports the program and that increased licensing fees could fund it (McIntosh, Sacramento Bee, 1/30).