The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Department of Psychiatry has received a grant of $1,579,163 from The California Endowment, the state’s largest health foundation, to assist in the implementation of Proposition 36, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act (SACPA) of 2000.
Passed by voters in November 2000, SACPA provides for certain non-violent adult offenders who use or possess illegal drugs to receive drug treatment in the community rather than incarceration. Eligible offenders will receive up to one year of drug treatment and six months of continuing care.
“The passage of Proposition 36 indicates that public will is to approach addiction as a public health issue,” said Gwen Foster, program officer with The California Endowment. “By providing treatment as an alternative to incarceration for these non-violent offenders, we can not only reduce the burden of prison overcrowding, but also improve the health status of those who struggle with addiction as a disease. The Endowment is pleased to provide funding for this project.”
The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) is designated the lead agency for implementation of SACPA and will conduct a long-term study to evaluate the effectiveness and the fiscal impact of SACPA programs.
“I commend The California Endowment and UC San Diego for their commitment to treatment as it contributes to safe and healthy communities,” said Kathryn P. Jett, Director, California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
“Our Department of Psychiatry is pleased to be participating in what we consider one of our nation’s most exciting public health and safety initiatives,” said David Deitch, Ph.D., UCSD clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSD. “We hope that with The California Endowment award we can serve ADP and its other partners in the achievement of Proposition 36 goals and, as such, participate in saving countless lives, reduce public health vulnerabilities and positively impact a reduction in crime.”
During the next three years, UCSD will assist in providing:
Annual conferences for county teams of judges, district attorneys, probation, public defenders, county alcohol and drug administrators as well as numerous treatment providers, to identify best practices and model programs whose success could be replicated by other counties
Annual California Lead Agency Implementation Meetings so that lead agencies can identify and develop recommendations to resolve barriers to effective implementation
Localized consultation services, including short- and long-term plan development
A plan for a public communication and education campaign.
The SACPA is funded through the 2005-06 fiscal year and could be continued beyond that time if the state legislature finds the program to be successful and effective.
Program administrators said they expect that the collaborative skills established during the three years of lead agency meetings, cross-disciplinary symposia, and local technical assistance will live on as county teams learn to share resources and coordinate efforts toward success.
The California Endowment was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment has regional offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno and San Diego with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment makes grants to organizations and institutions that directly benefit the health and well-being of the people of California. For more information, visit their Web site at www.calendow.org.
UCSD’s Department of Psychiatry assists service systems and institutions in developing capacities to address substance use disorders within populations they serve. It also receives support from the California Department of Corrections and private foundations.