California has problems. Lots of problems, actually. Among them is rampant drug use. And it's getting so bad there that the state government is looking to literally pay people to quit using:
It's called "contingency management" and Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the federal government for permission to use tax dollars to pay for it through Medicaid, the joint state and federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled that covers nearly 14 million people in California.
Meanwhile, a similar proposal is moving through California's Democratic-controlled Legislature. It's already passed the Senate with no opposition and is pending in the Assembly, where it has a Republican co-author.
It sounds like a wacky, harebrained, expensive idea—which is to say, very California—but of course the relevant question is: Does it work? Well, apparently not really:
There is "clear and convincing evidence" that the treatment works to keep people sober from drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, according to an analysis by the California Health Benefits Review Program. However, while research shows it is effective in keeping people sober during the program, the effect doesn't last much beyond six months after treatment concludes.
Some enterprising Californians, meanwhile, saw a rare business opportunity in the initiative:
The entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and well in the Golden State!
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