Confirms: Prop. 36 Underfunded
the University of California at
Los Angeles have found that Californias
program needs at least $228.6 million
to provide adequate services, improve
treatment outcomes and increase
report, which was released on
Friday, April 13, and encouraged
legislators to reject the governors
proposal to slash Prop. 36 funding
to just $120 million, fully $109
million short of UCLAs recommendation.
Prop. 36 coordinator for the Drug
Policy Alliance, said Todays
report makes it clear that Prop.
36 has performed very well despite
a serious shortage of funding. The
governor and the legislature cannot
afford to ignore this reports
clear warning: failing to adequately
fund Prop. 36 jeopardizes treatment
success and the fiscal savings this
program has delivered to date.
Dooley added, Prop.
36 needs at least $230 million,
but the governor proposes just over
half that much. Todays report
may be inconvenient and embarrassing
for the governor, but he should
heed its message. Starving Prop.
36 would actually cost California
hundreds of millions of dollars,
while fully funding it will save
lives and money.
arrived at the recommended funding
level by analyzing the costs of
a series of improvements, including:
- More appropriate treatment placement
(eg, residential placement for those
severely addicted, $18.9 million);
- Providing a minimum dose,
or 90 days, of treatment ($31.3
- Expanding access to narcotic replacement
therapies, such as methadone and
buprenorphine ($3.7 million); and
- Enhancing probation supervision
Prop. 36 spending in FY 2005-06
($149.7 million) as a baseline,
the cost of these changes would
require total Prop. 36 funding of
This figure mirrors
the funding recommendation of the
County Alcohol and Drug Program
of California, whose 2007 survey
of program administrators found
that Prop. 36 needs at least $230
million to adequately address
the treatment needs.
In their report,
the UCLA researchers point out that
that the optimal funding figure
for Prop. 36 is still higher. The
report notes, Many potential
program enhancements are excluded
here, for example, the cost of increasing
length of stay in long-term residential
treatment, providing ancillary services,
or aftercare, all of which have
been shown to improve drug treatment
Drags Down Positive Results
As revealed by
the report, inadequate funding may
already be having a negative impact
on the program. Data show that 32.0%
of year-three Prop. 36 participants
went on to complete treatment. This
is two percentage points lower than
the completion rate in the programs
first two years: 34.4% and 34.3%,
co-author of Prop. 36, said, The
results of funding shortfalls in
years past are beginning to show
up in lower treatment completion
rates for Prop. 36. Due to limited
resources, Prop. 36 participants
are often placed on long waiting
lists or in an inappropriate, but
cheaper, level of care. The result
is predictable fewer complete
It is remarkable that the
state and counties give short shrift
to the cheapest, highest-impact
reform possible under Prop. 36.
For just $3.7 million more per year,
UCLA says most heroin and opiate-using
clients could get narcotic replacement
therapy the gold standard
treatment for this addiction. It
is a tragedy that this treatment
is so badly under-utilized.
According to UCLA,
a one-third completion rate is comparable
to treatment outcomes of other groups,
both those who enter treatment voluntarily
and those otherwise ordered to treatment
by criminal justice. According to
the California Society of Addiction
Medicine, it is also comparable
to treatment compliance with other
chronic conditions, including diabetes
UCLA found that
implementation of Prop. 36 in 2001-04
did not result in any increases
or decreases in crime rates in California.
The report found that among those
Prop. 36 participants who re-offended
after treatment, their offenses
were almost always drug-related,
rather than more serious crimes.
Controlling for "days on the
street," UCLA found: "offenders
in the [Prop. 36]-era group had
fewer re-arrests during un-incarcerated
time than offenders in the pre-[Prop.
In other words,
the effect of treatment was lasting
across the tens of thousands of
people with Prop. 36 experience.
They were less likely to be arrested
than people who had not had treatment
before Prop. 36 was enacted. Unsurprisingly,
drug arrests were lowest among those
who completed treatment.
About the Prop.
36 Budget Figures
For five years
(FY 2001-02 through FY 2005-06),
Prop. 36 was guaranteed funding
of $120 million per year from the
state general fund. Counties actually
spent $149 million to implement
Prop. 36 in FY 2005-06, according
to the UCLA report, which was possible
because some counties had carried
forward money from earlier years
with fewer clients.
Last year was the
first in which legislators set the
Prop. 36 program's budget. The legislature
approved $120 million for the main
Prop. 36 fund, and $25 million in
supplementary funds under the auspices
of the Offender Treatment Program,
which requires 1:9 county-matching.
Prop. 36 Savings
by UCLA show that for every $1 invested
in Prop. 36, the state saves $2.50.
For program completers, every $1
invested leads to $4 in savings.
UCLA put first year (2001-02) savings
at $173 million. The Legislative
Analysts Office has estimated
that the states $120 million
annual investment in Prop. 36 resulted
in net savings of $205 million in
2002-03 and $297 million in 2004-05.
Conservatively estimating $200 million
in savings per year, total program
savings in six years surpasses $1.2
Nearly six years
into Prop. 36, the number of people
incarcerated for drug possession
has fallen by 32% (5,000 people).
More than 1,000 Californians on
parole complete treatment under
Prop. 36 each year instead of going
back to prison. By diverting so
many into treatment, Prop. 36 rendered
unnecessary the construction of
a new mens prison (saving
an addition $500 million) and also
resulted in the shuttering of a
womens prison. This brings
total savings to $1.7 billion.
Prop. 36 Background
Prop. 36 was approved
by 61 percent of voters in November
2000. A June 2004 poll by the Field
Institute showed support for the
law at 73 percent. Nearly 12,000
people have successfully completed
substance treatment during each
year of Prop. 36s existence,
putting the program on track to
graduate 72,000 Californians in
its first six years.
the UCLA report online.