It’s sad that it’s come to this.
A new law proposed by a California State Senator would provide gift cards to citizens of the state for staying sober.
Senate Bill 888, proposed by San Francisco’s Scott Weiner, would make recovering former meth users eligible to receive gift cards and other financial rewards for staying sober. Weiner has a controversial record as a state legislator, at one point proposing a law that made declining to reveal one’s HIV status to a sexual partner no longer a felony.
Methamphetamine has a particularly strong presence in California, and the state is one of the few in the country where more die from use of the cheap drug than they do of opioid overdoses.
California has a massive drug problem, a blight worsened by the state’s homeless population- by far the largest in the country.
Addicts would submit to regular drug tests to receive state benefits under the bill. They’d be made eligible for subsidized treatment with California’s Medi-Cal, the state medicare program.
Participants in the program can receive up to $330 in gift cards.
Weiner’s legislation may actually have some merits. Creating a cash incentive for drug users to stay clean may ultimately prove more effective than costly and ineffective state-controlled drug recovery programs. In any case, it’s likely paying addicts is a more efficient use of resources then locking them up in the stacked California prison system after committing crimes to fuel their addiction.
But it’s a tragedy that the state has come to this. California used to represent the dreams and aspirations of the American middle class, not ground zero for homelessness and drug addiction.