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So far, the opioid crisis hasn’t hit California as badly as many Eastern and Midwestern states. But with deadly synthetic fentanyl spreading there, Highland Hospital in Oakland is trying a new way of getting addicted patients into treatment. Those who come to its emergency room in withdrawal or with another medical problem are offered an initial dose of buprenorphine, a medication that staves off withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Highland is trying to plug a gaping hole in a medical system that typically fails to provide treatment on demand, or any evidence-based treatment at all, even as more than two million Americans suffer from opioid addiction. According to the latest estimates, overdoses involving opioids killed nearly 50,000 people last year.
Dr. Andrew Herring, an emergency medicine doctor at Highland, persuaded the California Health Care Foundation to give a small grant last year to Highland and seven other hospitals in Northern California to experiment with dispensing buprenorphine in their emergency rooms. Now the state is spending nearly $700,000 more to expand the concept. It’s part of a broader $78 million effort to set up a “hub and spoke” system meant to expand access to buprenorphine and two other addiction medications, methadone and naltrexone.
Under that system, emergency rooms would serve as portals of entry, getting people started on buprenorphine and referring them to a hub, or large-scale addiction treatment clinic, to get adjusted to the medication and a spoke, or primary care practice, for ongoing care. Dr. Herring is the principal investigator for the project, known as E.D. Bridge.
A few dozen other hospital emergency departments around the country, including at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, have also started offering buprenorphine. Meanwhile, California’s E.D. Bridge is joining forces with Project Shout, which offers buprenorphine and methadone to people who have been hospitalized with complications from opioid addiction.
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• Asia Argento, a leading voice of the #MeToo movement, arranged to pay an actor after he said she sexually assaulted him in her Marina del Rey hotel room when he was 17, documents show. [The New York Times]
• Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke acknowledged that climate change had a role in California’s wildfires. But he laid most of the blame on “environmental terrorist groups.” [The New York Times]
• Climate change has made fires more extreme, but they are almost all ignited by human activity. [The New York Times]
• State lawmakers are abandoning their efforts to loosen wildfire liability laws for utility companies. [The Los Angeles Times]
• What makes California politics so special? The Party of California, or a longstanding bipartisan legacy, an Op-Ed contributor writes. [The New York Times | Op-Ed]
• A plan by state regulators to redivide the Tuolumne River has ignited one of the fiercest fights over water that California has seen in years. [The Sacramento Bee]
• As questions swirl over whether Tesla will go private, the state of the company’s financial health is the key to its future. [The New York Times]
• Elon Musk has had a no good, very bad year. Here is a timeline. [The New York Times]
• The family of Nia Wilson, who was fatally stabbed on a BART platform last month, has taken the first steps toward suing the transit system. [The Associated Press]
• ICE arrested a man who was driving his pregnant wife to the hospital in San Bernardino. [The New York Times]
• Uber was ready to forge ahead with self-driving cars until one fatally struck a woman in March. Now it’s rethinking those plans. [The New York Times]
• The pending departure of North Face from the Bay Area highlights the challenges for nontech businesses in the region. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• She was priced out of the Bay Area housing market, so she joined the #VanLife movement. Her new home is 80 square feet. [The Mercury News]
• When his mother’s house burned down in Shasta, a son realized the family would have to recreate her life mostly from scratch. Making matters worse was her memory loss. [The Record Searchlight]
• “This fire was a reminder of nature’s power.” A fire captain in Calistoga talked about his line of work, and how last year’s blazes affected him. [The New York Times]
• “Crazy Rich Asians” is No. 1 at the box office, proving “that true diversity matters.” [The New York Times]
Coming Up This Week
• Coffee Fest runs Sunday through Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles.
• John Cowell, the man charged with murdering Nia Wilson, is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on Wednesday in Oakland.
• A celebrity Ping-Pong tournament hosted by the Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is planned for Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
• RM Sotheby’s collector car auction will be held Friday and Saturday in Monterey.
And Finally …
It may not be the Happiest Place on Earth, but a temporary exhibit in Sherman Oaks may well be the second happiest.
A 48-foot-long sea serpent, an 800-pound flying fiberglass elephant and hundreds of colorful curiosities are on display at “That’s From Disneyland!” They all belong to one man: Richard Kraft, who began collecting the memorabilia 25 years ago out of nostalgia.
“I’m a very obsessive person, so one poster became every poster,” he said. “Every poster became ride vehicles. Ride vehicles became conceptual art.”
If it’s from Disneyland and it was ever for sale, Mr. Kraft probably bought it. But now his entire collection is up for auction, with part of the proceeds going to help children with special needs. Read the full story here.
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.