Over 740 billion dollars are lost each year in the United States because of drug abuse and addiction. This figure includes losses in work productivity, the costs associated with increased crime, and health care spending. Drug abuse and addiction are some of the most costly and pervasive societal problems plaguing the United States today. These problems persist even in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
In 2016, over 63,000 people in the United States died from drug overdoses, both legal and illegal. Adjusted for age, in 2016 the rate of overdose deaths in the United States had increased three-fold since 1999. Synthetic opioids were the leading cause of drug overdose deaths.
California is the most populated state in America. Almost forty million people call California home, and with a higher population comes the increased risk of higher drug abuse rates.
Over ten percent of the entire population of California is addicted to drugs. Prescription painkillers, heroin, and methamphetamine are the drugs most likely to be abused in California, and drug abuse is the leading cause of premature death in the state.
In Ventura County, one in four fatal car accidents involves drunk or drugged driving.
Southern California, in particular, is a hotbed of illegal drug use. Reasons for this are varied, but the beautiful scenery, perfect weather, large population, proximity to Mexico, and excellent transportation systems contribute to higher incidences of illegal drug use and trafficking in and out of the area. The drug trade and increased addiction rates spread like cancer from the southern part of California to the northern parts of the state and subsequently, to the rest of the country.
In Ventura County, prescription opioids are the leading cause of drug abuse deaths. Ventura County has outpaced the rest of California in prescription opioid addiction and overdose deaths since 2014.
Santa Barbara County doesn’t fare much better. Rates for prescription opioid overdoses have grown at a faster pace than in the rest of the state, and in 2015, 75 people died from either drug or alcohol abuse in Santa Barbara County.
The California Health Care Foundation has provided the following addiction statistics for the state:
- Between 2006 and 2017, emergency room visits involving heroin more than tripled.
- Six percent of people in California meet the criteria for being dependent upon alcohol, whereas three percent are dependent upon illegal drugs.
- Young adults aged 18 to 25 are the most likely to be affected by addiction in California.
- Alcohol was responsible for more nonfatal emergency room visits in California than all other substances combined.
- Substance abuse starts early in California, with over half of 11th-grade students having used alcohol during their lives, and nearly 40% have used marijuana.
Given the prevalence of addiction in California, the state is making efforts to improve substance abuse services provided through the government-funded Medi-Cal program to ensure that every Californian has access to needed addiction treatment.
According to Gallup polls, the majority of patients who seek treatment from addiction do so with the help of either rehabilitation centers or inpatient treatment facilities.
Treatment for people suffering from mental health conditions that are co-occurring with addiction requires a more in-depth, comprehensive, and highly-individualized, or integrated, treatment plan. When a person seeking treatment presents with co-occurring disorders, their treatment will require an interdisciplinary team of therapists, counselors, case managers, and social workers.
First, the patient must be assessed for which type of drug or substance they are dependent on. The severity of the addiction must also be determined. Time spent in a medical detoxification center is imperative for the person to clear the substance from their system.
Once the patient is adequately detoxed, a mental health assessment can be performed by qualified psychiatric personnel. At this point in the recovery journey, any underlying mental health conditions can be accurately diagnosed and treated. Treating co-occuring mental health conditions will lower the individual’s risk of relapse.
Even though most individuals who receive treatment for mental health conditions and drug addiction make a successful recovery, the key is that they have to receive treatment. Without it, they will continue to suffer the adverse health, socio-economic, legal, and relational effects of untreated addiction and mental health disorders.
Across the United States, two-thirds of mental health sufferers do not receive treatment. In California, only 35% seek treatment. The most cited reasons for this are lack of access to medical and therapeutic resources and the stigma attached to mental health disorders and addiction. Oftentimes, addicts and their families simply do not know what resources are available to them.
This is not an issue unique to California, however; this is a problem which plagues the entire country.
Fortunately for California residents, and the residents of southern California counties, in particular, this region of the country has the highest per-capita availability of drug rehabilitation centers. There are over 1400 rehabilitation centers in California, and most are located in the southern part of the state.
Private, luxury rehabilitation centers are available to those who can afford it. Staff is knowledgeable in formulating financial plans for treatment in private facilities. The state also offers publicly run and funded treatment centers for lower-income patients.
Southern California treatment centers offer patients various amenities and progressive treatment regimes like holistic healing. The world-renowned medical programs at USC and UCLA research facilities give rehabilitation centers in California proximity to the latest in cutting-edge and revolutionary treatment plans.
Rehabilitation centers are staffed with trained medical personnel who understand the unique problems sufferers of co-occuring conditions face.
Not only can drug abuse and addiction be treated in a progressive rehabilitation facility, but mental health conditions can be accurately evaluated and treated with a supportive group and individual therapy sessions and with pharmacological treatment methods. Both inpatient and outpatient therapy sessions are available, depending on the individual’s specific needs and circumstances.
Santa Barbara County offers low-cost, intensive outpatient treatment to help addicts make life-long recoveries from addiction. Facilities are publicly and privately funded, and there are several programs available targeted to the youth of Santa Barbara County. Preventative measures focus on educational and therapeutic seminars for at-risk young people.
Location and atmosphere are important components of an integrated treatment model in the fight against addiction and mental health distress. The scenery in Southern California is some of the most beautiful and esteemed in the world. People who suffer from addiction and comorbid mental health conditions often choose a rehabilitation center in Southern California because of the location alone.
Despite the grim statistics and the horrible costs to society, families, and individuals, it is possible to recover from drug addiction and to find adequate treatment for mental health disorders. Southern California addiction and treatment centers understand the link between co-occuring mental health conditions and drug abuse and are leading the way in mental health and addiction treatment.
While many people in California may go without treatment for conditions like mental illness, the reality is that help is available. If you are seeking treatment in the Santa Barbara or greater Southern California area, Mission Harbor Behavioral Health offers various treatment tracks, including adult mental health and substance abuse. We also provide a working professionals track and a program for adolescents. We can provide multiple levels of care, including a partial hospitalization program for those going through detox as well as intensive outpatient services with flexible scheduling options. Contact us today to speak to a professional and decide what sort of treatment is best for you.
This guide is intended to be informational. If you are considering help for you or your loved one and would like more information, please consult a medical professional or licensed treatment facility