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California Bill Increasing Access to Opioid Addiction Treatments Gets Closer to Becoming a Law

To better fight fentanyl, Assemblymember Haney’s AB 2115 will modernize California’s methadone laws making the life saving treatment more widely available

For immediate release:
  • Nate Allbee
  • (415) 756-0561

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Matt Haney’s (D-San Francisco) AB 2115 has passed out of California’s Health Committee, in a groundbreaking bipartisan effort aimed at expanding access to opioid addiction treatment. The bill passed out of Assembly Business and Professions, Assembly Health, and Assembly Appropriations with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill which passed unanimously 67-0, now heads to the California Senate, representing a critical step forward towards addressing the fentanyl crisis that has affected communities across the State.

“We’ve reached a point where the treatment for opioid addiction is much harder to get than the deadly drugs themselves,” said Haney. “Dealers are much better at getting fentanyl and heroin into people’s hands than we are at getting them addiction medication. We have to reverse that entirely if we want to save people’s lives.”

AB 2115 represents a significant shift in how opioid addiction is treated in California by aligning California’s law with updated federal guidelines set by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, making California one of the most accessible states for methadone treatment access.

AB 2115 expands methadone access in the State by:

  1. For the first time, allowing doctors to dispense their patients up to 72-hours worth of take-home doses of methadone. Previously, only a methadone clinic could dispense methadone.
  2. Increasing the amount of methadone a patient can take home from a clinic, allowing them to avoid lining up for methadone in front of clinics on a daily basis.
  3. Allowing for expedited entry into a treatment program, by allowing non-methadone clinic doctors to perform and fulfill the federally required physical exams of the patient, as well as allowing patients to decline non-drug related blood testing and lab work.
  4. Remove the requirement that a patient have at least one year of recorded opioid usage before receiving treatment.
  5. Remove the requirement that the patient participate in frequent counseling services.
  6. Allow the patient to be absent from treatment for up to 30 days before being removed from a program.
  7. Allow physicians greater discretion to determine the appropriate dosage of methadone to administer for a patient.