Senator McGuire’s opioid addiction funding added to State Budget

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Includes funds for early, enhanced screening for millions of Californians

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire’s efforts to combat opioid addiction has seen another success in this year’s state budget. McGuire was able to secure funding for California to implement an enhanced screening program when patients see their doctors, which is modeled off of successful programs for alcohol addiction. 

“We fought hard to secure $2.58 million in annual funds in this year’s budget to combat the growing opioid crisis here in the Golden State. The great news is that with federal matching funds, the total allocation will grow to $8.4 million for this new statewide addiction screening program,” said Senator McGuire. “The opioid crisis has impacted communities big and small all across our country, and rural California has been hit especially hard. We know that early screening and intervention is a powerful tool for Californians to get the help they need to combat their addiction.”

The $2.58 million in funding will be combined with $5.82 million in automatic federal matching dollars, giving California a critical new tool in the fight against the opioid addiction crisis and will positively impact the lives of tens of thousands of Californians.

Here’s how the screening program will work: Every patient who is enrolled in Medi-Cal, approximately seven million residents statewide over the age of 18, will now be screened for opioid use each time they see their medical providers. The program, called ‘Screening Brief Intervention, Referral and Treatment’ (SBIRT), has been in place in emergency rooms, public hospitals and federally qualified health centers across California for more than 15 years. The program has traditionally been focused solely on alcohol use. With this additional funding, the Department of Health Care Services will expand the Medi-Cal benefit to include screening for the overuse of opioids and other drugs when Medi-Cal patients see their doctor. Routine screenings for excessive alcohol use in California, followed by intervention, counseling and referral to treatment has helped countless patients get the assistance for their addiction. The same will now be advanced for opioid and drug usage.

“Expanding patient screenings, early on, to detect the use of opioids and other drugs is one of the most important steps we can take to combat this crisis. Lives will be saved with early screening and intervention,” Senator McGuire added.