Los Angeles County Drug Treatment Programs

Los Angeles is a major hub in Southern California and the second most populous city in the United States behind only New York City. With close to 4 million people residing in Los Angeles, there is a large infrastructure in place to support families and individuals.

In California, medical and mental health services are overseen through the California Department of Health which parcels management of local services out through each County. The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health contracts with providers all over the city, offering care to residents who need mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

Like the rest of the county, Los Angeles County (LAC) struggles with the impact of substance abuse on its residents. The opioid epidemic is still ongoing. Consider the following statistics from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:

  • In Los Angeles County (LAC) between 2005 and 2018, more than 9,000 visits to LAC emergency departments involved prescription opioids.
  • In 2017, close to 30% of LAC residents expressed the belief that prescription medications are safer to abuse than illegal street drugs such as heroin.
  • The number of heroin-related deaths reached a 14-year high in LAC in 2017.
  • LAC saw a 210% increase in emergency department visits relating to heroin overdose between 2005 and 2018.
  • Despite stereotypes about young adults and addiction, it is adults between the ages of 45 and 54 who are most likely to seek opioid addiction treatment in LAC.

The toll of drug abuse and the overdose epidemic is immense. In 2017, almost 3,700 new cases of HIV were attributed to injection drug use in California according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And overdose steals years from the lives of Los Angeles residents. According to the numbers from the LA County Department of Public Health Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology, Los Angeles county residents who died from overdoses died 30 years early.

Understanding Addiction in Los Angeles

Each substance of abuse works in a slightly different way, but most substances that we consider addictive work on the reward centers of the brain. When people take in these substances, the brain sends signals that indicate happiness, contentment, or pleasure.

These are the sorts of chemical signals the brain might use when a person sees a loved one or eats a wonderful meal. They help the brain to identify things that are helpful and good.

In time, the brain begins to crave these happiness signals, and the only way to jumpstart them is to use drugs, at higher and higher doses. This can put a person at risk for overdose. In Los Angeles County, the third-leading cause of premature death and injury death is drug overdose, says the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Those overdose deaths are closely tied to the abuse of prescription drugs.

Prescription painkillers, also known as opioids, are meant to help people recover from temporary pain as well as those who live with chronic pain. But the euphoria they cause can trigger an addiction to form. Communities all across the country are dealing with a rising rate of opioid addiction, and Los Angeles is no exception.

Overdose isn’t the only problem an addiction can cause. People who have addictions can also face a high risk of injury. In a study published in the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, researchers examined this problem in Los Angeles. The researchers found that a large proportion of people who enter trauma centers abuse alcohol and use illegal drugs. In this study, the most commonly abused drug was marijuana, and cocaine came in a close second.

Choosing a Drug Rehab Format

Addiction is a personal disease that impacts every family and individual in a different way. When it comes to treatment, what works best for one person may not be ideal for another. Because of this, there are many different formats for drug rehab.

Finding a Local Drug Rehab

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publishes that there are more than 14,500 specialty addiction treatment providers in the United States, offering a wide range of these drug rehab formats. Each provider will offer different options and programs.

To find a drug rehab program near Los Angeles, residents can use the Service and Bed Availability Tool (SBAT) to find a local program with current openings. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator can also be a good resource for finding care and looking at local options and offerings.

Private drug rehab treatment programs work closely with families to budget for care. Offering payment plans and flexible options, drug rehab programs take many different health insurance options to help pay for services. A free or low-cost health insurance for California residents, Medi-Cal, can be used at approved drug rehab facilities. Medi-Cal is the California version of Medicaid, which is offered to eligible low-income citizens. Private insurance is also generally accepted for drug rehab services as addiction treatment is considered one of the 10 “essential health benefits” that must be covered under insurance plans sold on the federal marketplace.

Drug rehab providers can aid families in navigating insurance coverage, options, benefits, and how to use them to pay for treatment services. Personal insurance providers can be a great resource for understanding and maximizing coverage as well.

Public options are available for drug rehab. These programs are generally funded through federal or state grants, and they are open to eligible residents who may not be able to afford other treatment options. Public programs are often short-term and have limited availability and fewer amenities and options than private drug rehab facilities can offer. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health manages public healthcare treatment options in and around the city of LA.

Rehab Centers in Los Angeles that Accept Medi-Cal

While addiction treatment approaches may remain consistent from state to state, California deals with the addiction challenge in a slightly innovative way that could be very helpful for people in Los Angeles.

California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, is made to serve low-income individuals and families. In 2015, administrators of Medi-Cal enrolled in a program that allows them flexibility in administering Medicaid benefits to people with addictions.

As National Public Radio explains, this waiver allows administrators to use Medi-Cal funds to pay for:

  • Inpatient care
  • Case management
  • Recovery services
  • Medication management

This is a much wider range of treatment options than what was previously provided through Medi-Cal. It allows people enrolled in the program to get the care they need while using the benefits they’re entitled to.

Los Angeles County also provides publicly funded treatment programs for addiction. These programs, also known as state-funded addiction treatment centers, use government money to aid the recovery process. These are programs made for people who don’t have insurance or those who have no way to pay for the care they need. For people struggling with addiction who have no way to handle the problem, contacting the public health office could be a good option.

Mental Health Agencies in LA County

For people with mental health challenges, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health can help. The department offers services for people between the ages of 26 and 59 through partners located all across Los Angeles County. People who need help can call the mental health hotline at 1-800-854-7771. People are available around the clock to answer calls.

Mental Health America of Los Angeles offers a variety of services that could help people with addictions, including:

  • Housing services
  • Connections to substance abuse programs
  • Wellness programs
  • Life skills programs
  • Vocational and employment services

These are not formal treatment services, but the organization can help people in active recovery. People who have no idea which treatment program to choose may also appreciate the linkages program, so they can get connected with qualified care.

The California Department of Health Care Services provides a list of licensed residential facilities and certified drug and alcohol treatment programs. The list features addresses and phone numbers for the facilities, but people who are interested will need to call each facility to determine whether or not the fit is right.

It’s helpful to ask each facility the same questions, so comparisons are quick and easy. Families might use a spreadsheet to track that data, or they might come up with an informal system that helps them to do the work efficiently.

When a final selection is made, loved ones can arrange for enrollment. Inpatient facilities may have very specific rules about what can and cannot be brought into the treatment facility, and they may accept new people only during specific times of day. Getting those details down properly can help families ensure that they’re setting up recovery on the right foot.

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