County to Triple Spending on Opioid, Substance Abuse Disorders

Deaths attributed to SUDs are on the rise in San Diego County and are typically driven by addiction, mental health and homelessness, according to HHSA

San Diego County officials are expected to triple spending to combat opioid and other substance abuse disorders that can be linked to an increase in homelessness, mental illness and criminal behavior, county officials said Monday.

An $179.6 million Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) treatment plan was unveiled by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Monday.

There were more than 500 unintentional drug or alcohol deaths in 2016 and the number continues to rise, according to county officials.

Deaths attributed to SUDs are typically driven by addiction, mental health and homelessness, Health and Human Service Agency (HHSA) spokesperson Sarah Sweeney said. 

County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Greg Cox were joined by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cindy Cipriani and District Attorney Summer Stephan, along with several health care providers to unveil the program outside the County Administration Center Monday.

"We want to get people into drug treatment," Roberts said. "It’s affecting our homeless; it’s affecting, you know, our jail population; it’s affecting people who are in treatment all over the county. We want to do a better job by having a comprehensive system."

County officials believe the SUDs Treatment Delivery System can ultimately help combat homelessness in San Diego County.

The board will consider approval of the SUDs Treatment Delivery System at a meeting Tuesday. If the treatment system passes, implementation could come as soon as Summer 2018. 

Currently, the county receives about $54.6 million in funding to treat SUDs through a system of case management, aftercare and residential recovery services, the county said. The additional funding will in part be used to increase the number of San Diegans served by expanding an existing provider network.

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