- Mike Blount
- Communications Director
- (916) 812-6984
(SACRAMENTO,CA) – More than 6,000 Californians die from drug overdoses each year, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Despite roughly 2.7 million Californians having an addiction, there are fewer than 20,000 substance use disorder counselors statewide. To help close the gap and get people the help they need, Assemblymember Chris Ward 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. The bill is now headed to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature.
“We are failing our most vulnerable residents by not having a strong substance use disorder workforce to help them overcome addiction,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “AB 1860 will streamline the process for students to gain critical field experience, while increasing our workforce so we can get more people into recovery sooner. This is about saving lives and sending a clear message that recovery is not only possible, it can begin today.”
As the opioid epidemic continues to evolve and impose a serious threat to public health, California will need to greatly expand the substance use disorder treatment counselor workforce to match the need. 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 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.