Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Substance Abuse and Treatment in Pasadena, California

Pasadena residents are not immune to the opioid crisis that has hit the rest of America. Congresswoman Judy Chu says the crisis has arrived and is hoping to educate families about the early warning signs addiction.

Like most of the country, Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley have been struck hard with a recent uprising in drug and alcohol-related problems that have dramatically impacted households, schools, and neighborhoods.

Many of our loved one’s battle day and night with the effects of addiction and it almost always creates strife in the home, work, and neighborhood. More than ever there is a real need in our communities for available and effective drug and alcohol treatment.

If you live in Pasadena or the surrounding Los Angeles County and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

Opiate abuse has hit the latest generation of twentysomethings in the form of pain medication and other prescriptions that can be easily acquired through a primary care physician or pharmacist. Heroin and other street drugs remain in the mix as is alcohol and even more unique designer drugs. More so than ever there are many options out for loved ones to use drugs.

Local emergency rooms are overcrowded with individuals who have injured themselves or others because of behaviors that are the direct outcome of excessive drinking and substance abuse. Prisons have plenty of males and females who got busted because of petty thefts, DUI charges, simple assaults, and drug possession. Most hospital visits and criminal charges can be traced straight back to unhealthy drug and alcohol usage. The cost is high and not just the individual, their households however also to the communities that provide medical services and police.

It’s no secret that addiction is a diverse disease, and depending upon the substance and frequency of abuse, among other aspects, addiction deals with every individual and family in a different way; therefore, for effective addiction treatment, the individual fighting with the disease must be kept at the center of the program to guarantee his/her specific needs are met.

While symptoms and treatment of addiction differs from person to person, what stays similar are the telltale signs that a loved one may be having a problem with addiction. Not every individual suffering from alcohol and drug addiction will show all the following indications but be aware if your loved one is to reveal one, or a mix of them.

  • Changes in behavior (lying, aggression and reclusive)
  • Money problems (borrowing, stealing and late bills)
  • Sleep disturbances (awake or nodding out)
  • Weight fluctuations (losing and gaining)
  • Change in appearance (haggard or unkept)
  • Uninterested in life (unmotivated)
  • Unable to meet normal obligations (unreliable)

The face of addiction is no longer just “the junkie” or the “the wino” it is the mom next door or the high school football player. Prescription medications start off most times innocently enough and after a short time a person can become dependent.


Pasadena city is in the state of California, and it lies northeast of Los Angeles. This city is popular for hosting the annual Rose Bowl Game and Tournament of Roses Parade. The population in Pasadena in 2016 was approximately 142,059. The average household income is $105,221 and the average home value is $505,916. The unemployment rate in March 2018 is 4.10%.

In 2016 there were 530 homeless persons according to the Pasadena homeless count. The majority of the homeless are Caucasian 43%and 33% identified as Black.

In the past six years, there has been little change in homicide rates, however, since 2010, the incidence of rape has increased by 57%, assaults by 18% and domestic violence assaults by 17%. On the other hand, there has been a significant decrease in robbery rates by 27%.

In San Gabriel Valley, 28.8 percent of adults reported binge drinking in 2014. More men reported binge drinking 40.4% than 18.3% woman. Between 2011-2013 the number of adult hospital admissions due to alcohol abuse in Greater Pasadena was 12.7 hospital admissions per 10,000 population, which was greater than in California (8.2).

The Treatment Process


The first step in getting help with chemical dependency issues is reaching out to addiction experts and getting an assessment. At this time an expert from the clinical team will collect vital information to access what level of a care is needed. Many different variables come into to play such as, drug of choice (DOC), length of time using, and overall physical and mental health. After the initial evaluation is complete the individual is ready for the step.


An admission coordinator will do a quick intake over the phone to gather important information that is needed prior to going into treatment.

This information will include:

  • Drug of Choice
  • Addiction history
  • Previous treatment
  • Medical history
  • Employment status
  • Other concerns

The coordinator will collect the client’s insurance information to expedite them into treatment swiftly. All financial questions can be answered by your admissions coordinator prior to treatment.

Many clients have travel arrangements to consider and the coordinator will be there to walk you and your family member through any difficulties.

At this point the coordinator will answer any questions you may have about what to bring into treatment.


Lots of patients feel a certain level of shame over their psychological health and drug abuse practices, and they may be inclined to lie during their initial interview, especially when asked questions that make them feel embarrassed. Do not lie about your drug use, such as downplaying about what other substances you may use or how often you use a drug, can seriously impede your treatment program right from the start. It is essential to your own success in treatment that you are open and truthful with staff members throughout your time in treatment.

Remember that everything you divulge throughout this time and the rest of your course of treatment is entirely personal. The details gathered during intake is exactly what will be utilized to establish your personalized treatment strategy, as different patients have different requirements. Financial situations and payment options are also reviewed at this time.

During the intake procedure, you will generally consult with a medical professional, a psychologist, and/or drug and alcohol counselor. Intake is simply an interview procedure that serves to admit you into an offered substance abuse treatment program. Your medical history– including your psychological health history– will be evaluated, and often a physical examination and mental health screening will be performed at this time, too. You’ll likely be asked about the situations surrounding your drug abuse, such as events that may have precipitated the abuse.


Many inpatient drug rehab centers will restrict your contact with friends and family during drug detox. This “blackout period” permits you to concentrate on treatment and enables your loved ones to take correct care of themselves while you are away.

Under the close supervision of a certified physician, you might receive medications such as methadone, Suboxone and buprenorphine to minimize drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications are backed by several years of scientific research and can be utilized exclusively for short-term detox (approximately 3-10 days) or for longer time periods. The medical staff might also suggest dietary supplements, fluids to treat dehydration, and non-addictive medication to attend to body pains and other problems.

Depending upon the kind of dependency and length of drug use, your treatment team may advise medically supervised detox. A monitored medical detox is critical for people addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines (which can be deadly) and is well-advised for many going through opiate detox.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

When an addict or alcoholic finishes the detoxification stage of healing, he or she will likely continue with inpatient or residential care. While detox assists to rid the body of alcohol and drugs, inpatient and extensive residential treatment options can accommodate the physical and psychological needs clients have in the next stages of healing. Residential care (RTC) can also function as a follow-up to inpatient care. After accomplishing medical stability and establishing a structure in healing, clients can transition from inpatient care to a property program, allowing them to move focus to mastering the skills of recovery.

Both inpatient and residential are extremely intense and coordinated. Removing the addict from his environment and putting them into a safe structured program that is designed to help them develop new healthy habits in an accelerated situation. Inpatient treatment tends to be onsite treatment in a hospital like setting. Residential treatment center (RTC) are most times residential houses that have all the comforts of home and the patient is transported each day to the treatment facility for education groups, peer therapy and one on one counseling. Most houses are gender specific because men and woman deal with unique issues.

Partial Hospitalization (PHP):   A Partial Hospitalization Program benefits people leaving inpatient or residential treatment who comprehend that while they have more work to do in addiction healing, a twenty-for hour setting is not necessary.

It’s quite typical for clients to step down to PHP after inpatient treatment and sometimes once again to intensive outpatient (IOP). For others, PHP might be a required resource after a relapse of symptoms that bring the illness of addiction out of remission. Though programs vary, PHP is typically six hours a day, five days a week.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) Both PHP and IOP programs are more cost-effective than a most inpatient or residential recovery programs, but they all share the very same goal of sobriety and relapse prevention. Not all individuals abuse drugs or alcohol are necessarily addicted, but they might be at risk of becoming dependent. Outpatient programs can help them before it’s too late.

Whether healing happens in an inpatient setting, a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program, addiction treatment can restore individuals lives, relationships and goals.

Many individuals will qualify for addiction treatment under the Affordable Care Act and a recording number of individuals are able to receive care in treatment that specialize to their specific needs.

In an Extensive Outpatient Program, therapy sessions are usually 3 hours a day, 3 days per week. While IOP can include one on one counseling, there is a focus on group treatment.

For too long, people fighting dependency have felt that their condition is insurmountable. Too many lives have been lost since the stigma of addiction kept them from reaching out for the assistance they desperately desired and required. However as public awareness continues to rise, more and more individuals are getting assistance.

In both PHP and IOP, clients often have treatment plans tailored to their needs. Treatment is administered by doctors, psychologists, nurses and other healthcare experts. More on Inpatient vs. Outpatient.

These sessions intend to assist patients establish relapse prevention tools, along with find out methods of cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy or dialectical behavior modification, depending upon their needs. The length of IOP programs vary from person to person as they begin to manage a successful recovery. Most often it is between six and eight weeks.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?


Taking part in any type of aftercare can greatly increase the probability that an individual will stay clean and sober. Individuals will also learn tools that help them cope with the struggles of everyday life. They will learn new job skills, anger management tools and maintain a support system that will help them overcome their addiction. They learn that they have the power and abilities to succeed without falling back into their addiction.

What happens after discharge?

Sober Living

There are all types of sober living homes. Some are owned by non-profit organizations or businesses, but most houses are run independently, frequently by groups of sober individuals who form a casual arrangement to have a sober living plan. These privately-run houses permit you to invest in your recovery.

Sober living houses are homes that are free of alcohol and drugs for people in recovery. They operate like a co-op, where you pay the costs and maintain the home by helping with the upkeep of the house through lease and chores.

Each sober living home operates in a different way. Some have a resident manager that manages and enforces the sober house guidelines, where some homes have a social model approach, the sober home has a house manager. Everyone must follow rules and regulations to stay in the home, despite management style.