California Invests More Resources in Programs to Treat Opioid Use Disorders

SACRAMENTO – California continues to invest in community-based programs to address the opioid epidemic. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) today awarded $1.5 million to 20 organizations to expand Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) across California, and requested applications for grants totaling $3 million to tackle substance use in Tribal and urban Indian communities.

“We view everything we do through a lens of equity. These two projects are examples of our greater commitment to health equity as we continue expanding support and care for individuals with substance use and opioid use disorders,” said DHCS Director Michelle Baass. 

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Drivers of systemic inequities in behavioral health care include the criminalization of substance use, racism, and structural barriers to health services. This creates a treatment gap, as only 5 percent of people with a substance use disorder (SUD) receive treatment for their conditions in any given year. Closing this treatment gap requires directly addressing systemic inequities in behavioral health care and intentional health equity investments in community health center-based SUD treatment programs.

Grant Awards: ATSH Equity Collaborative

Awardees will receive funds from February 28, 2023, to June 30, 2024, to implement the Addiction Treatment Starts Here Equity-Centered Community Learning Collaborative (ATSH Equity Collaborative). Entities include health center sites in California that provide comprehensive primary care services with established MAT programs to an underserved population. The program funds will support community health centers’ treatment of SUD. They will also work to address, and ultimately eliminate, SUD inequities by expanding MAT care with an equity and racial justice approach that strengthens partnerships between clinics and their community partners.

Request for Application (RFA): Tribal and Urban Indian Community-Defined Best Practices Program

The California Tribal MAT (TMAT) Project is designed to meet the opioid use disorder (OUD) and SUD needs of California’s Tribal and urban Indian communities. A component of the TMAT project, the Tribal and Urban Indian Community-Defined Best Practices program will support best-practice knowledge exchange for the enhancement of services for the prevention and treatment of, and recovery from, OUD and other co-occurring SUDs in Tribal and urban Indian communities. Tribal entities may apply to receive up to $150,000 from May 1, 2023, through May 31, 2024, to support the identification of cultural and traditional healing and recovery practices and their integration into developing or existing Tribal and urban Indian health programs for substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

These projects are funded by the State Opioid Response III grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They are part of DHCS’ broader efforts to address SUD, collectively known as the California MAT Expansion Project, to increase access to MAT, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities.

For more information about efforts to expand MAT, visit California MAT Expansion Project Overview. Learn more about the California MAT Expansion Project.

ABOUT MAT: MAT is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of OUDs, and can help some people to sustain recovery.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Since coming into office, Governor Gavin Newsom has dedicated more than $1 billion in funding to fight the opioid crisis by removing opioids from the streets, providing resources to California communities in need, and increasing education and awareness to prevent harm in the first place.

In fiscal year 2022-23, DHCS is investing more than $558 million in various opioid prevention and treatment grant activities. Today’s grant and RFA announcements are just two of several efforts made by DHCS in recent months to tackle SUDs/OUDs, including $2.4 million for the MAT in Jails and Drug Courts Project$2 million for the California Native MAT Network for Healing and Recovery Project$4 million to 54 driving under the influence programs for resources and treatment$52 million invested in opioid prevention and treatment services$12 million to tackle youth opioid use$3.4 million to transform medical practices to address the opioid crisis, and $58.5 million for youth substance use prevention