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California May Pay People With Addiction to Stay Sober

Money stack

Photo: Getty Images

California lawmakers want to pay those with addictions to stay sober in an effort to fight rampant drug overdoses.

According to Futurism Governor Newsom requested permission from the federal government to use tax money via Medicaid to pay people with addiction to stay sober. A similar piece of legislature and has already passed the State Senate. The process is called "contingency management."

People with addictions earn money for each drug test they pass. Once you complete treatment with zero tests coming back positive for drug use, you earn up to a few hundreds dollars through a gift card. Research has shown that it is incredibly effective at treating drug addiction. This idea has already been employed by the federal government in an effort to address drug use amongst veterans.

A successful example of this concept comes from Tyrone Clifford who took part in a similar program from the San Francisco AIDS foundation. Clifford said he was paid $2 for his first negative drug test, which increased with each negative drug test. After 12 weeks he had about $330 from the program.

"I though, I can do 12 weeks. I've done that before when my dealer was in jail. When I'm done I'll have 330 bucks to get high with." Clifford said

Instead of using his money for drugs, he instead purchased a laptop to help him go back to school. He's been sober since the program ended and hasn't used drugs in 11 years. This seemingly radical program can have a great impact on communities that need it the most. If this succeeds in California, we might see a more state-mandated contingency management programs in the future.

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