Author: Julia Landau

Photo: Julia Landau/California Health Report

Clinic treats pain with “addiction drug”

After years of strategizing, Highland Hospital departed from convention with the Pain Management and Functional Restoration Clinic. Both chronic pain and opiate addiction are endemic in the low-income communities that make up their patient base. They wanted to address the first problem adequately, without adding to the second – so they turned to an “addiction drug.”

Patient group rouses Oakland against the ‘Silent Killer’

A rag-tag band of protesters is becoming familiar on the streets of Oakland and they’re not part of the Occupy movement. This miniature society, which calls “Hep C Free Oakland” its goal, is a group of patient-volunteers and staff members from a medical clinic that centers on treating hepatitis C in people with addiction problems.

Who will help ex-cons in Richmond?

Richmond has the lowest per-capita income in the Bay Area and one of the highest unemployment rates. The city is also home to one of the biggest populations of people newly released from prison in Contra Costa County. Ex-cons already vie for services with other needy people in the city, and more ex-offenders are expected in Richmond as prison realignment rolls out. Who is going to make sure they get services like housing, rehab and employment assistance – the kind of help prison realignment suggests is going to keep them from re-offending?

Contra Costa scrambles to prepare for prison reform

“All of us are in frantic mode,” said Contra Costa County’s Chief Probation Officer Phil Kader. He spoke as he passed out a tentative budget to the 14 criminal justice and social service professionals who attended a recent budget meeting of the Public Safety Realignment Executive Committee for Contra Costa County.

A moveable court frees homeless from shackles of unpaid tickets

Deshawn Lamar Clark was released from San Quentin State Prison and returned to where he grew up, near Richmond, Calif., in December of 2005. He was 30 years old.

He returned to Richmond a homeless, jobless man. He owed child support to the mothers of his twelve children. The fine print under his freedom was getting larger. He was staying out of the drug business, but he still lived on the fringes and drove without the blessing of the DMV.

By the time he met Tracy Reed, a caseworker at GRIP, Richmond’s go-to multi-service center and homeless shelter, he had 19 citations totaling over $21,000. In May of 2011, Clark owed more than he’d ever earned, and more than he could ever pay. He’d stayed out of jail, but he’d failed to register his car or acquire a driver’s license.

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