Aug. 29, 2023 – “It’s really a brave choice of California to try this against potential backlash and misunderstanding,” said Catherine Teare, an associate director at the nonprofit California Health Care Foundation, noting that stimulant use is a particularly severe problem among the state’s growing homeless population. “This isn’t going to solve it,” she said, “but I think it’s well worth trying.”

There aren’t any targeted medications to combat addiction to stimulants, as there are for opioids and alcohol, so stimulant addictions are among the hardest to treat. That’s why state officials are banking on this pilot program to fight cocaine and methamphetamine abuse.

Deaths from these kind of stimulants in California quadrupled from 2011 to 2019, according to an analysis by the California Health Care Foundation. Emergency department visits related to amphetamines rose nearly 50 percent in two years, from 2018 to 2020, the analysis found.