Clever attempt to professionalize the California addiction industry meets sad ending

The dome of the State Capitol shines in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

It was such a wonderfully clever bill. With a wave of a (bureaucratic) magic wand, it could have imposed some order on an unruly, high-dollar industry that operates in life and death.

But, like other sparks of legislative genius—like, say, what is actually needed by the vast majority of California’s addiction treatment centers. licensed – It hit a brick wall in Sacramento.

Bill of the assembly women’s quota Petri-Norris, AB 2087Something elegant and logical would have been done to protect the vulnerable people seeking sobriety as well as the neighborhood hosting them: it would simply require that businesses and employees be dispensing drugs to their customers/patients Must be licensed to actually distribute or offer prescription drugs to its customers/patients.

Crazy, isn’t it?

It would also have allowed people to sue businesses that did not comply with the law.

Now, if you ain’t following every burp and gurgle Our reporting on the addiction treatment industry over the past five yearsIt is very common (in licensed treatment centers and unlicensed sober homes) to “house managers” or “house techs” for “house managers”, then give them daily to those clients/patients, Those who need them so that patients can “self-administer” their prescriptions.

He is not a pharmacist. House managers or tech’s key credentials are often that they’ve been sober for a few months, and/or they’ve gone through the program they now work for. But this “self-administration” loophole allows treatment and recovery businesses to avoid licensure—and things can get much worse.

Facebook Profile Picture Of Henry Lehr.
Facebook profile picture of Henry Lehr.

death before dawn

On the morning of 26 August 2021, a furious Henry Richard Lehr leaves the Gratitude Lodge detox house in Newport Beach showing signs of paranoid delirium, He screamed about wanting to leave, being chased, screaming about wanting to go home. He broke into a beautiful house on the nearby cul-de-sac; The man inside had a gun; And in seconds, Lehr—an aspiring singer-songwriter with a “phonographic” memory who struggled with alcoholism and other substances—was dead. He was 23 years old.

Lehr Found a Cocktail of Contraceptive Drugs, Petri-Norris Says While introducing a bill in the Legislature.

“It’s clear that this young man should have been in a facility with more supervision and monitoring,” Petrie-Norris said. “This sad example really highlights the need for this bill in my mind, and the need for us to strengthen oversight when it comes to the distribution of drugs, especially in recovery residences.”

The bill was the latest to be called “Jarrod’s Law,” after Wendy McEntire’s son, who died of an overdose in a sober living home in the San Fernando Valley. Twenty-four men were living in the three-bedroom house, and one brought a “speedball” to share.

Sky Forest'S Wendy Mcentire Lost Her Son, Jarrod, To An Overdose In 2004 At A Quiet Living House In The San Fernando Valley.  Mcentire Founded The Nonprofit Jarrod'S Law In His Memory And Began Fighting To Change California'S Laws.  (Photo By Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register / Scng)
Wendy McEntire, founder of the nonprofit Jarrods Law (File photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“The staff responsible for his care did nothing to save or revive him,” McEntire told legislators. “He was left alone for hours until his last breath, while the fire brigade was just two blocks away, but he was never called.

“This complete carelessness and lack of care opened my eyes to the unfortunate fact that I am not alone. Families keep sending their loved ones for treatment in hopes of eventually getting help. Only his loved ones are facing conditions worse than the addiction.”

She said (though we’ll tell you more about all of this soon). He said that we need to close this very dangerous loophole.

Christian Acheson tells legislators how he signed up for a $120,000, six-month program in 2020 with a provider in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. He said a “house take” was working out of the garage of an unlicensed home, dispensing morning, afternoon and evening medicines to dozens of patients.

Attasan was eventually “stopped” — the lingo for exiting when insurance benefits ended — but the provider continued to order drugs in his name, he said. He became homeless, leading to increased vertebral damage; But he was outperforming others who were treating him. Many died, he said.

fail again

There was no formal protest on file.

But an analysis of the bill noted that the existing law already prohibits the use of unlicensed drugs.

And that existing law already allows people to be sued for unfair business practices.

And that explicitly granting the right to sue in these cases could shut down courts and cost the state — wait for it — another $265,600 or so a year.

And money is tight these days! (oh wait, there isn’t $49 billion surplus in the state budget or something…?)

Orange County Is Hardly Known For Producing The State'S Leading Environmental Lawmakers, But Second-Term Assembly Member Coty Petri-Norris Is Helping To Change That—Especially When It Comes To Coastal Issues.  Among His Breakthrough Legislation This Year Was A Law That Makes It Easier To Restore Marine Habitat Offshore And Another To Ease Bureaucracy Addressing Sea Level Rise.  It Also Won An $8 Million Grant To Purchase The Undeveloped Banning Ranch In Coastal Newport Beach, Which Would Become A Public Park.  (Photo By Mark Wrightmeier, Orange County Register / Scng)
Coty Petri-Norris (Photo by Mark Wrightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“It died in appropriation,” Petri-Norris said. “The official explanation is that bills die because they cost the state money and don’t make it into the ranks of expenditure. This is somewhat of a black box.

“From my perspective, this is the latest in four years of failed legislation trying to regulate this industry and protect patients,” she said.

“To me, a lot of my colleagues don’t recognize the urgency of this issue. As we know, it’s concentrated in our communities on the Orange County coast and a few other places. It’s not widespread.

“For us to move the needle, we need individuals and their families – who have had these experiences and who have been harmed – we need them to speak up, raise awareness, so more and more legislatures understand that It is urgent. It is fair to say that it is a matter of life and death.”

McEntire is also disappointed, but vows to keep working to raise the bar.

“Drug administration is a licensable service and it is criminal that[the California Department of Health Care Services]is allowing self-administration to evade licensure,” she said by email.

We’ve said this many times over the past five years, but here it is again: There’s always next year. But how many people will die between now and then?

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