The time has finally come for addiction treatment to get a re-vamp on some policies, making treatment centers accountable for malpractice. Lawmakers in California have banded together to change policies. These changes will ensure that those suffering from addiction will get the care they deserve without fear of the center providing inadequate conditions and treatment. Tax payers dollars will be spent on programs and centers that actually work.

As said by Cottie Petrie-Norris, “In California alone in 2017, there were over 2,000 deaths because of opioid abuse. It’s heartbreaking. And what’s particularly heartbreaking is that, at every step, we’ve seen unscrupulous actors profiteering from this crisis. Pharmaceutical companies that have engaged in deceptive marketing practices. Doctors who have knowingly over-prescribed these medicines. And rogue rehab and sober living home operators who are exploiting patients for profit.”

A group was formed, calling themselves – Bi-Partisan Legislative Substance Abuse Treatment Working Group – and in the wake of establishing this group, it was discovered numerous deaths in young opioid users. Upon uncovering these results, it was further found that these users were lured to treatment facilities under “free” plane tickets, cash, and rehab “scholarships”. These hopeful people, struggling to get clean and survive, were then provided insurance, given drugs – most often heroine – so the person could test “dirty” ensuring that they will be accepted due to the new insurance.

Progress has been made, however, to ensure these facilities are held accountable. Last year, Bill823 was signed into effect stating that facilities require state-licensing and adopt the criteria of American Society of Addiction Medicine. Unfortunately, out-patient services do not need to meet these requirements. Bill325, of this year, makes it so now out-patient treatment centers will require the same credentials as the other facilities with a state license.

In 2017, overdose deaths totaled 4,868 with the majority alone being in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It is heartbreaking that so many deaths could have been prevented. Ensuring that facilities are up to date on credentials and licensing is a top priority.