Proposition 36 Takes Effect, But Treatment, Funding Questions Remain
Proposition 36, the voter-approved initiative to direct most first- and second-time drug offenders toward treatment instead of jail, went into effect yesterday, the Sacramento Bee reports. The program is expected to divert 36,000 "new addicts into a system that treats 214,000 a year and is in such demand that 5,000 remain on waiting lists every month." The state will fund Proposition 36 with a $120 million allocation annually over the next five years. The Bee reports that uncertainty about the prospects of the initiative remains, as it "will place unprecedented demands" on the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and a treatment system "already afflicted with untrained workers, lax regulation and inattention." Still, despite the concerns, Bill Zimmerman, executive director of the Santa Monica-based Campaign for New Drug Policies, said, "No one expects to cure 100% of the people we treat. This is a harm-reduction approach. Let's do the best we can with the resources we have. If we do that, it's hard for me to believe Proposition 36 won't succeed" (Mecoy, Sacramento Bee, 7/1). Yesterday's implementation of Proposition 36 also received coverage in another Bee article, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times.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.