Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 1499: Providing behavioral health system responses to individuals with substance use disorder

HB1499 amends current RCW with the intention to develop a robust system to provide rapid access to evidence-based and innovative substance use treatment and comprehensive recovery support services in lieu of criminal penalties for individuals in possession of drugs.

HB1499 expands substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services by establishing a substance use recovery services plan to implement measures to assist persons with substance use disorder in accessing treatment and recovery support services that are low-barrier, person-centered, informed by people with lived experience, and culturally and linguistically appropriate. The plan must articulate the manner in which continual, rapid, and widespread access to a comprehensive continuum of care must be provided to all persons with substance use disorder regardless of the point at which they present within the continuum of care. The law lays out requirements for the plan including consideration of how a person is interacting the health care, criminal, legal, and child welfare systems, including emergency departments, syringe service programs, law enforcement, correctional facilities, and dependency court; the creation of a substance use recovery  services advisory committee to advise the authority in the development and implementation of the substance use recovery services plan; and mechanisms for funding the plan.

By September 1, 2022, HB1499 will adopt rules establishing maximum personal use amounts of controlled substances, counterfeit substances, and legend drugs known to be used by people for recreational or nonmedical and non-prescribed purposes and eliminates criminal penalties for possession of defined personal use amounts.

HB1499 also amends RCW such that any person convicted of possession of a controlled substance or counterfeit substance before December 1, 2022, may apply to the sentencing court for a vacation of the applicant’s record of conviction for the offense, regardless of whether the person completed any applicable sentencing conditions or received a certificate of discharge under RCW 9.94A.637.