Get Help in Riverside, California
A Super Highway in the Meth Capital
Riverside County is built on a web of highways covering empty desert and nondescript suburbia. The county has been called the meth capital of the world and according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, has become the single largest drug trafficking distribution center in the United States. Over a three-year period, the Riverside DEA Office, which also covers San Bernardino County, has seized about 6,500 pounds of meth and 770 pounds of heroin. That’s nearly one fourth as much meth, and one tenth as much heroin, as was seized by the entire DEA – nationwide – from 2012 to 2014.
Riverside DEA has seen a significant rise in meth and heroin trafficking over the past three years according to seizure statistics. Meth seizures rose from 1,567 pounds in 2013 to 2,546 pounds in 2015, and heroin rose from 150 pounds to 395 pounds in the same timeframe. The heroin seized has been mostly white powder, rather than the black tar that is common for the local area, and officials believe these shipments are intended for East Coast markets, where white powder heroin is more popular.
In the same three-year span, the Riverside office also seized nearly $47 million in cash, vehicles and guns.
Absent from these totals are countless seizures made by Border Patrol, local police and DEA agents from surrounding counties, such as Los Angeles, San Diego and all the way from the East Coast, which routinely trace the source of their drugs back to Riverside County.
“We are almost like the Costco warehouse of narcotics dealers, shipping this poison across the country,” said assistant special agent, Frank Pepper, in charge of the Riverside DEA Office. “The amounts we are seeing are unfortunately on the rise, but we’re also seizing more, getting more of this poison off the streets.”
About the Community
Riverside, California, is part of the Inland Empire area. Situated 60 miles west of Los Angeles near the Santa Ana River, Riverside has a population of 324,722 people, as reported in 2016. Riverside is known as the hub of the California citrus growing industry and as the home of the University of California, Riverside. Riverside has a large collection of fun tourist attractions, shopping malls and entertainment venues. The Pacific Ocean and Southern California’s famous beaches are approximately 50 miles away from Riverside. Riverside is also known for the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. The building was once a modest boarding house with only 12 rooms and over the years has expanded to become one of the country’s finest hotels. Riverside hosts The Festival Of Lights event every year around the holidays, lighting up all of Downtown and The Mission Inn.
The median household income in Riverside, California (2016) is $63,548 whereas the State median household income is $67,739
Population Demographics By Race In Riverside County
RACE POPULATION % of TOTAL
Total Population: 2,189,641 100%
White: 1,335,147 60%
Hispanic or Latino 995,257 45%
Some Other Race 448,235 20%
Black or African American 140,543 6%
Asian 130,468 5%
Two or More Races 104,664 4%
American Indian 23,710 1%
Three or More Races 7,842 <1%
Pacific Islander 6,874 <1%
Native Hawaiian 1,246 <1%
Alaska Native Tribes 141 <1%
The Transport of Drugs in Riverside Co.
The Sinalo cartel have been linked to 90 percent of the drugs that move through Southern California by the DEA. Even if Sinaloas don’t actually move the drugs themselves, they tax any other cartel that ships narcotics through their territory, like a smuggling tollbooth.
Like in Riverside, drug seizures along that stretch of border have gone up dramatically. Border Patrol officials said this summer that the quantity of meth and heroin they’re intercepting now is 10 times higher than it was a decade ago. Agents and drug dogs sweep the traffic, hunting for hidden narcotics, but there are far too many travelers to search them all.
DEA officials suspect once smugglers pass Calexico, the majority follow one of two routes. They will either head north on Highway 86, into the eastern portions of the Coachella Valley, or they’ll head west to the I-15, which runs north towards Temecula, Corona and up to Riverside. Sometimes locals will notice a high amount of Border Patrol agents sitting parked along the freeways.
Once beyond the reach of the Border Patrol, the drugs settle into stash houses, which masquerade as family homes and legitimate businesses in the innocuous suburbs of Riverside and its surrounding cities.
The production, availability, and use of methamphetamine and heroin are significant threats to Riverside, California and surrounding cities. Meth and heroin use in the district remains at high levels. Mexican criminal groups and Hispanic gangs are the primary distributors and most often control the sale and distribution of meth and heroin at all levels.
Millennials Flooding the ERs
Heroin is a major issue that is not going away, especially among millennials. Riverside’s young adults dip into their parent’s medicine cabinet looking for opiates and before they know it are physically dependent on them. One OxyCodone pill on the street can cost up to $80, whereas a bag of heroin can cost $20. One of the unintended consequences of this prescription drug epidemic has been the increase in heroin addiction and overdoses, in part due to the transition from prescription opioids to less expensive heroin street drugs.
Millennials continue to flood hospital emergency departments in California because of heroin, a trend that has increased steadily statewide over the past five years, according to the latest figures.
Overall, emergency department visits among heroin users of all ages increased, but the most significant was among the state’s young adults. In 2015, about 1,500 emergency room visits by California’s millennials poisoned by heroin were logged, compared with fewer than 1,000 in 2012. The state data released in 2017 shows that just in the first three months of 2016, 412 adults age 20 to 29 went to emergency rooms due to heroin, doubling the number for the same time period in 2012.
Emergency responders, those who work in recovery program treatment facilities, and parents of children addicted to heroin say the figures are unsurprising given the increase in prescription painkiller abuse that likely has led more young people to use heroin.
Emergency room visits due to heroin poisoning, patients ages 20-29:
Los Angeles County: 114
Orange County: 81
Riverside County: 21
San Bernardino County: 26
Los Angeles County: 131
Orange County: 107
Riverside County: 37
San Bernardino County: 43
Los Angeles County: 170
Orange County: 133
Riverside County: 46
San Bernardino County: 38
Los Angeles County: 201
Orange County: 190
Riverside County: 76
San Bernardino County: 38
Los Angeles County: 215
Orange County: 200
Riverside County: 84
San Bernardino County: 65
Los Angeles County: 229
Orange County: 207
Riverside County: 89
San Bernardino County: 54
Los Angeles County: 237
Orange County: 206
Riverside County: 68
San Bernardino County: 49
*Source: California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development
Substance Abuse Treatment
While different rehabilitation centers may offer unique techniques for treating their patients depending on the type of drug and the severity of the addiction, the truth is that there are certain processes that are common in just about all the centers, including Riverside rehab centers. Addiction treatment is usually structured in such a manner that it helps the patient stop further use of drugs and forestall any future relapses. Effective treatment ensures that the individual becomes a productive member of the society capable of forming and maintaining healthy social relationships. Here is a look at some of the things that are commonly involved in addiction treatment.
“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard
Detoxification – this refers to the process of cleansing the body from the substance it is addicted to. The process is necessary for individuals that have become substance dependent. Doctors run lab tests to ascertain the exact substance and the amount currently circulation in the system. This allows them to come up with effective detox techniques. Part of the treatment here involves explaining to the patient what he or she can expect during detox. Another feature of detoxification involves consuming select foods that help speed up the process while ensuring the patient is well nourished. The third component of detoxification involves administration of the substance in lesser amounts until the patient’s body no longer needs it. What is withdrawal and how long does it last?
Medication – doctors may have to provide medicine to help in dealing with health complications. Addicts that have conditions such as HIV, Hepatitis or any other infections that occurred due to a weakened immune system or sharing of needles must be given specialized medical care. Failure to treat such health problems may mean that the patient will end up succumbing to the effects of the conditions that are prevailing. Another aspect of medication involves suppression of withdrawal effects. Keep in mind that some of the most difficult times for an addict are the first few hours or days of ceasing from substance use.
Counselling – this part of treatment involves the patient and a therapist or counselor talking about the issues that surround addiction and general life choices. Such talks are aimed at helping the patient come to terms with the consequences of drug abuse to personal welfare and that of close family members. Counseling allows patients to develop skills that enable them realize dangerous thought patterns and how to break away from them. It gives them a new way to think, act and feel. This is key to both short and long term sober living.
Spiritual teachings – individuals that were religious prior to drug addiction face a lot of spiritual challenges because of the things they may have done while battling their addiction. They end up having to deal with guilt and thoughts of going to hell. Such patients are given spiritual nourishment to help them realize that human beings are prone to making errors but can always resolve to pick up their lives and pursue a greater and more noble spiritual purpose.
Aided comfort – when patients cease from using drugs they end up experiencing painful sensations and depressing moments. Rehabilitation centers have devices, caregivers and techniques that are specially developed to provide care that is able to ease the pain or effects of withdrawal. This allows the patient to enjoy some level of comfort during withdrawal.
Physical therapy – some patients hurt themselves while using drugs. Such people may have been involved in accidents or violent incidents that can render them unable to move or use their limbs. To correct the situation, doctors may recommend physical therapy which can help the patient regain lost abilities. Physical therapy such as massages an be ideal for soothing patients that are going through stress and physical pain.
Motivational talks – treatment of drug addiction must involve emotional and psychological care. Most drug addicts are encouraged to identify motivational issues that can help them stay on course for getting sober and staying that way. For some people taking care of their families is a strong motivational factor while others may find inspiration from the fact that their recovery acts as can example for other people that are battling addiction.
Support groups – these are groups formed by people who are going through similar experiences. Individuals in these groups come together at designated times and share their personal experiences. This allows others to learn from them while also providing some form of support. Members of these groups build bonds that are able to help in various aspects of life including professional and social partnerships. It is worth pointing out that support groups make up part of the aftercare that is needed for recovered addicts to stay sober.
For a patient to achieve full recovery it is imperative that they go through the entire process of treatment. Stopping treatment at any point other than the final stage may lead to relapse.
Beginning the Journey
If you are in real trouble — if you are addicted to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food, sex, worry, resentment, lying, depression, or anxiety — if you want to recover; and if you are willing to accept and act on suggestions from people who themselves have recovered — the outlook for you is good.
Do not let anybody tell you that recovery from addiction is impossible, or unusual. Hundreds of thousands of addicts have recovered — fully, beautifully, and permanently.
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard
There are various steps involved in addiction treatment and recovery. Having knowledge of them can help just about anyone understand how treatment is done.
The Addiction Treatment Process
There are various steps involved in addiction treatment and recovery. Having knowledge of them can help just about anyone understand how treatment is done. Here is a list of FAQ about rehab to look over.
This is the first stage of addiction recovery It involves relatives and friends getting to act on behalf of the patient. Having made contact with professionals family members and friends are advised on how to approach the situation in such a way that the drug addict is not irritated. Each member of the family will be involved in intervention plans that are aimed at making the addict realize the pain he or she may be causing to other people. Intervention also allows the addict to realize the health, financial and social dangers that they are going through. If done correctly intervention can be all it takes for the addict to accept help.
At this point the drug addict has accepted the fact that they are unable to quit using drugs on their own and therefore require professional help. At this point a professional counselor or doctor will note down the history of drug abuse and run certain physical tests to ascertain the health dangers. The individual will also be asked certain questions to help the doctor gauge psychological issues that have to be dealt with during the process of treatment. Assessment results are key to formulating a personalized treatment program for the patient.
At this point professionals have established the extent to which the individual has been affected by drug abuse. The gender, faith and age of the patient is recorded to ensure that they can be enrolled in an effective treatment program. Family members are informed about the costs involved in treatment and the options available for payment. Depending on the circumstances of the drug addict they may be enrolled to an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility.
Intake basically refers to the day a patient is admitted into a treatment program. At this stage the family or guardian of the addict has agreed to the terms that are laid down and initial payment has been done. The patient can then be taken through orientation in a medical facility.
Because no two people have the same personality or drug addiction problems doctors often come up with personalized treatment techniques for each of their patients. This makes it possible for progress to be achieved within 90 days. Individuals that are severely affected by drug abuse may have to be treated for about 18 months.
Inpatient or residential drug and alcohol rehab centers provide people suffering from substance abuse and addiction with medical and therapeutic care around-the-clock. People who are admitted to these facilities receive highly individualized care from a multidisciplinary team of specialists.
Inpatient drug rehabilitation is unique in that you live at the facility while you participate in treatment-related activities, such as group meetings and individual counseling sessions. You also receive your medications daily, as well as any other medical care that you may require during the treatment process.
An outpatient rehab program offers drug and alcohol treatment sessions that can be scheduled during various times throughout the week. This schedule allows patients to continue with their regular responsibilities and continue living at home, but they are required to check into treatment at their allotted times for counseling and medication.
Outpatient programs come in a variety of formats, differing levels of intensity and offer an array of services — but the general focus is on counseling, education and providing a network of support.
Find out if Inpatient vs. Outpatient is right for you.
Once a patient has successfully gone through a treatment program they are discharged from the rehabilitation facility. However, caregivers will continue keeping an eye on the patient to ensure that they do not relapse or go back to drug use. Aftercare is meant to provide reinforcement for the skills and knowledge that was imparted during treatment. Caregivers also encourage the individual to continue living a sober life as a way of protecting their own health and the welfare of family members.