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.