Skip to main content

Ward Bill to Increase Substance Use Disorder Counselor Workforce Passes Assembly Health Committee

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO,CA) – More than 100,000 overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, California is facing a shortage of substance use disorder treatment counselors needed to address the opioid epidemic. In an effort to increase this workforce, Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) introduced AB 1860 to remove the requirement for graduate students interns who are pursuing a career in psychology, marriage and family therapy, social work or counseling to complete supervised hours with a certifying organization. Today, the bill passed with a bipartisan vote in the Assembly Health Committee. 

“AB 1860 is about getting Californians the help they need now so they don’t have to struggle with addiction,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “Expanding the substance use disorder treatment workforce has never been more critical.”

Under current state law, graduate student interns are required to be placed in a field program to gain experience. However, students can only be placed in programs that meet strict oversight standards and supervision. AB 1860 will allow these students to still gain critical field experience and remove the barrier needed to get Californians the help they need to combat addiction.