California Takes Action

Governor Newsom's Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis 

Opioid Settlements​

In 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta led negotiations with other state attorneys general in an historic $26 billion settlement with pharmaceutical companies for their roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic.

These funds have been and will continue to be invested in opioid treatment, education and prevention efforts throughout California, at both the state and local level.

Opioid settlement Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

In the News

CDPH Warns Californians About the Dangers of Xylazine
November 29, 2023 – With an increase of xylazine in the nation’s illegal drug supply, CDPH is continuing to reach out to Californians to educate the public about xylazine and its potential harms to health. (CDPH)

Governor Newsom Announces New Legislation to Prevent Illicit Use and Trafficking of Xylazine
November 28, 2023 – As part of the state’s multi-pronged plan to address the opioid and overdose epidemic, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced proposed new legislation to increase penalties for the illicit trafficking of the drug xylazine, also known as ”tranq.” Xylazine—an animal tranquilizer with no approved human use—is increasingly being found in the illicit drug supply, and has been linked to rising overdose deaths across the country. (GOV)

California Launches “Empowering Faith Leaders in California Substance Use Prevention and Intervention” Project (PDF)
October 05, 2023 – The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has launched the Empowering Faith Leaders in California project, in partnership with the Clinton Foundation Global Initiative’s Overdose Response Network and is investing in hospital emergency departments to continue to assist Californians in need of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and mental health treatment services. (DHCS)

FIrst Seven Counties in California Launch the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act
September 29, 2023 – After nearly a year of committed hard work, collaboration and preparation, the first seven counties in California (Glenn, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and San Francisco) are set to launch the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act. The CARE Act will create a new pathway to deliver mental health and substance use disorder services to the most vulnerable Californians. (CALHHS)

California Increases California National Guard Presence at the Border To Crack Down on Fentanyl Smugglers
September 07, 2023 – Building on California’s $1 billion investment to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom is increasing the deployment of California National Guard (CalGuard) service members by approximately 50% from 40 to 60 soldiers at the four U.S. ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border to support the interdiction of illicit drugs, including fentanyl. (GOV)

CDPH Launches First Phase of Opioid Prevention and Education Campaign
September 06, 2023 – To help address the opioid overdose crisis, CDPH is launching the first phase of a statewide opioid and fentanyl overdose prevention and education campaign. (CDPH)

California Expands Access to Opioid Treatment in Jails and Drug Courts (PDF)
August 22, 2023 – California, through DHCS, announced it will expand Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to jails and drug courts. The $2.9 million funding announced today will go to 29 counties to support the development or expansion of access to MAT. (DHCS)

New State Law to Help Save Lives from Opioid and Fentanyl Overdoses on College Campuses
December 22, 2022 – CDPH is bolstering efforts to raise awareness of and prevent opioid use, addiction and potential overdose, as the state works to provide students with greater access to the life-saving drug Naloxone. (CDPH)

State Public Health Leaders Warn School Leaders of New, Brightly-Colored “Rainbow Fentanyl” Trend
September 22, 2022 – CDPH warned school leaders about a new and potentially fatal drug “rainbow fentanyl,” that may interest youth. (CDPH)


We’re working with all levels of governments, as well as universities and research facilities, to address prevention, enforcement and treatment:


California Overdose Prevention Network (COPN)

COPN’s mission is to build a movement to strengthen connections within communities and provide access to knowledge, training and resources to implement solutions that save lives.


High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration coordinates and assists federal, state, local and Tribal law agencies to address regional drug threats with the purpose of reducing drug trafficking and drug production in the United States.

Fentanyl Enforcement Program
Nearly $15 million has been allocated to establish the Fentanyl Enforcement Program within the California Department of Justice, aimed at combating the manufacturing, distribution and trafficking of fentanyl.

The California Highway Patrol is working collaboratively with multiple state entities and agencies, including CalGuard and the California Department of Justice, as well as federal and local entities like Border Patrol and local police and district attorneys to focus on improving public safety, targeting fentanyl trafficking and holding the operators of drug trafficking rings accountable.

These operations build on the Master Plan, which includes an expansion of CalGuard-supported operations that last year led to a 549% increase (PDF) in seized fentanyl and historic levels of funding—$1 billion statewide—to crack down on the crisis and assist those struggling with substance use.


Tribal Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Project
The Tribal MAT Program aims to improve MAT access for urban and tribal communities by increasing the total number of waivered prescribers certified and providing expanded MAT services that incorporate the values and culture of the communities being served.

Systems of Care Learning Collaborative
A multi-sectoral, county-specific intensive process improvement and Technical Assistance (TA) programming on expanding access to MAT and the full continuum of care. This in-person, two-day facilitated event and ongoing coaching map out the local ecosystem and identify gaps, where criminal justice and law enforcement partners collaborate with health system partners.​​

Highlights of our work

We’re working in partnership with communities, families and people with opioid use disorder to prevent substance use, mitigate harm from drugs and provide life-saving strategies.

Opioid Prevention and Education Campaign 
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is working to raise awareness of fentanyl among youth and young adults to prevent overdose and overdose death. This campaign uses a stigma-free approach to raise awareness among families and communities, empowering them to respond to the overdose epidemic with life-saving solutions and strategies. 

Song for Charlie: Fentanyl Awareness and Drug Education Program 
This online learning hub equips California families with actionable information and tools that may help parents keep California’s youth safe from harm and facilitate open conversations about mental health, substances and the heightened risks associated with self-medication caused by the emergence of synthetic drugs like fentanyl in the street drug supply. 

Young People in Recovery 

Young People in Recovery launches chapters and life-skills curriculum programs to youth in recovery from opioid use and substance use disorders.

The Clinton Foundation’s Empowering Faith Leaders in California project addresses the opioid epidemic through a collaborative learning opportunity to empower religious leaders from diverse faith traditions to take on leadership roles in addressing substance use disorders within their communities. 

ATLAS Treatment Locator 

ATLAS is a free, easy-to-use online directory of substance use disorder treatment facilities. ATLAS features evidence-based information to help individuals (and supporters of people seeking help) find the treatment they need. 

CA Bridge Program​ 

The California Bridge Program is developing hospitals and emergency rooms into primary access points for the treatment of acute symptoms of Substance Use Disorder – enhancing and increasing access to 24/7 treatment in every community in the state. 

Substance Use Disorder Provider Workforce Training 

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is expanding California’s behavioral health workforce, as well as all other behavioral health professions, to improve consumer access to and productive participation in behavioral health services throughout the state. 

Naloxone Distribution Project 

The Naloxone Distribution Project aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths through the provision of free naloxone. 

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