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Expanding California’s Substance Use Disorder System to Advance Recovery and Treatment

Expanding California’s Substance Use Disorder System to Advance Recovery and Treatment

Many Californians face huge challenges in accessing substance use treatment services. Social and environmental factors including low socioeconomic status, low literacy, unemployment, discrimination, and other factors negatively impact our ability to lead healthy lives. Many people of color and Limited English Proficient populations additionally face a lack of culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services. Further, stigma and discrimination linked with accessing services also remain barriers to accessing treatment for many, especially those with previous criminal justice involvement.

California’s Medi-Cal 2020 1115(a) Waiver Demonstration Project provides new opportunities to expand substance use services to include a fuller continuum of care that includes withdrawal management, medication-assisted treatment, short-term residential, case management and care coordination with physical and mental health, and recovery support services. Drug Medi-Cal eligibility also expands to include single adults without children, which mean more people are able to receive substance use treatment services than ever before.

To address these barriers and disparities, communities of color – those most in need of services – need to be involved in the development and design of treatment options, and policymakers must consider the root causes of substance use disorders in vulnerable and underserved communities. That’s why CPEHN is engaging our communities to get involved so that the needs of underserved communities are included and addressed in the implementation of these new services. With stakeholder input from underserved populations, county departments of behavioral health can better meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities.

CPEHN will be working with local community organizations to build their capacity, share their needs and priorities with county policymakers, and disseminate findings and recommendations to guide the implementation of the new substance use service model in southern California and beyond. Community engagement efforts for this new project will focus on Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties. Priority populations include low-income communities of color, young people/transition age youth, immigrants, and re-entry populations. For more information on the project, please contact Darriane Martin at dmartin@cpehn.org or Juan Gavidia at jgavidia@cpehn.org

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