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Since Prop 36 took effect in July 2001, the law has helped over 150,000 Californians enter drug treatment and improve their lives and the lives of their families. There is one group we—and our legislators—don’t hear from enough: Prop 36 graduates.

Oliver H. is one of them. After drinking and drugging for over three decades, he graduated from Prop 36 treatment and probation in San Diego in 2005. Read his story here. Prop 36 drug treatment, not jail, helped turn around his life and the lives of many of his friends. Here, read what he thinks about Prop 36 and how grads can give back.

Have something to say in response? Let Oliver and us know on our comments page or by contacting him directly at [email protected].

Untitled Document

A Day in Sacramento: Forever Making a Difference

California’s treatment-instead-of-incarceration law, Prop 36, has helped over 140,000 people enter drug treatment since it came into effect in 2001. On July 1 2006, initial funding of Prop 36 drug treatment ends. The Governor and Legislature are now debating the refunding of Prop 36 drug treatment.
The Governor’s January draft budget recommended funding Prop 36 at 1999 levels. However, on April 19, 2006--after over 500 Prop 36 clients and grads rallied in support of the program at the Capitol--an Assembly Budget Subcommittee voted unanimously to increase funding by $30 million. This is a good start, but is still not enough.

In this commentary, Oliver H, a Prop 36 grad from San Diego, talks about the April 19 rally and hearing and the importance of refunding of Prop 36…

This is my personal experience of April 19, 2006, the day when over 500 Prop 36 clients and grads rallied in Capitol Park.

April 19, 2006, is a day that will forever be a part of my life. To see hundreds of people sitting in a grassy area near the state Capitol all for Prop 36 was awesome! People from all walks of life, all over the state, and all the different houses (recovery homes) were representing themselves proudly and sharing success stories about themselves and loved ones. We were all different, but for one day, right there, that moment, we all had a common goal: sending the message that "Prop 36 Works!"

After the rally, I made it to the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No.1 hearing on Prop 36 funding. When I got there, the reality of actually speaking before the committee had not yet fully sunk in. But after hearing various people speak about why Prop 36 should have more funding and hearing the motion for an additional $30 million, the time had come for me to speak. Speaking at the hearing was new to me, but my message was clear from the very start:

"First let me say I take great pride in standing before you, a success story and a miracle. If not for Prop 36 I would not be standing before you, I'd be in prison or dead. Being institutionalized in prison would only teach me how to be a better criminal and and futher support my drug addiction.

"A chain (society) is only as strong as it's weakest link. Prop 36 takes these weak links (people, like me, addicted to drugs and alcohol) and strengthens them."

It was an exciting day. Over 500 of us got together and made something happen in Sacramento. After that experience, I know that for years to come, all of us involved in Prop 36, shall be forever making a difference...

Prop 36 does more than change and save lives! There are three equally important ways that Prop 36 will have a much bigger impact than most of us think about: community, giving back to recovery and our future. In my next article I'll explain the three in more detail.

  Choose a Commentary
Drumming Up Support
Forever Making a Difference
A Day in Sacramento
Changing Our Future
Grads Reaching Out to Young Artists
One Year As An Advocate




Drug Policy Alliance · (916) 444-3751 · [email protected]
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