Drug Policy Alliance Sues To Block Changes to Drug Treatment Law

Press Release July 11, 2006
Media Contact

Margaret Dooley at (858) 336-3685 or Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384

OAKLAND COURTHOUSE – This afternoon, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 1137, which makes a series of controversial changes to the state’s successful treatment-instead-of-incarceration law, Proposition 36. SB 1137, the law signed today, threatens not only this popular voter-approved program but the entire initiative process. In response, the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) immediately began court action.

Daniel Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “Today we filed suit in Alameda Court, thus beginning the process of striking down 1137 as unconstitutional. We predict a very short lifespan for this law.”

Dr Peter Banys, a physician specializing in the treatment of substance abuse and a former president of CSAM, explained, “SB 1137, quite simply, erases the defining feature of Prop. 36: its public health and medical model for the provision of drug treatment services.”

The action is Gardner v Schwarzenegger. The lead plaintiff is Cliff Gardner, the official proponent and coauthor of Prop. 36, and a resident of Alameda County. The lead defendant is the Governor.

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

Sign up for updates from DPA.