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Addiction devastates the lives and health of the people it touches, and the effects extend to family members and loved ones. According to the 2015-2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, California has a higher rate of substance use disorders than the rest of the nation.

Substance Use In California

Marijuana and Illicit Drug Use In California

In California, the rate of illegal drug use, including marijuana, among children and adults in the month preceding the survey was slightly higher than the national average.

Age 12–17

  • United States – 8.34 percent
  • Western Region – 9.14 percent
  • California – 8.89 percent

Age 18 And Older

  • United States – 10.57 percent
  • Western Region – 12.98 percent
  • California – 12.94 percent

Cocaine Use In California

Cocaine use by California residents in the year prior to the survey was significantly higher than the national average.

Age 12–17

  • United States – .58 percent
  • Western Region – .81 percent
  • California – .75 percent

Age 18 and Older

  • United States – 1.97 percent
  • Western Region – 2.36 percent
  • California – 2.59 percent

Heroin Use In California

Fortunately, use of heroin in the past year was trending lower than both the national and regional average across age groups.

Age 12–17

  • United States – .07 percent
  • Western Region – .05 percent
  • California – .04 percent

Age 18 and Older

  • United States – .36 percent
  • Western Region – .34 percent
  • California – .26 percent

Opioid Use In California

California has not been immune to the growing national trend of opioid painkiller (OxyContin, Vicodin) use. Children used fewer of these medications in the past year than the residents of other states, but adults used more.

Age 12–17

  • United States – 3.72 percent
  • Western Region – 3.72 percent
  • California – 3.50 percent

Age 18 and Older

  • United States – 4.54 percent
  • Western Region – 4.97 percent
  • California – 4.81 percent

Alcohol Use In California

In the month previous to the study, alcohol binge rates were lower in California than the national average across age groups.

Age 12–17

  • United States – 5.33 percent
  • Western Region – 5.09 percent
  • California – 5.10 percent

Age 18 And Older

  • United States – 26.54 percent
  • Western Region – 25.61 percent
  • California – 25.91 percent

California Drug Overdose Rates

In 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented 63,632 deaths caused by drug overdose, and 4,674 of those deaths occurred in California. California does have a large number of overdose deaths from a variety of drugs, but the state’s population is also one of the largest in the country.

Relative to population, California’s overdose deaths have not increased in recent years to the extent observed in other states. In states that have seen some of the largest spikes in opioid-related deaths, such as West Virginia, there were 52 overdose deaths for every 100,000 residents in 2016.

In that same year, California had just 11.2 drug-related deaths for every 100,000 residents. When ranked against the rest of the country, California’s figure is the seventh-lowest in the United States.

That California hasn’t seen an explosion in overdose deaths doesn’t mean the state has been able to avoid the epidemic’s effects. From 1999 to 2015, the rate of drug-related deaths in California grew by 30 percent, but in West Virginia, the rate of drug-related deaths grew 975 percent during the same period.

California’s Response To Addiction Trends

Because of its large size and population, addiction issues that impact big cities like Los Angeles and San Bernardino are quite different from those that affect rural areas of the state.

Dr. Kelly Pfeifer, an Oakland-based opioid expert, notes that parts of California are experiencing a crisis as serious as that of West Virginia. In an interview, Dr. Pfeifer said, “If California were divided up into several states … then parts of our state, principally the north, would be a disaster area as bad as West Virginia.”

California’s lawmakers and health professionals have implemented a variety of programs to reduce the rates of substance use disorder statewide. In many cases, California’s policies lead the nation in their focus on the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.

Needle-exchange programs are common statewide, and most offer participants addiction information and education on avoiding overdoses. California is also working to increase the availability of naloxone (Narcan) to those who are dependent on opioids. Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose.

California Addiction Treatment Programs

A variety of treatment options are available for those who suffer from addiction. California inpatient drug rehab is available throughout the state, as is an extensive network of outpatient programs.

Tackling the issue of substance use disorders requires a multifaceted approach. Treatment providers must be experienced in addiction issues related to a variety of substances, including the nuances of physical and psychological symptoms caused by each type of drug.

Creating an addiction treatment plan starts with a detailed assessment of the individual needs of each patient. Sometimes a healthcare provider will conduct the assessment, or it may take place during admission to an addiction treatment facility.

Drug And Alcohol Detox In California

Physical dependence on a substance is often the most pressing problem for people who are experiencing active addiction. For many, the first step in recovery is participating in a drug and alcohol detox program that allows all traces of the substance to leave the body.

High-quality California inpatient drug rehab facilities that offer this service ensure the process is monitored by medical professionals who can provide support if withdrawal symptoms worsen. In some cases, medication such as buprenorphine (Suboxone) or naloxone (Narcan) is prescribed to ease or prevent withdrawal symptoms.

California Inpatient Drug Rehab Programs

After physical addiction has been overcome, clients are still at risk of future relapse back into substance use. During inpatient addiction treatment, clients learn relapse prevention techniques that help them to anticipate and handle triggers and cope with cravings. Inpatient drug rehab clients live onsite while attending treatment, benefitting from round-the-clock care and a sober support system.

California Outpatient Drug Rehab

Some people begin the recovery process with outpatient treatment. However, this level of care is more often appropriate for individuals who have just completed an inpatient drug rehab program but wish to continue treatment. Outpatient addiction treatment programs use many of the same techniques as inpatient programs, but clients are free to return to their homes after treatment each day.

This step can be critical to long-term success because many people living with addiction face their biggest challenges when they return to the daily routines of regular life. California outpatient drug rehab offers support through the transition.

Specialized Addiction Treatment Programs

High-quality addiction treatment programs are customized to meet each individual’s unique needs. Addiction treatment options that may be available include:

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment – medications to prevent withdrawal, combined with behavioral therapy
  • Gender-Specific Treatment – single-gender therapy groups and gender-specific therapies
  • Dual Diagnosis – addresses co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health issues

Addiction Treatment Therapies

An addiction treatment plan may include some or all of the following therapies:

  • Individual, group and family counseling
  • Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy
  • Stress management and life skills training
  • Relapse prevention techniques
  • Nutrition education
  • Physical fitness opportunities
  • Complementary therapies, such as yoga, massage and acupuncture

How To Pay For Addiction Treatment In California

One of the biggest concerns that clients have when seeking addiction treatment is paying for their care. Fortunately, most health insurance plans cover a portion of the cost. Specific out-of-pocket expenses depend on the person’s insurance policy and the amount charged by the treatment center.

In addition to health insurance, many people qualify for other types of assistance. Addiction treatment facilities may offer a sliding-scale fee structure based on income, or there may be grants and scholarships available. A majority of treatment centers will set up payment plans or assist in securing third-party financing in an effort to ensure that cost isn’t a deterrent to seeking life-saving care.

Length of Treatment

The amount of time people spend in California addiction treatment programs varies based on the duration of the program and each client’s unique needs. Some short-term programs last approximately 28 days and more intensive options offer therapy for anywhere from 60 days to a year or more. Substance use disorders are complex, and the recovery process is not one-size-fits-all.

Traveling For Addiction Treatment

When considering where to seek treatment, remember that the best addiction treatment program for a person’s unique needs might not be right around the corner. The benefits of being willing to travel to seek treatment include:

  • Increased privacy
  • Improved focus on treatment
  • Removal from places and people that trigger cravings

Vertava Health offers effective, compassionate treatment in several states across the country, and we can help people find the care they need—wherever they are.