LA Tries New Initiative to Treat More Addicts

dementiaAn initiative in Los Angeles County, known as Reaching the 95% (or R95), seeks to increase engagement with those needing addiction treatment in the California city. Nationwide statistics reveal that while over 48 million people grapple with drug or alcohol use disorders, only 13 million sought treatment last year. Between 2016 and 2022, overdose deaths tied to fentanyl soared from 109 to 1,910, according to a county report.

The R95 initiative hopes that addiction treatment facilities will adapt their approach by offering financial incentives for programs that meet R95 requirements, which include refraining from automatically disqualifying participants who have a “lapse” in drug use, as well as not mandating complete abstinence from drugs before entering the recovery program. The initiative also promotes working with harm reduction organizations and treatment providers as allies rather than adversaries. Notably, R95 has fostered dialogue between opposing sides.

By the end of March, R95 had agreements with about half of the addiction treatment providers contracted with L.A. County to become “R95 Champions.” To receive funds, providers must submit admission and discharge policies showing adherence to R95 guidelines and an “engagement policy.” However, some treatment providers continue to hold on to long-standing beliefs about the importance of abstinence when battling addictions.

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