Drug Treatment and Alcohol Rehab Information in the Bay Area
Silicon Valley and Wine Country are both within the Bay Area, which is a region in Northern California that includes the three big cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland and the counties of Napa, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solano, Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, and Sonoma. Substance abuse and dependency affect California residents at rates just above the national averages as a whole, with averages between 2009 and 2013 indicating that 2.9 percent of the population was dependent on or abusing drugs and 7.3 percent were abusing or dependent on alcohol.
A quarter of all Californian adults (aged 18 and older) will experience mental health issues in any given year. In 2009, 7 percent of resident adults in the Bay Area battled a serious mental illness (SMI). Mental illness and substance abuse are often both treated by mental health, or behavioral health, services, as these issues often co-occur. Only about a third of California adults with mental health concerns will attempt to get treatment each year, however.
Bay Area Substance Abuse Concerns
Within San Francisco, residents sought emergency department (ED) treatment for alcohol abuse-related issues at rates more than double the national average in 2011: 328.3 per 100,000 population as opposed to 134.6 per 100,000 population. In the Bay Area, alcohol is the number one substance of abuse reported by individuals admitted to substance abuse treatment programs., 
Methamphetamine is a growing concern in the Bay Area, and close to 500 more people were admitted for meth abuse or dependency treatment in 2012-2013 than the year before. Meth ED visits in 2011 were much higher in San Francisco than the rest of the country as well, at 139.5 per 100,000 population versus 33 per 100,000 population. Methamphetamine is the number one drug seized and analyzed by Bay Area National Forensic Laboratory Information Systems (NFLIS) labs, with reports increasing from the first six months of 2012 to the same time period in 2013.
Medical marijuana is legal in the state of California, making marijuana fairly accessible in the Bay Area. Illegal grow operations in rural Northern California may attempt to stay in the shadows of legal cannabis cultivators and marijuana producers. Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) also may be smuggling marijuana across the border and into port via boat; via car, truck, or commercial vehicle on the way to the rest of the Pacific Northwest and Canada; or even through the air on a plane at one of the regions many airports. Marijuana was the second most seized and NFLIS lab-reported drug in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013, although numbers were almost half of the national average for seizures and NFLIS drug reports for the same period of time.
Marijuana may be easy to obtain in California, as it is generally not difficult to receive a medical marijuana card, meaning many users are already likely using the drug recreationally regardless of what the law says. Although treatment admissions are fairly low for marijuana dependency in the Bay Area, treatment rates are higher for young users and youth than other age groups. Almost half of all individuals listing marijuana as a primary drug of abuse were 18 or younger.
New Kind of Drug Abuser
One of the precursors for drug abuse is commonly availability. Doctors in the Bay Area may prescribe opioid narcotics, and particularly hydrocodone products, at rates much higher than in other parts of the country. Hydrocodone was the number one prescribed drug in 2012 in the United States, with over 125 million prescriptions written. In 2014, in the Bay Area alone, prescriptions for hydrocodone reached 1.4 million.
Hydrocodone products, which include Vicodin and Lorcet, are prescribed to treat pain and serve to block pain sensors while depressing parts of the central nervous system. They also are highly addictive, and over time, an individual taking an opioid painkiller can become used to the amount taken, leading the person to need to take more in order for it to continue to work. This can lead to a dependence on opioids, and doctor-prescribed amounts may no longer be enough, leading the person to increase dosages without medical supervision.
In Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, and San Mateo Counties in 2014, approximately 5.6 percent of residents over the age of 12 took prescription opioids for nonmedical purposes, or in other words, recreationally abused them. Sale of opioid pain relievers quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, and overdose deaths involving these drugs tripled.
Prescription opioid drugs are abused at epidemic levels throughout the United States. Many measures have been enacted by the government, law enforcement, and even makers of the pills themselves to try and keep these medications from being diverted and abused. Taking effect in October 2014, hydrocodone was officially reclassified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from a Schedule III controlled substance to a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that tighter regulations were put in place for prescribing it, and higher penalties are given for those convicted of diverting it.
As prescription opioids become harder to get, individuals addicted to them may turn an illegal, and often cheaper, street substitute: heroin. In the past, heroin abusers were thought to lurk in the shadows of alleys and in low-income and urban areas. Today, the face of the typical heroin abuser is changing. Almost half of heroin abusers in 2013 were also addicted to an opioid painkiller, and heroin use among those between 18 and 25 years old more than doubled in the past 10 years, although use has increased across almost all age brackets and socioeconomic groups.
From the Streets to the Office
In Santa Clara and the counties surrounding the area, seizures of heroin spiked from 6.3 pounds in the first six months of 2012 to 22 pounds in the first half of 2013. In addition, 6.4 percent of the drugs analyzed by the National Forensic Laboratory Information Systems (NFLIS) labs in the Bay Area were reported to contain heroin.,  In San Jose, the DEA reported a 249 percent jump in heroin seizures between 2012 and 2014. As availability of heroin in the Bay Area increases, the price drops, making the drug more attractive to a variety of individuals addicted to opioids. Many users are financially stable and privately insured.
Substance abuse treatment centers in San Francisco report that individuals admitted report heroin as their primary drug of abuse above all other drugs and second to only alcohol in treatment admissions. Approximately 17.5 percent of all treatment admissions in the Bay Area for the fiscal year (FY) 2012-2013 were for heroin abuse or dependency.
Many drug users in the Silicon Valley area may not be seeking a “high.” Instead, they may be seeking an “edge” or a way to stay awake, focused, and alert for longer – to increase work production in demanding and high-powered jobs. Stimulant drugs may seem like an alternative and more effective option than highly caffeinated drinks, such as energy drinks or mugs of coffee. Stimulants may include prescription attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications like Adderall or Ritalin, or illegal drugs such as cocaine.
In San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties, 159 people per every 100,000 go to an emergency department (ED) each year for treatment related to stimulant abuse. In comparison and stark contrast, the national average of ED visits for stimulant abuse is 30 per 100,000 population. Cocaine abuse has been steadily declining in recent years in the Bay Area, although in the FY 2012-2013, it still ranked fourth in total treatment admissions at 14 percent of all substance abuse treatment admissions for the year. In addition, 15 percent of drugs seized and analyzed by local NFLIS labs contained cocaine in the first half of 2013.
Bay Area Treatment Options
Getting treatment for a substance abuse or mental health issue, or both, can literally save a life. Suicide may be a side effect of untreated mental illness symptoms. On average, between 2008 and 2010, about 10 per 100,000 population in the greater Bay Area committed suicide. In 2013 alone, almost 50 people jumped to their deaths off the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, a record-high number.
Substance abuse can make mental health symptoms worse also. Drug overdose is a real risk when abusing drugs, and in 2013, in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties, 220 people died from a fatal opiate overdose, almost a 90 percent increase over a 10-year period. Overdoses are not always fatal, and another 346 individuals were treated for opiate overdose in a local hospital in the same counties in 2013.
Prevention methods and education are the first steps in mental health and substance abuse treatment models. Most local communities will have an outreach program in the area designed to offer family and youth services at the very least.
Some Bay Area resources include:
Treatment programs vary in type and range of services offered. Private substance abuse and mental health treatment programs may be more flexible and comprehensive in nature. Services are generally either inpatient or outpatient and may include detox, rehab, recovery services, therapy, counseling, and support groups.
The Bay Area of California is comprised of five different communities that are separate and distinct. They all have their own cultures, attractions, and idiosyncrasies, but there is one thing they all have in common. All of these communities emphasize treatment for addiction. All of them want residents with addictions to get better. These are the top 20 treatment providers in the Bay Area:
Addictions in the Bay Area do not have to persist. With the help of a treatment program, even advanced cases of addiction can be addressed in a comprehensive and compelling way. There are programs that can help. Families should take advantage of that help and call for more information today.