California Addiction Treatment: What You Need to Know

California is one of the few states that hasn’t been hit as hard by the epidemic rise in drug addiction in our nation. Nevertheless, more than 4,000 people in the state were hospitalized for overdoses in 2016, and approximately 2,000 people died from overdoses1. According to the California Department of Public Health, 70 percent of these deaths involved prescription opioids.

There has also been a statewide rise in deaths due to heroin, with heroin deaths rising 57 percent since 2012. This is because people who develop an addiction to prescription opioids frequently turn to heroin as a cheaper and more accessible alternative.

History of Drug Trafficking and Crime in California

Historically, California has been the gateway for illicit drugs as far back as the 1800s. Chinese immigrants entering California introduced opium smoking to the U.S. Trafficking and use of opium quickly spread throughout the state2.

Fast forward to the 1980s, and the U.S.-Mexican border states, including California, became main transport routes for heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs into the U.S.

The 1990s and 2000s have been fraught with battles between the Mexican and South American drug cartels against U.S. anti-drug law enforcement. California is one hotspot for drug war conflicts due to its border state status.

The Modern Battle

In 2016, a drug tunnel was found that went underground from Tijuana, Mexico until it ended in an industrial area of San Diego – and that’s only one of 75 cross-border drug tunnels that were discovered in the mid-2000s3.

The good news is, according to the California Attorney General’s report, from 2016 to 2017:

  • Felony drug offense arrest rates fell by 23.5 percent4.
  • Marijuana arrest rates decreased by 73.7 percent.
  • Dangerous drug offense arrest rates fell by 12.7 percent.

These drops in arrest rates can be due, in part, to California’s progressive initiatives to battle drugs and addiction by the distribution of information and efforts to make treatment more affordable and accessible.

California Anti-Drug Initiatives

California has adopted the “it takes a village” philosophy when it comes to meeting the challenges of drugs and addiction within its communities. This means addressing the drug problems of the state at all levels – prescribing doctors, healthcare professionals, the mental health community, advocates, law enforcement, first responders as well as its citizens.

The Statewide Opioid Safety Workgroup

The Statewide Opioid Safety Workgroup promotes education on safe prescribing practices and medically assisted treatment to the medical community. The group also conducts public education campaigns and helps build local community groups to discuss addiction directly with California citizens.

The California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is a nonprofit advocacy group that helps local coalitions educate patients and doctors on effective addiction treatments. They also provide other mental and physical health services.

California Addiction Treatment Options

Not sure where to start? The following guide to California addiction treatment options can help you find the right fit for you or your loved one.
Intervention Services
When a loved one is reluctant to admit that substance abuse is causing harm to work, home and family, intervention services can help get the one you love into treatment.

The first meeting is an assessment, where an interventionist meets with concerned loved ones to educate them on the intervention process and to build the rapport and trust needed for an effective intervention. The second meeting has the person suffering from addiction join in. The interventionist oversees and guides the meeting to its potential goal – gently convincing the person who needs recovery to accept treatment.

Drug And Alcohol Detox in California
When struggling with a substance abuse problem, even though you may want to quit using drugs or alcohol, your body might not cooperate. The body needs time to process the drugs or alcohol that are in the system. This process is called detoxification or detox.   An unsupervised detox can produce withdrawal symptoms that can range from uncomfortable to painful to dangerous.

Medical Detox

To avoid the pain and discomfort, as well as the complications from withdrawal, a medical detox provides a high level of care to help you safely quit drugs or alcohol.  Typically done in an inpatient setting for several days, you’re closely monitored around the clock by medical professionals to make sure there is a safe and more comfortable detox experience. Physical and emotional healing therapies are also introduced at this time to prepare for the next treatment step.

Intensive Outpatient Programs in California
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) allows participants to work toward recovery, while meeting commitments and responsibilities regarding home, work and family. An IOP also provides a necessary step-down time period from residential or PHP treatment while living either at home or in a sober living home.

IOP programs are fully customizable, but generally, treatment is attended for a few hours a day, at least three days per week.

IOPs aim to help people recovering from substance abuse experience daily life in sobriety, and prepare them for the next steps in their recovery journey. This preparation is done through individual and group therapy sessions, continuing aftercare planning, beneficial support groups, and if needed, help with job opportunities.

Inpatient Drug Rehab in California
Residential California addiction treatment provides the opportunity for you to completely focus on substance abuse recovery without the distractions and temptations of the outside world. A total break from the triggers and stressors of daily life can be found in residential treatment, which is also called inpatient treatment. A warm, friendly and welcoming California addiction treatment center becomes your temporary home as you work full-time on recovery from addiction.

Why is Inpatient Rehab Effective?

Residential treatment is profoundly effective, because it’s a highly structured environment that combines scheduled group meetings, therapy sessions, and recreational time all within a relaxing and safe environment. Highly trained, supportive staff are there 24/7 to monitor and support you.

A customized aftercare plan is prepared to handle the smooth transition from inpatient to outpatient treatment. A 60 to 90 day stay in a California residential addiction treatment program is recommended as a minimum to start a successful recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Programs in California
Despite its name, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) doesn’t take place in a hospital, but rather at a treatment center. PHP is a good treatment alternative if commitments and responsibilities make it hard to attend a 24/7 residential program. It’s also a good next step for transitioning gradually out of inpatient rehab.

PHP is administered on an outpatient basis, meaning participants live at home or in a sober living environment (SLE) and attend a program at the treatment center an average of five to six hours per day. There is typically a choice on the scheduled days you’d like to attend.

The program is composed of different interactive activities to help the transition into a less restrictive recovery program. There is time spent participating in various scientific-based therapies, which includes both group therapy and individual therapy sessions. Alternative therapies, such as music and art therapies, are also recreational and educational.

A discharge plan is developed customized to needs and goals, designed to help the transition to the next level of care. After completion of the PHP program, which lasts about two to three weeks, the next step and last level is called intensive outpatient care (IOP).

How To Pay For California Addiction Treatment

One of the biggest concerns when researching treatment for addiction is how to pay. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act includes the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 that requires insurance companies to provide coverage for addiction treatment on the same level as they do other medical treatments.

Well-known insurance companies, like Aetna, Humana, United Healthcare, BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna and Health Net all have coverage plans for drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Specific out-of-pocket expenses depend on the insurance policy and the amount charged by the treatment center.

What Insurance Generally Covers

Insurance policies vary in coverage amounts, but most policies will cover one or more of the following:

  • Assessment – typically fully covered
  • Detoxification – typically mostly covered
  • Outpatient treatment – typically mostly covered
  • Inpatient (residential) treatment – typically partially covered

Even if you don’t have insurance, contact the treatment cente(s) you’re interested in to see about payment plans, scholarships, and other options. Sliding scale fees are also offered at many rehabs. Reputable treatment centers are willing to work with those who need substance abuse recovery services to help them find the money to pay for treatment.

Traveling For Addiction Treatment in California

There is also the question of where to go to for treatment – locally or long distance? The closest treatment center may not be the best suited one for your needs as attending treatment locally keeps familiar stressors and triggers nearby.

The benefits of traveling to seek treatment include:

  • Better privacy
  • Ability to focus only on treatment
  • Takes away the people and places that can trigger cravings or stress responses

Recovery From Addiction Doesn’t Have to be a Lonely Journey

There are so many people, from all walks of life, who are affected by substance abuse and addiction, but recovery doesn’t have to be a journey you undergo alone. Whether you’re facing alcohol addiction or drug abuse, you can get the help you need.

Dr. Venice Sanchez


Clinical Outreach Specialist, Europe Division

Dr. Sanchez works closely with Truvida Recovery patients regarding substance abuse and related mental illnesses and creates a supportive, cooperative and informed therapeutic environment. Her areas of expertise include Substance Dependence, Dual Diagnosis, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic Disorder, Bereavement, Acute stress disorder, and more. Ms Sanchez has extensive training with experts in the field of Substance Abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. She received a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continues training at the UC Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program and has been recognized with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award.

Jaime Askew


Clinical Director

Ms. Askew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has been working in the field treating substance abuse and mental health issues for over twenty years.  She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Pepperdine University and was among the first to obtain the LPCC license in the state of California.  She has been providing clinical supervision and training to interns, conducting workshops, and is a certified Trauma therapy trainer.  Her areas of expertise include working with legal issues, court ordered treatment, family preservation, trauma therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, family systems, social skills training, play therapy, and career/ vocational counseling.  Her passion is in advocating for at risk populations, holistic healing, and treating the underlying, core issues to help individuals achieve their maximum potential and happiness.  Jaime’s extensive experience and passionate leadership is of extreme importance to the overall TruVida clinical program, and her hands-on guidance of our clinical team insures that each patient is receiving optimal therapeutic treatment and care.

John Biroc

Consulting Psychologist

Dr. Biroc has a broad base of mental health and addiction recovery training and experience. He has supervised and taught therapists in various methodologies of effectively working with groups and individuals during therapy. He created and set up new group structures and trained staff in understanding the challenges of addiction recovery. He also helped develop curricula in Sociodrama and Psychodrama. Dr. Biroc is devoted to breaking paradigms that prevent progress in the path to lasting recovery. He is a member of the Nat’l Association of Marriage and Family therapists, and has a Ph.D. degree in Psychology, and a M.S. degree in Counseling from USC.

Dr. Nader Siahdohoni

Consulting Psychologist


Dr. Nader is one our esteemed consulting Psychologists who provides our Clients with various breakthrough therapy’s that focus the functional systems including neurons, neurotransmitters, and certain brain waves that enable the way we think, behave, move, feel, and maintain homeostasis. Such therapy’s include NeuroMax neurofeedback, the state of art integrated technology in Neurofeedback, combinations of wireless Electroencephalogram (EEG), real time brain mapping and a unique and exceptional neuropathway therapy called “Visual Concentration Attention Therapy (VCAT)”. Dr Nader graduated from Walden University.

Tiffany Agra


LMFT #103693

Ms. Agra is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who has been working with individuals, couples, families, and groups for the past seven years. Her other therapeutic approaches include Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Psychodynamic dream interpretation, and Gestalt Psychology. She has also been a Guest Speaker at other organizations. This unique background has made her effective at helping clients overcome the grip of substance addiction. Tiffany obtained two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s degree from the California State University, Long Beach. She has worked for both the county of Orange and Riverside, helping those who struggle with addiction and mental illness. In addition to providing evidenced-based approaches to the clinical program at Truvida Recovery, she brings her compassion as a fellow addict in recovery; living proof that we do get better!

Deborah Wieland


MS, LMFT #96864

Ms. Wieland is an Eclectic EMDR Therapist, using R-TEP and G-TEP, and specializes in several modalities in treating Substance Use issues, Dual Diagnosis, Complex Trauma, and Severe Mental illness. Deborah also provides several types of therapy such as Psychodynamic, Rogerian, CBT, DBT, IFS, PICT, MI, Grief Recovery, Sand Tray, and Attachment Theory to help her patients achieve mental wellness and a sober lifestyle.

She has worked with Psychiatric Hospitals providing crisis interventions and psychotherapy to those struggling with substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and domestic violence. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Vanguard University of Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing her Doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at Cal Southern University. Deborah is an active member of EMDRIA, California Association Marriage Family Therapist (CAMFT), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and Psi Chi International Honors Society of Psychology.

Ashley McLaughlin



Ms. McLaughlin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in EMDR therapy. She brings over ten years of experience working in the field of addiction to the Truvida Team. She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and has two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Economics from University of California, San Diego. Ms. McLaughlin was trained in EMDR in 2013 and since has been helping individuals process through past traumatic experiences that have contributed to current struggles with substance abuse and mental health symptoms. Her extensive experience and passion for this field has helped guide individuals through the process of recovery in order to experience freedom from their past and a hope for their future.

Travis Taylor



Mr. Taylor is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in  Drug Abuse & Addiction,  PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality, Codependency, Coping Skills, Depression, Dual Diagnosis. Taylor uses an integrative approach geared towards understanding self, specifically what drives one’s thoughts and behaviors. He excels in helping patients identify automatic thoughts that lead to specific feelings and undesired actions. Another useful approach stems from understanding how thoughts and behaviors are fueled by former messages that have been consistently reinforced. Travis has over 6 years of therapeutic practice and obtained a Master’s degree at Vanguard University.

Kat Johnson

AOD Counselor, Group Facilitator

With almost 10 years experience working at treatment centers, Kat Johnson shares her wisdom and passion for balanced living, creative writing, and meditation and how each plays a role in early recovery and beyond. Certified as a CADC II, and supported by a bachelors in psychology, Kat’s infectious energy brings her groups to life. She is grateful for every opportunity to spread health and wellness.

Paige A. Chastain

AOD Counselor, Case Manager

Ms. Chastain has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict/alcoholic, bringing personal experience to both individual substance abuse and group counseling settings. She has worked in the field of addiction for several years, currently working as an addiction counselor and case manager.  Paige too, is a collaborative member of the multi-disciplinary team providing excellence in addiction services, working with clients from detox to intensive outpatient levels of care. She holds a strong skill-set in Psychoeducation, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She also has extensive experience with 12-step recovery programs. Paige is passionate about treating the client with empathy, compassion and respect throughout the client’s journey.  Paige holds an AA from Saddleback College, a BA from the University of California of Irvine and is a certified CADC-I holding memberships with CCAPP and NAADAC.

Lesley Richards

AOD Counselor, Interventionist

Ms. Richards began in this field of healthcare as a volunteer for substance abuse treatment centers and worked her way up from there. Lesley has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict. it is here strong belief that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to have a safe and sober life.  She is very compassionate about her work as an addiction counselor, and has a strong commitment in helping patients struggling with addiction in developing healthy coping mechanisms, and developing new positive behavioral habits.  Her Group counseling sessions are highly sought after within the TruVida program.  Lesley is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), National Certified Intervention Professional (NCIP), Nationally Certified Recovery Coach (NCRC), and is a member of the California Consortium of Addiction programs (CCAP), as well as the International Association of Addiction Professionals.

Christine Green

Treatment Facilitator

Christine Green is a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. Ms. Green is dedicated to helping patients struggling with substance abuse transform their lives through a consciousness-based approach to body-in-motion fitness.

Christine passionately shares her 18 years experience with our clients by sharing her specialized Yoga & Energy Healing Program, which she has developed over the past 8 years of working directly with addicts and alcoholics. Her Yoga program facilitates integration of all the layers of life – environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual with the primary initial goal of overcoming withdrawal symptoms and cravings from drug and alcohol dependency. TruVida is fortunate to have her as part of the team.

Allison Goode

Art in Recovery Counselor

Allison Goode is a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and professional artist for over 15 years, and has developed a very successful and trans-formative Art in Recovery program in treatment facilities through out California. Her passion for the fine arts and helping others recover from substance abuse addiction is contagious. Allison has a unique ability to connect with clients through the creative process helping clients set positive goals for their recovery. Ms. Goode has studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at Laguna College of Art and Design, is a certified RADT1 technician, and is currently completing her CCAPP certification program.

Thomas Mladinich

Admissions Manager

Mr. Mladinich hard work ethic and dedication make him a key part of the TruVida team. Tom’s ability to connect and relate with others have allowed him to excel as admissions manager. His personal experience has allowed him to proudly serve those in need of recovery from addiction. Tom is eager to work with our clients and provide the experience, strength and hope that they need to find success in recovery.

Willie Sanchez

Operations Manager

Mr. Sanchez is a self-motivated professional with a positive attitude. He is actively involved in a 12 step fellowship. He effectively contributes to each Patient with their struggles with addiction. Willie is RADT1 certified counselor and has been educated at Long Beach City College.

Jose Flores

Program Manager

Mr. Flores is a highly motivated and hardworking team member with TruVida. He has several years of experience working in treatment helping individuals get back on track, achieving a lot of great results. He brings problem solving skills and experience to use everyday, and is proud and passionate about his profession as a RADT-I program manager.

Dr. Andrew Morrow

MD, Psychiatrist


Dr Morrow is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Psychiatry, who specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, thought disorders, other mental health issues, and substance abuse addictions. Having undergone extensive training in medical school, psychiatric residency and over 15 years of psychiatric practice, he is well trained in both psychotherapy and medication management of mental problems. Dr Morrow integrates psychological, and social characteristics with biological therapy to treat the whole person; mind, body, and soul, and it is with great humility that he pursues the goal of freedom from substance abuse addictions.

Dr DeSanto conducted his undergraduate education at St. Louis University with a B.S. in Chemistry graduating summa cum laude. He then attended medical school at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and completed his residency training and served as chief resident at University of California, Irvine Medical Center.