CA Advances Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Overdose Deaths by Providing Essential Protections for Drug Checking Services

Press Release April 24, 2024
Media Contact

Maggie Hart, [email protected]

Sacramento, CA – The California Assembly Public Safety committee passed AB 2136 (Jones Sawyer), a bill that will curb overdose deaths by providing essential protections for drug checking program providers. The bill passed seven to one, with six Democrats and one Republican voting in favor.

In response to the legislation clearing its first committee vote, Drug Policy Alliance California and other supporters of the bill release these statements:

“Drug checking is an important and immediate step that California can take to effectively curb overdose deaths,” said Jeannette Zanipatin, California State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance.  “AB 2136 expands the tools in our public health toolbox by providing essential protections for drug checking program providers. We thank Assemblymember Jones Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) for his leadership and commitment to supporting and bolstering evidence-based public health solutions to the overdose crisis.”

“Health departments and other public safety agencies can use drug checking to provide more timely and robust information about the illicit drug supply than other sources like post-mortem toxicology tests or the occasional law enforcement seizure,” said Chelsea Shover, Assistant Professor-in-Residence at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. “AB 2136 clarifies the legality of accessing and providing drug checking services in California, which will help reduce overdose deaths. Real-time data can drive faster community response and save lives.”

“AB 2136 is a crucial step in California’s fight to address the deaths related to drug overdose and to keep our people alive and our communities safe,” said Bia Vieira, CEO of Women’s Foundation California. “By establishing trust and providing more opportunities for informed decision-making, we will pave the way toward a safer, healthier future.”

This bill has broad support from several advocacy organizations including harm reduction, public health and criminal justice organizations. The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


About the Drug Policy Alliance 

The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the U.S. working to end the drug war, repair its harms, and build a non-punitive, equitable, and regulated drug market. We envision a world that embraces the full humanity of people, regardless of their relationship to drugs. We advocate that the regulation of drugs be grounded in evidence, health, equity, and human rights. In collaboration with other movements and at every policy level, we change laws, advance justice, and save lives. Learn more at

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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