Legislative Alert: California Laws on Opioids and Conservatorship

January 24, 2019

California SB 1109: Controlled Substances: Schedule II Drugs: Opioids

On September 22, 2018, SB 1109, authored by Senator Patricia Bates, was signed into law. Bates introduced SB 1109 in February 2018, alongside six other senators.

The bill amends several sections of the Business and Professions Code, adds a section to the Education Code, and adds two sections to the Health and Safety Code, all relating to controlled substances. In 2017, San Diego County had 273 unintentional prescription-related deaths, which is an increase from 253 in 2016. Per a press release on Senator Bates' website, the bill will promote opioid education.

"The opioid crisis is very real, but it can be prevented with proper education," Bates writes in the press release. "I thank the governor for signing this critical legislation which will continue to bring awareness to a painful topic that has affected families throughout California."

Senator Bates and the San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan had written a joint op-ed in April 2018 on The Coast News, stating the four objectives of the bill and saying, "While SB 1109 will not solve California's opioid epidemic on its own, it can help as part of a broader legislative effort. We crafted SB 1109 based on part of our conversations with grieving parents who have lost young kids to the opioid epidemic. It was clear to us that education must be part of any successful effort to reduce addiction."

California SB 1045: Conservatorship: Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders

On September 27, 2018, the Governor signed SB 1045. Introduced in February 2018 by Senator Scott Wiener and four others, the bill adds and repeals certain articles of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to conservatorship.

The bill would establish a procedure for the County of Los Angeles, the County of San Diego, and the City and County of San Francisco (if authorized) for the appointment of a conservator for a person who is incapable of caring for their own health and well-being due to mental illness and substance use disorder. It would repeal on January 1, 2024, all of the provisions relating to the new conservatorship procedure and the working group described in the bill.

According to this fact sheet linked on NAMI California, "This bill will provide a narrow, but effective optional tool for counties to deliver services, treatment, and support to the most vulnerable people in California.

In this press release on the Office of the Mayor of San Francisco, San Francisco Mayor London Breed is quoted as saying, "I have been a longtime supporter of strengthening our conservatorship laws and I look forward to moving quickly to implement this legislation at the local level so we can start providing care to those in need."

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