Southern California Drug Rehab Guide

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Southern California is home to famous cities and counties like Los Angeles, San Diego, Hollywood, Anaheim, Riverside, San Bernardino, and more. In the state of California, drug rehab services are overseen by regional county health departments under the larger umbrella of the California Department of Health.

Each individual county health department supports residents by contracting with local addiction and mental health treatment service providers. For example, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health has contracts with more than 1,000 treatment providers in the local vicinity. The Behavioral Health Services (BHS) division of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency manages community providers and local care in San Diego County. Each specific county in California has their own regional entity that manages behavioral health services.

Drug abuse and addiction impact millions of Americans and Californians each year. The 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) Kaiser Foundation Hospital – Los Angeles publishes that 2.5 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County reported needing or wanting treatment for alcohol and/or drug abuse in the prior five years. In the Service Planning Area (SPA) that serves the city of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, SPA 4, close to 3.5 percent of residents reported this. Nearly 35 percent of adult residents in San Diego County report past-year binge drinking and more than 10 percent of adolescents (those between the ages of 12 and 17) in the county admitted to use of marijuana, cocaine abuse, glue sniffing, or other drug use at some point in their lives, the Live Well San Diego Community Health Assessment (CHA) publishes.

Addiction treatment is highly personal, and each family has different needs when it comes to finding the right drug rehab program. An informational guide to treatment can make the process of finding and enrolling in a drug rehab program more seamless and the system of care easier to comprehend.

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Understanding Types of Drug Rehab

No two drug rehab programs are exactly alike just as no two people are completely similar. Drug rehab should be individually suited to each person. As a result, there are several types of drug rehab formats to support families and individuals battling with addiction.

The most comprehensive format of care is an inpatient drug rehab program. These programs can offer care and support 24/7, maintain strict schedules, and provide the highest level of care available. In an inpatient drug rehab program, a person will remain in a secure and safe facility that provides an encouraging and supportive environment for healing.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that a person participate in a drug rehab program for at least 90 days. An inpatient drug rehab program can provide a person the opportunity to fully reset, allowing time to heal and build healthy habits and life skills. A daily schedule will include group and individual therapy sessions, stress management and relapse prevention training, life skills workshops, support group meetings, drug abuse education programs, nutritional planning, exercise, recreational and fitness opportunities, and more. Treatment for additional or co-occurring mental health and medical disorders can also be provided, and medications can be properly managed.

Detox is often a component of a drug rehab program that may need to come first. Detox allows drugs to process out of the body in a safe and supportive environment. Medical detox provides around-the-clock medical care and mental health support. It may involve the use of medications to manage difficult withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings that can occur. After detox is complete, within about a week or so, a person should then enter directly into a drug rehab program.

A step down from an inpatient drug rehab program is a partial hospitalization program, or PHP. A PHP may be a transitional program as a step down from an inpatient program or as a step up from a traditional outpatient drug rehab program. PHPs are generally structured similarly to an inpatient drug rehab program with strict schedules for several hours each day; the main difference being that a person will return home each evening and not remain on site.

Another form of outpatient drug rehab is an intensive outpatient program, or IOP. These programs offer services for a minimum of three hours each day for at least three days each week. The services can be scheduled to fit within a person’s other obligations, such as school, work, or family duties. IOPs and PHPs are typically short-term drug rehab programs and often transitional in nature, serving as in-between options from inpatient to traditional outpatient care. A traditional outpatient drug rehab program can offer a wide range of treatment services scheduled at a person’s convenience.

Support groups are often an important aspect of any drug rehab program. They can provide help with relapse prevention, sober fellowship, and ongoing peer support and mentorship.

Outpatient programs require a supportive home life and family situation. Inpatient drug rehab programs can offer the highest standard of care and the most options and services.

How to Choose a Local Provider

Beyond drug rehab formats, there is also a difference in providers in Southern California. The biggest thing to be aware of are the two main types of drug rehab providers: public versus private providers. A private provider offers services that are considered to be fee-based, and often, health insurance coverage can help pay for treatment. Private providers typically have more options to choose from, more luxurious and private surroundings, and added amenities.

Public drug rehab options can be offered free of charge or for a low cost to individuals in need. Eligibility is typically based on household income level. Priority for public drug rehab programs in Southern California will go first to pregnant women and people with families and then to those with financial hardship who are in immediate crisis. Funded through state and federal money and grants, public programs often have waiting lists and may not be as immediately accessible as a private drug rehab program.

Throughout the United States, NIDA publishes that there are more than 14,500 specialty drug rehab programs to choose from. Each provider will offer a range of services and treatment options and varying levels of care.

It is important to prioritize your, and your family’s, treatment needs in order to make an informed decision on what drug rehab format and provider to choose when seeking a treatment program. Things to consider include:

  • Cost and budget
  • Location, accessibility, and convenience
  • Level of care and rehab format options
  • Quality of treatment, staff credentials, and facility accreditations

When deciding on a drug rehab program for a loved one in Southern California, it is important to understand what exactly is needed. For instance, a person who struggles with addiction involving more than one substance, who also battles a mental health disorder, or who is significantly dependent on drugs will likely need to begin with a medical detox program that can transition into an inpatient rehab program. Programs that offer seamless transitions between levels of care can be helpful, too.

A full drug use, mental health, and medical assessment should be done prior to enrollment in any program in order to define exactly what a person may need. Assessments should also be done regularly throughout treatment as needs can change over time. Drug rehab programs should offer a full continuum of care with a wide range of services and options to suit your family’s needs.

Families play a big role in drug addiction treatment and recovery. It can be beneficial to choose a provider that is conveniently located so loved ones can visit and attend family sessions as needed.

Cost is also a factor. A budget should be worked out to determine how treatment payment can be arranged prior to enrollment in a program. Drug treatment providers will vary in terms of costs and payment arrangements. Faculties can often work directly with insurance companies to maximize coverage. They may also provide flexible payment options and plans to fit a family’s budget.

NIDA reports that addiction treatment can save families and society money down the line. In fact, treatment might save as much as $12 for every dollar spent when taking into account healthcare costs, lost workplace production expenses, and legal and criminal fees.

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What to Ask a Provider before Enrolling in a Drug Rehab Program

To find a local drug rehab provider in Southern California, it can be helpful to reach out to your local county health department. The Service and Bed Availability Tool (SBAT) provides information on local services in and around Los Angeles, and the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can provide information on local resources as well.

Educate yourself on drug rehab formats and providers, and know what you and your family are looking for prior to enrollment in a program. For example, would a private room be best? How much structure and supervision will you or your loved one benefit from?

Addiction is a brain disease. The longer a person has been struggling with it, the more intensive and rigorous treatment may be optimal for recovery. It can take some time to build new habits, learn tools to prevent and minimize relapse, cope with stress and potential triggers, and allow the brain to heal and reset itself. A highly structured and supervised environment staffed with trained professionals to attend to all medical and mental health needs can be highly beneficial.

Decide on what amenities and/or optional services may be important or helpful. Prioritize needs and wants, and line them up with budget, cost, and providers.

In order to ensure that a drug rehab program is going to be a good fit for yourself, your loved one, and your family, there are some questions you can ask a provider first. These include:

  • What levels and formats of care are offered? Does the facility provide options for transitioning between levels if needed?
  • Is an assessment done prior to enrollment? What does a sample treatment plan look like?
  • What does a typical daily schedule entail?
  • What types of accommodations are offered? How many people are in a room?
  • How much supervision is there? Are staff members available around the clock?
  • What types of therapy sessions are provided? Are there both group and individual therapy sessions? How much one-on-one time will a client receive with a therapist?
  • What types of staff members are employed? What types of licenses do they hold?
  • Is the facility licensed by the state of California and accredited by the Joint Commission as a program that exceeds quality expectations?
  • What does family involvement look like? What are the rules about visiting?
  • Are there programs for specialty populations, such as for women only, adolescents, or seniors (when requested)?
  • Are there holistic and alternative care options as well as traditional ones?
  • What kind of aftercare and alumni support are offered?

A drug rehab program should provide a high level and full continuum of care with a treatment plan that is designed for the specific individual receiving services. It is important for a person to feel secure, safe, and comfortable during drug rehab so they can focus on treatment and recovery. Families and loved ones should choose a program in Southern California that feels right to them – one that offers a high standard of care, amenities, and therapies that are appropriate for the individual.