County Extends Drug Treatment Program

A drug treatment and counseling program for 650 non-violent adult drug users got a six-month extension from the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, thanks to federal stimulus funds.

State law gives first or second time non-violent drug offenders, who are caught with drugs for their personal use, a chance to obtain treatment rather than go to jail. The money comes from the state but is administered by the counties.

Funds for the program were cut from the 2010 state budget, but a one-time federal stimulus grant of $3,232,008 allowed the board of supervisors to continue the program through March 31, after which unspent funds were supposed to be returned.

But in January the California Emergency Management Agency, which administers the federal funds, extended that deadline to Sept. 30.

As a result, the county still has about $1 million to continue the program. The Board of Supervisors’ 5-0 vote extended the master contract with treatment centers through the end of September.

To keep it going once the federal money runs out, the treatment organizations that contract with the county’s Health Care Agency are developing a way for the offenders themselves to pay for the services.