Opioid Treatment in California

Created On Monday, 20, February 2017
Modified On Friday, 17, September 2021


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.

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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.



opioid-related deaths in California in 2018


of drug overdose deaths involved opioids in California in 2018


deaths involving heroin were reported in California in 2018

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.

List of Medical Detox Programs for Narcotic Abuse in California


Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

Michael Leach, CCMA - Medically Reviewed on September 17, 2021

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Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.