Treatment for opioid addiction is in high demand in California. This is due to the extremely high addiction rates and lack of affordable resources for struggling people. But thankfully, national media attention to this problem is beginning to reverse that trend and make more resources available to help those who struggle with opioid addiction.
Next to alcohol, opioids are one of the few drugs that have achieved widespread abuse to the degree that specific treatment formats were created for it alone. For opioids, this is known as Medication-Assisted Treatment.
Unfortunately, MAT doesn't aim to rehabilitate, and so is not an option for anyone who wants to become drug-free long-term. MAT uses a harm-reduction approach to switch people from illegal drugs like heroin to prescription opioids. Since these are legal and have somewhat lower abuse potential, the user can maintain their dependence on opioids without needing to resort to criminal activity or risk administration methods like needle sharing.
For those seeking opioid rehabilitation in California, various programs aim to help people become drug-free. Most people are familiar with the twelve-step models, which have become the industry standard for decades. There are also newer holistic treatment approaches that are showing good success rates.
California Opioid Penalties
California sets penalties for drug possession that vary depending on the type of drug, the amount, and the purpose for which the defendant had possession of the drug. Since different opioids are scheduled differently depending on their addiction potential and medical usefulness, the varying combinations of penalties that one could receive for possessing different opioids under different circumstances can be overwhelming.
The sentencing structure for drug possession changed after California voters passed the controversial Proposition 47 in 2014. This new law made many drug possession offenses punishable as a misdemeanor and allowed those serving time in state prison for drug possession charges to petition the court for resentencing.
California state laws include two broad categories for drug possession crimes: simple possession and possession with the intent to sell. The California Health and Safety Code also separates offenses related to controlled substances formerly classified under state law as narcotics or "restricted dangerous drugs," including opioids, from crimes related to marijuana.
California Opioid Statistics
In California, an estimated 45% of drug overdose deaths involved opioids in 2018, a total of more than 2,400 fatalities. Among opioid-involved deaths, the largest increase involved synthetic opioids other than methadone, with a more than 60% increase from 536 in 2017 to 865 in 2018. Deaths involving heroin also continued to rise to 778 reported in 2018. Deaths involving prescription opioids continued a downward trend and totaled 1,084 in 2018.
In 2018, California providers wrote 35.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This was among the lowest prescribing rates in the country and less than the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions.
California had the 4th highest number of drug overdose deaths in the nation, 4,868 in 2017; the age-adjusted state mortality rate of 12.3 deaths per 100,000 people was lower than the U.S. rate overall, 21.6. In LA County, there was an average of 464 accidental opioid-related deaths per year from 2011-2017. On average, individuals who died from drug overdoses died 30 years prematurely. Hospitalizations and emergency department visits related to opioid diagnoses have increased by 31% and 51%, respectively, between 2006-2017, with a substantial increase in costs associated with hospitalizations from opioid diagnoses. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2012-2014, the prevalence rate of misusing/abusing prescription opioids in the past year in LA County is 4.7%, higher than the national average of 4.3%.
Here is a list of medical detox for opioid addiction in California. The list can be incomplete, so please do not hesitate to contact one of our treatment specialists at 1-800-304-2219.