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Seal of Los Angeles County, CaliforniaBy Glenda Pinney, DUI Program Manager – Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Los Angeles County has the largest number of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) programs in the state with 60 licensed DUI program locations. In 2019, eight of the DUI program sites were selected to participate in the state’s DUI Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) Integration/Outreach Pilot Project. The DUI MAT Pilot Project is one of the Department of Health Care Services 26 State Opioid Response projects that support the goals of California’s MAT 2.0 Initiative.

Los Angeles County was excited to learn about the DUI MAT Pilot as the Department of Public Health Substance Abuse Prevention and Control (DPH – SAPC) views the Pilot Project as a critical vehicle for connecting DUI offenders to the expanded Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment services available through the County’s Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC – ODS).

Once the Pilot Project subcontractors were identified, DPH – SAPC hosted a meeting with participating DUI providers to determine the most efficient way for DUI MAT subcontractors to refer clients to SUD treatment and to monitor their progress. The group agreed that the DUI program counselors should screen clients before referring them to a SUD treatment program.

To ensure that the DUI program counselors were properly trained on the screening tool, DPH – SAPC hosted a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) approved training for approximately 20 DUI program counselors on using the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Triage Tool, which the County uses to determine possible SUD and the provisional level of care (i.e., Outpatient Treatment, Intensive Outpatient Treatment, Residential Treatment, and Withdrawal Management). The counselors were also trained on how to use the County’s web-based Service and Bed Availability Tool (SBAT) to search for available intake appointments for the full ASAM Assessment.

Since the ASAM Triage Tool training, the DUI program counselors have been conducting ASAM screenings on clients who score Moderate to High on the DAST Screening Tool and referring those individuals who screen positive on the ASAM Triage Tool to treatment. To date, Los Angeles County’s DUI MAT Pilot Project subcontractors have screened over 2,500 clients with the DAST Screening Tool and assessed eight clients with the ASAM Triage Tool. Six clients have been referred to SUD treatment and one has successfully completed both his SUD treatment and DUI program.

DPH – SAPC has also provided on-going support for the DUI MAT Pilot Program, assisting DUI program counselors in placing their clients in SUD treatment. When DUI program counselors have had challenges in finding open beds for Withdrawal Management or scheduling same-day appointments for clients ready to enroll in treatment, DPH – SAPC has been able to contact treatment providers and assist in facilitating appointments and/or enrollments.

Los Angeles County wanted to learn from the other Southern California counties with DUI MAT Pilot Projects and suggested that the California Association of DUI Treatment Programs (CADTP) bring together the other Southern California counties in one meeting. With CADTP’s endorsement of the meeting, Los Angeles County volunteered to organize and host the meeting. On June 12, 2020, DUI MAT Integration/Outreach Pilot contractors in Southern California counties met with CADTP representatives, county administrators, and other stakeholders to share best practices, success stories and challenges. As an incentive for attending the meeting, CEUs were available through CADTP.

To learn more about Los Angeles County’s efforts, please contact Glenda Pinney at gpinney@ph.lacounty.gov or 626.293.2960.