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Leaders urge Newsom to sign bill legalizing reward system for meth addiction treatment

San Francisco leaders are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign a bill that would legalize a reward system in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction.

Contingency management is an intervention program that provides financial rewards for people suffering from substance use disorders who consistently participate in treatment programs and remain sober.

Authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, Senate Bill 110, titled the Recovery Incentives Act, would make it legal to use contingency management in treatment for methamphetamine abuse, and would enable Medi-Cal to cover the treatment.

Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and community members joined Wiener at the Castro Country Club in calling on the governor to sign the bill.

Ching Wong/SFBay San Francisco Mayor London Breed, right, speaks during a press conference introducing SB110 at Castro Country Club in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. (Ching Wong / SFBay.ca)

Wiener said there is no medication available to treat methamphetamine addicts, unlike those with opioid addictions who have medical options. He explained that the contingency management method has been used elsewhere as an effective treatment program, adding:

“Contingency management is a tool that the San Francisco AIDS Foundation has been using for a decade that the Veterans Administration has been using for a decade. And that has proven results in helping people use less or stop using entirely, get into recovery and stay there.”

Breed praised SB 110 as an “innovative” solution to help people struggling with a drug addiction, adding:

“We have to make sure that we provide as many resources and as many incentives as possible to get people on the right path.”

Wiener has also secured $4.2 million in the state’s budget to open a drug sobering center in The City. The SoMa Rise Center will provide a safe place to monitor people coming down from drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl.

Breed said the new center will open sometime in November.

Noting that not all addicts are ready and willing to seek treatment, Department of Public Health Director Grant Colfax said that offering the SoMa Rise Center will meeting people where they are and help build relationships and trust.

Colfax said:

“It will bring people indoors where they can have a safe, welcoming place to come down, rest and can be connected to services.”

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