San Diego is right at the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and is directly next to the border of Mexico. As with many other major cities, it did see a declining crime rate in the early 2000s, but substance abuse and drug problems are still very prevalent throughout the area. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration directory show 61 drug rehabilitation centers and services in San Diego operating within a 15-mile radius. This includes outpatient programs, detox centers, and inpatient rehabilitation for every type of addiction or drug dependency problem. The Alpha Project is an outpatient facility that addresses drug and alcohol addiction from a very personal and results-based standpoint. The Alpha Project also offers an aftercare program too. The San Diego American Indian Health Center excels at helping individuals because it utilizes a very simple and very basic approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment. It can exemplify and create a results-based and entirely open-ended approach to drug and alcohol addiction treatment in San Diego. This rehab can put addicts through a totally holistic, Native American approach.

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Distribution points for drug trafficking

Because Los Angeles is the main distribution point for much of the illegal substances throughout the state, there are increased security measures, but this has not stopped criminal organizations from distributing their product from other cities, such as San Diego. Drug rehabilitation centers are changing, and the methodologies used are becoming more specific to handle the different problems addicts face. Because of this, drug treatment in San Diego tends to be more successful, but the willingness of the addict does play a major role.

Methamphetamine Abuse and Treatment in San Diego

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug, and most of the meth seized in the United States is coming from super labs in Mexico operated by the Mexican drug cartel. During a 24-hour span in 2019, 100 pounds of meth was seized at two other border crossings in San Diego. Local law enforcement in the area face issues such as this every day. The surge in the amount of meth coming from Mexico has increased, notably since the availability of illegal prescription opioids has decreased. This reinforces the need for alcohol & drug abuse treatment in San Diego. 

During the 1980s, San Diego County was a hotbed for the use and production of methamphetamine. At one point, it was coined meth capital of the world. According to local San Diego news reports, in 2018, over 45,000 pounds of methamphetamine was seized in San Diego County. Approximately 800 cases were filed for prosecution by the local attorney's office, and over 1000 people were charged with federal crimes related to methamphetamine. The same local news report found over 300 people died from meth-related causes in 2018, which was a 470% increase from 1997. Some of the meth being smuggled into the area is laced with fentanyl, a potent and dangerous opioid, which does cause overdose and death.

Opioid Detox in San Diego, California

According to the California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard, in 2018, there were 265 opioid overdoses, which was a rate of 7.3 overdoses per 100,000 population. During that same year, there were 769 emergency room visits due to opioid overdose, and this was a rate of 11.9 per 100,000 population, and 314 people were hospitalized because of an opioid overdose. In 2018 within San Diego County, there were over 1.5 million opioid prescriptions given out, which was a rate of 419.6 prescriptions per 100,000 population. Between 2007 and 2017, there were nearly 2,200 accidental overdose deaths from prescribed opioids in San Diego County. During that same time, approximately 890 residents of San Diego died from an unintentional heroin overdose. This proves the great need for substance abuse treatment programs in San Diego.

The state of California has extensive withdrawal management programs and services for people struggling with opioid addiction. The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) classifies different levels of severity regarding withdrawal management. The ambulatory withdrawal management without extended on-site monitoring is for mild severity of the addiction, for example, daily or less than regular outpatient supervision. Clinically managed residential withdrawal management treats more moderate drug addiction and provides 24-hour support to complete withdrawal management. Medically supervised withdrawal management is for severe drug abuse and delivers 24-hour care and daily physician visits.

The Effectiveness of Outpatient Treatment in San Diego

The medical definition of outpatient treatment is a patient who is not hospitalized overnight, but who visits a hospital, clinic or associated facility for treatment. Outpatient drug rehab centers in San Diego are programs where a client attends therapy daily for a certain number of days per week for a set number of hours. There are standard and intensive outpatient programs in San Diego, and an intensive outpatient program is a treatment provided in a more condensed time frame, but more hours are dedicated to treatment daily. An outpatient drug rehab is a popular option in San Diego because it is more affordable from private for-profit or non-profit programs.

Outpatient programs are effective for most types of addiction; however, severe drug abuse requires lengthy residential programs. Prescription drug abuse, for example, may not always benefit from outpatient treatment. However, if the problem involves recreational drug abuse, an outpatient program would work. According to the 2019 Report by the Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force (PDATF) in San Diego County, the number of unintentional prescription drug overdose deaths have been on the decline since 2014. In 2014 there were 244 deaths, and by 2017 it had peaked to 273 deaths, and by 2018, the number of fatalities dropped to 246. In 2018 approximately 40% of adults who are using prescription drugs reported misusing them around 56% of juveniles reported abusing prescription drugs.

The Benefit of Christian Faith-Based Substance Abuse Treatment in San Diego

There are numerous treatment approaches used in California to treat substance abuse. Some of the more common therapies include motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapy. Many centers provide medication-assisted treatment and recovery support services. Per the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), approximately 8% of California residents met the criteria for substance use disorders. Roughly 6% reported meeting the criteria for abuse or dependence on alcohol, and 3% met the criteria for abuse of or dependency on illicit drugs. The average addict may not think about incorporating faith-based treatment options into his or her rehabilitation.

However, most addicts may have been spiritual at one point and then lost sight of their spirituality because of the addiction. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (JSAT), many addicts going into treatment expressed an interest in receiving spirituality focused therapy and reported that such a treatment process would help reduce cravings and manage long-term recovery. In 2013, San Diego County Behavioral Health Services Division launched a faith-based initiative to develop relationships with congregations and behavioral health services providers. The purpose was to include faith-based communities into the treatment process in San Diego because so many living in these communities have a strong faith.



The list below will help you on how to find a drug rehab in San Diego, California. The list can be incomplete so please do not hesitate to contact one of our treatment specialists at 1-800-304-2219.


Marcel Gemme, DATS

Marcel Gemme, DATS


on December 21, 2021

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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.