CA Opioid Legislation

California Opioid Legislation 

Compiled by Ramon Castellblanch, PhD, Quality Healthcare Concepts, Inc.

Last updated: February 2021

2018 CA Opioid Legislative Summary

 2019 - 2020 Legislative Session 

Medication-Assisted Treatment Access

AB 80
Summary: Before AB 80, Drug Medi-Cal (DMC), the Medi-Cal program covering substance use disorder treatment in an overwhelming majority of counties, could only cover methadone and naltrexone for use in medication-assisted treatment (MAT). AB 80 extends DMC MAT coverage to include buprenorphine, a comparably effective alternative to methadone.
Author: Committee on Budget
Status: Chaptered

AB 319
Summary: Would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to create reimbursement rates and rate billing codes for use by licensed narcotic treatment programs providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Author: Blanca Rubio (D-eastern San Gabriel Valley)
Status: Died in committee

AB 882
Summary: would prohibit an employer from discharging an employee for being in MAT
Author: McCarty (D-Sacramento)
Status: Assembly Labor (first committee)
AJ position: SUPPORT

AB 890 – referred to Assembly Business & Professions
Summary: would allow nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances
Author: Wood (D-Eureka)
AJ position: SUPPORT

AB 1304
Summary: Establishes the California medically assisted treatment (MAT) Re-Entry Incentive Program which would make a person on parole, except as specified, eligible for a reduction in the period of parole if the person successfully participates in a substance abuse treatment program, as specified, including medication-assisted treatment.
Author: Waldron (R-Escondido)
Status: Chaptered; Waldron website says that, as of September 2020, provisions of the Governor’s Budget Plan were aligned with AB 1304. Author working with the Governor’s Office on an expedited timeline, optimistic that the program could become operative shortly.

AB 1327
Summary: would require narcotic treatment programs to provide safe storage products, as defined, to every patient who is eligible to take medication off the premises
Author: Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach)
Status: Senate Health

AB 1557
Summary: would require DHCS to fund a MAT-in-jail pilot program in San Francisco
Author: Chiu (D-San Francisco)
Status: Assembly Appropriations suspense
AJ position: SUPPORT

SB 11
Summary: Requires a health care service plan or insurer that provides prescription drug benefits for the treatment of substance use disorders must place all prescription medications for the treatment of substance use disorders on the lowest tier of the drug formulary developed and maintained by the health care service plan
Author: Beall (D-Campbell)
Status: Senate Appropriations suspense
AJ position: SUPPORT

SB 445
Summary: Would have required Department of Health Care Services to convene an expert panel as part of an existing advisory body or workgroup, on or before January 1, 2021, to advise DHCS solely on the development of youth substance use disorder (SUD) treatment quality standards, as specified.
Author: Portantino (D- San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys)
Status: Vetoed; referred to Behavioral Health Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which conducted a one-time Children’s Behavioral Health Listening Session for Future Planning and Discussions at its July 2020 meeting.

SB 855
Summary: This bill extends California’s mental health parity law to cover SUD treatment under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions; establishes new requirements for medically necessary care determinations and utilization review; and bans discretionary clauses in health plan contracts.
Author: Wiener (D-San Francisco)
Status: Chaptered; Department of Managed Heath Care is moving forward with implementation: effective 1/1/21, plans must use evidence-based American Society of Addiction Medicine guidelines for SUD criteria; plans are also required to include SUD treatment facilities in their networks or to cover out-of-network services.

Rehab Access

AB 389
Summary: Would require DHCS to support SUD peer navigators for Emergency Departments.
Author: Arambula (D-Fresno)
Status: Died, but state budget included $20 million to support grants for substance use navigators (SUNs) for emergency department pilot projects. SUNs are care coordinators helping those treated for SUD in emergency departments to transition into SUD treatment. Each participating E.D. received a $100,000 grant.
AJ position: SUPPORT

AB 1468
Summary: would charge opioid makers and distributors to help fund opioid use disorder prevention and treatment programs
Author: McCarty (D-Sacramento)
Status: Assembly Floor; two-thirds vote required

SB 10
Summary: would establish behavioral health services and/ or SUD treatment peer support specialist certification program; specialists could be eligible for Medi-Cal funding
Author: Beall (D-Campbell)
AJ position: SUPPORT
Status: Assembly Appropriations

SB 42
Summary: would provide a person with the right to request that, upon his or her release from a county jail, he or she be assisted in entering a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program; would also require a person who is released from jail after being incarcerated for more than 30 days to be provided with at least 3 days’ supply of any necessary medication
Author: Skinner (D-Berkeley)
Status: Assembly Appropriations

SB 803
Summary: Would establish a peer support specialist certification program under DHCS.
Author: Beall (D-Campbell)
Status: Chaptered


Special Populations

AB 1058
Summary: would declare the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to establish a pilot program in several counties to support the integration of specialty mental health services and substance use disorder treatment provided under the Medi-Cal program
Author: Salas (D-Bakersfield)
Status: Senate Appropriations suspense

AB 1304
Summary: provides a sentence-reduction program for qualified parolees who voluntarily receive at least six months of medication-assisted treatment. 
Author: Waldron (R- Escondido)
Status: In committee
AJ Position: Support. A similar model in Kentucky has proven effective in reducing reincarceration rates, as well as opioid and alcohol use.

SB 445
Summary: would require DHCS to convene an expert panel as part of an existing advisory body or workgroup, on or before January 1, 2021, to advise DHCS solely on the development of youth substance use disorder (SUD) treatment quality standards, as specified.
Author: Portantino (D- San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys)
Status: Vetoed; policy advocates referred to Behavioral Stakeholder Advisory Committee

Naloxone Access

AB 714
Summary: exempts inpatient facilities from requirement to prescribe naloxone concurrent with certain opioid prescriptions
Author: Wood (D-Eureka)
Status: Chaptered

Safe Injection

AB 362
Summary: Authorize San Francisco to operate safe injection site for users of dangerous drugs. While this is opposed by the current federal administration, it is an important step forward in harm reduction.
Author: Eggman (D-Stockton)
Status: Died in 2019-20 session; reintroduced for 2021-22 session as SB 57 (2021)

SB 689
Summary: Would require localities to opt-in via ordinance or resolution before the California Department of Public Health can authorize a needle exchange in that area.
Author: Moorlach (R-Orange County)
AJ position: OPPOSE


AB 528
Summary: would require a pharmacy to report to CURES no more than one working day after dispensing a controlled substance; would require controlled substance prescriber to consult the CURES to review the patient’s controlled substance history at least once every 6 months
Author: Low (D-Cupertino)
AJ position: SUPPORT
Status: Chaptered

Dual Diagnosis

AB 1058
Summary: Would require DHCS to engage in a stakeholder process to develop recommendations for addressing barriers to the delivery of integrated behavioral health services for Medi-Cal beneficiaries with co-occurring SUD and behavioral health conditions.
Author: Salas (D-Bakersfield)
Status: Senate Appropriations

Recovery & Treatment Facilities

AB 549
Summary: Alcoholism and drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities spot bill
Author: Diep (R-Huntington Beach)

AB 615
Summary: Would make giving or receiving remuneration or anything of value for the referral of a person who is seeking alcoholism or drug misuse recovery and treatment services a crime
Author: Brough (R-San Juan Capistrano)
Status: Assembly Public Safety

AB 682
Summary: Would require the State Department of Public Health, to solicit a grant to develop a database to display information about the availability of beds in licensed residential alcoholism or drug misuse recovery or treatment facilities
Author: Eggman (D-Stockton)
Status: Assembly Appropriations Suspense
AJ position: SUPPORT

AB 704
Summary: Would require criminal record review of staff in an alcoholism or drug misuse recovery or treatment facility
Author: Patterson (R-Fresno)
Status: Assembly Appropriations Suspense

AB 920
Summary: Requires licensure of all outpatient alcoholism or drug misuse recovery or treatment programs receiving Drug Medi-Cal-Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) funds. Licensure standards shall be the equivalent of American Society of Addiction Medicine. It is likely that all Medi-Cal payments for substance use disorder treatment will meet DMC-ODS standards after June, 2020
Author: Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach)
Status: Vetoed in 2019-20 session; reintroduced for 2021-22 session as AB 77 (2021)

AB 940
Summary: Prohibits a recovery residence from engaging in paying a third party to refer a patient
Author: Melendez (R-Murrieta)
Status: Assembly Health (first committee)

SB 325
Summary: Would require SUD treatment outpatient facilities to be licensed by DHCS, unless already included in Drug Medi-Cal network; supported by CA Society of Addiction Medicine.
Author: Hill (D-Silicon Valley)
Status: Assembly Business & Professions

SB 486
Summary: Alcoholism and drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities spot bill
Author: Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)
Status: Senate Health (first committee)

SB 589
Summary: Would empower DHCS to prohibit an operator of a licensed alcoholism or drug misuse recovery or treatment facility from any form of advertising or marketing services from making a false or misleading statement about the entity’s products, goods, services, or geographical locations
Author: Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)
Status: Vetoed; Governor claims DHCS has no jurisdiction over such licensed facilities

AB 1779
Summary: Would establish, and require the department to adopt and implement, minimum standards for counties seeking to use state funding to offer recovery residences providing an alcohol- and drug-free environment for persons recovering from alcoholism or drug misuse
Author: Daly (D-Anaheim)
Status: Senate Appropriations Suspense

Opioid Prescribing

AB 888
Summary: Extends the requirement for a prescriber to discuss the risks associated with opioids to any adult patients before issuing the first prescription in a single course of treatment for a controlled substance containing an opioid.
Author: Low (D-Silicon Valley)
Status: Senate Business & Professions; double referral (Business & Professions, Health)

Involuntary Treatment

SB 590
Summary: Would authorize a parent, legal guardian, or spouse of a person to file a petition in the court for purposes of involuntary treatment of the person, if that person suffers from a substance use disorder.
Author: Stone (R-Murrieta)
Status: Assembly Appropriations
AJ Position: OPPOSE



AB 551
Summary: Details the types of drugs (including cannabis, fentanyl, methamphetamine) that a coroner must screen a deceased driver for (in addition to alcohol). The chemical results are to be reported monthly to the California Highway Patrol.
Author(s): Assembly Member William Brough (R-Dana Point)
Status: Vetoed by Governor
AJ Position: Support –Understanding how drugs and alcohol impair driving is necessary for crafting ever better policy for addressing the very serious issue of impaired drivers on our roadways




Alcopops are heavily flavored, heavily sugared, often high-ABV alcoholic beverages. They are among the most popular first drink for many youth. The Alcopop-Free Zone project used youth representatives to engage the San Rafael Canal community, educate retailers, and get alcopops off of store shelves.

]Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder includes bupernorphine among other medications. It offers the best opportunity for people who use opioids to live long, healthy lives, but only if they have access to it. Geographic, economic, and language barriers further complicate individuals' efforts to obtain this life-saving treatment. The MAT Access Project/Proyecto Latino TAM works to educate the Latinx community of Marin on the dangers of opioids, and promote culturally competent MAT services for those who needs it.


Within liquor, grocery, and drug stores, good retail practices can not only make it harder for youth to obtain alcohol, but make youth less interested in drinking. Youth Action for Safe Stores (YASS) develops youth leaders who can evaluate stores' retail practices, engage with business owners, and promote best retail practices throughout San Rafael.


Alcopops 2020



Don Carney, Director, Marin Youth Court
SRADC President

Nick Moorhatch, Producer, Comcast Cable Access
SRADC Vice President

Adolfo Aguilar, member, Youth For Justice

Marcianna Nosek
, PhD, MPH, MS, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco.
Larry Merideth, PhD, Director, Marin Health and Human Services

Michael Watenpaugh
, EdD, Superindent, San Rafael City Schools

Kevin Lynch, Director of Juvenile Services Division, County of Marin Probation Department

Elia Manzo, leader, Consejo Restaurativo

Wilibaldo Pulido, owner, La Plaza Market.

Douglas Mundo, Executive Director, Canal Welcome Center.

Mary Joe Williams, CAO, Bay Area Community Resources

Sam Alexander, Pastro, First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael

Eric Bejarano, student, Sonoma State University