California Slashes Drug Treatment Funds


If California won’t spend the money to treat certain drug offenders and state law forbids jailing them, they’re likely to end up back on the streets, say critics of the state budget agreement, according to the Oakland Tribune. The legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to cut funding under so-called Proposition 36 from $108 million last year to just $18 million this year. Proposition 36, approved by 61 percent of voters in 2000, requires that first- or second-time nonviolent adult drug offenders be sent to treatment rather than jail.

“The courts are still obligated to push the people into treatment, knowing that the funds, the programs, the services aren’t there,” said Haven Fearn of the Contra Costa County drug services unit. Margaret Dooley-Sammuli of the Drug Policy Alliance, a proponent of Proposition 36, said the answer will be “very long waiting lists,” and drug users walking free while they wait.

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