by Photo Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

According to research, Californians are willing to pay addicts $585 to stay sober. An infographic by, a leading provider of addiction treatments, shows the results broken down by state. A total of 3,757 individuals were polled nationwide to analyze their thoughts on implementing a similar monetary incentive-based strategy in their own state. It was found that 45% of Californians said they would support a recovery program that proposed using tax dollars to pay addicts to stay sober.

Survey results show 49 percent of respondents think the incentives should be outright cash so that participants get their money in a lump sum. When considered on a larger scale, it could have the potential to decrease other costs associated with addiction, such as medical costs to taxpayers. According to the AAC an average cost of $200 per month can drastically improve the outcome of the treatment. Of the 3,757 respondents, 83 percent think professional counseling should accompany the program if such a plan is implemented.

An AP article published by KCRA3 reports that on Friday, Oct. 8 Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected the bill that would have made California the first state to pay people to stay sober. While Newsom supports the treatment, known as “contingency management.”, he wants to test it out first before signing a law to make it permanent.

The state budget, approved in July, includes money for a pilot program that begins in January and ends in March 2024. Newsom has asked the federal government for permission to pay for this pilot program. President Joe Biden's administration — which has already signaled its interest in the program — will respond by the end of the year.

“The outcomes and lessons learned from the pilot project should be evaluated before permanently extending the Medi-Cal benefit,” Newsom wrote in a veto message. “As such, this bill is premature.”

People in the program are tested multiple times per week over a set period of time. Each time they test negative, they get a reward — sometimes as small as $2. People who make it all the way through the program with no positive tests usually earn a few hundred dollars and receive the money on a gift card.

The federal government has been using this treatment since at least 2011 for military veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Since then, research has shown it is the most effective treatment for drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, for which there are few pharmaceutical treatments available. Research done by the American Addiction Centers (AAC) has shown contingency management to be effective in the treatment of stimulant addiction, as well as alcohol, opioids, marijuana and nicotine.

Drug overdose deaths spiked 29.7 percent in 2020, reaching the highest number to be recorded in a 12 months span- causing more than 93,000 deaths according to provisional data by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   Recently released data from the CDC shows that California had more drug overdose deaths in 2020 than any other state (9,538) and ranked 6th in terms of the increase in number of deaths from 2019 to 2020.

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