About DHCS Opioid Response

DHCS Opioid Response refers to the collective efforts and initiatives that the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has undertaken to address the opioid crisis. It encompasses a wide range of projects and activities in prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery that aim to:

  • Reduce opioid-related overdose deaths;
  • Reduce unmet treatment need for opioid use disorder; and
  • Expand access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).

The Projects page has more information on specific projects that are part of DHCS Opioid Response.

DHCS Opioid Response receives funding through the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), California’s opioid settlements, and California State General Funds.

History of DHCS Opioid Response

DHCS created the California MAT Expansion Project in 2017, which initially referred to activities funded specifically through DHCS’ State Opioid Response (SOR) grants. The project aimed to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals with opioid use disorder and reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.

Over time, the scope of the California MAT Expansion Project has expanded beyond SOR projects. In October 2023, DHCS renamed the California MAT Expansion Project as DHCS Opioid Response. This change reflects the state’s comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid crisis.

State Opioid Response Grant

DHCS has received the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The SOR grant program addresses the opioid overdose crisis by providing resources to states and territories for increasing access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (MOUD), and for supporting the continuum of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for opioid use disorder (OUD) and other concurrent substance use disorders. The SOR program also supports the continuum of care for stimulant misuse and use disorders.

In California, the SOR program aims to:

  1. Expand access to MOUD;
  2. Address health inequities by providing OUD treatment to specific populations (Black, Tribal/Urban Indian, Hispanic/Latinx, and LGBTQI+ communities, people experiencing homelessness, people in criminal justice settings, and youth);
  3. Expand overdose prevention activities to prevent opioid, fentanyl, and methamphetamine misuse and overdose deaths; and
  4. Expand access to evidence-based harm reduction approaches, including overdose education, access to naloxone, counseling, and referral to treatment for OUD and SUD.

Learn more about specific California SOR projects on the Projects page.

California’s Opioid Settlements

As the opioid overdose epidemic and addiction crisis rage across the United States, state, local, and tribal governments have brought lawsuits against pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy chains, and drug distribution companies. The lawsuits allege that these companies fueled the opioid crisis by marketing opioids in misleading ways, downplaying risks, exaggerating benefits, and engaging in reckless distribution practices. The lawsuits and resulting settlements seek to recover costs associated with the opioid overdose epidemic. California has joined several lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, and others responsible for aiding the opioid epidemic.

To learn more about California’s opioid settlements, visit the opioid settlements page.

State Projects

Several projects under DHCS Opioid Response have received sustainable funding through State General Funds to address the opioid crisis, including MAT in Jails and Drug Courts and MAT Access Points. Learn more about these efforts on the Projects page.

Where can I find more information?

  • Visit the Projects page to learn more about specific projects under DHCS Opioid Response.
  • Visit the Opportunities page to learn more about behavioral health funding and learning opportunities for health care providers, community organizations, counties, and more.
  • Visit the Data page to learn more about the impact of projects under DHCS Opioid Response.
  • Visit the Latest Updates page to find recent articles and project updates.

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to find commonly asked questions regarding opioid use disorder, treatment and support, overdoses and reversal medication, and DHCS’s opioid response.

Contact us

For questions about the California opioid settlements, please email OSF@dhcs.ca.gov.

For questions about the California State Opioid Response grant, please email SOR@dhcs.ca.gov.

For general questions about DHCS Opioid Response, please email OpioidResponse@dhcs.ca.gov.