Table of Contents
I. Getting Help
Drug & Alcohol Addiction Rehab, Treatment & Recovery Resources in San Diego, CA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Getting Help

What to Consider When Choosing a Rehab Center

When thinking about which rehab programs and treatment options to explore, some good questions you should consider asking are:

There are various factors which will impact your rehab options, such as the severity of your addiction, your financial position, and your unique personal situation.

For more information on how to make all of these decisions, read our guide to Choosing the Right Rehab.

The Highest Rated, Low-Cost Rehabs in San Diego

The cost of rehab can be high, depending on your needs and location. Whether or not you have insurance, there are ways to break free of your addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), there are 70 licensed substance abuse treatment centers in the San Diego area. Many of these organizations are on a mission to provide substance abuse recovery services to residents, regardless of their financial status. Out of the 70 treatment centers, Capalina Comprehensive Treatment Center in San Marcos received the highest score based on our five core metrics.

We used these five core metrics to evaluate the quality of each facility. For more information, feel free to read a full breakdown of our filtering process and ranking methodology.

1. Capalina Comprehensive Treatment Center

The Capalina Comprehensive Treatment Center comes in first place with an overall score of 5.2 points out of 10 possible points. This facility provides outpatient medication-assisted treatment to individuals in the San Diego area who are struggling with opioid addiction, utilizing medications such as Methadone. Patients who enroll in a treatment program are also provided with emotional support therapy designed to help them achieve long-term recovery.

This facility scores a 3.75 for cost due to the fact that patients must be prepared to pay for their total treatment cost in advance. However, Medicaid, private insurance, military insurance, and private pay are all viable payment options, in addition to the use of a sliding scale to help defray costs. The center scored very low for special programs for unique groups as it only offers tailored programs for patients referred from the judicial system and pregnant or postpartum women.

  • Rehabilitation Services Provided: 10
  • Treatment Approaches: 3.85
  • Cost: 3.75
  • Special Programs for Unique Demographics: 0.67
  • Ancillary Services: 4.03

2. Downtown Family Health Center at Connections

The Downtown Family Health Center at Connections has an overall score of 4.8 points out of 10 points. The center scored a 2.49 for rehabilitation services as it only offers generalized substance abuse treatment, although it does welcome clients with opioid addiction. Its medical providers work closely with substance use disorder counselors to create personalized plans for clients to reduce the negative impact of substance abuse on their lives. Treatment approaches range from trauma-related counseling to motivational interviewing to relapse prevention.

Some of the many ancillary services offered at this center include employment counseling and training, mental health services, educational sessions, individual counseling, and support groups. The main drawback of this facility is that there are no special programs for unique demographics. Payment options include Medi-Cal health insurance, which makes their services accessible to many more patients and contributes to the high score it received for cost.

  • Rehabilitation Services Provided: 2.49
  • Treatment Approaches: 6.16
  • Cost: 8.75
  • Special Programs for Unique Demographics: 0
  • Ancillary Services: 7.44

3. McAlister Institute

Scoring 4.6 out of 10 possible points, McAlister Institute is one of the San Diego area’s largest alcohol and drug treatment facilities. It treats over 10,000 patients each year, helping them to overcome debilitating drug and alcohol dependency. It offers a host of treatment approaches that are meant to provide behavioral therapy, counseling, intervention, and prevention in both short-term and long-term residential care and regular and intensive outpatient treatment settings.

This facility scores high for its special programs because of the wide range of services offered for unique groups, such as pregnant women, teens, homeless persons, Spanish speakers and more. It scored relatively low for cost as payment options are limited to private pay and Medicare, although a sliding scale and payment assistance may assist clients with treatment costs.

  • Rehabilitation Services Provided: 1.66
  • Treatment Approaches: 6.16
  • Cost: 3.75
  • Special Programs for Unique Demographics: 8.71
  • Ancillary Services: 5.27
Top-Rated, Low-Cost Treatment Centers in the San Diego Metro Area
RankRehabTotal ScoreContact Information
#1Capalina Comprehensive Treatment Center5.21560 Capalina Road San Marcos, CA 92069 Main Tel: 866-845-8439
#2Downtown Family Health Center at Connections4.81250 6th Avenue, Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92101 Main Tel: 619-515-2430
#3McAlister Institute4.61400 N. Johnson Avenue, Suite 101 El Cajon, CA 92020 Main Tel: 619-442-0277
#4Mental Health Systems4.59465 Farnham Street San Diego, CA 92123 Main Tel: 858-573-2600
#5Community Research Foundation, Inc. South Bay Guidance Center3.8835 Third Avenue Chula Vista, CA 91911 Main Tel: 619-427-4661
#6Community Research Foundation, Inc. Turning Point Crisis Center3.61738 South Tremont Street Oceanside, CA 92054 Main Tel: 760-439-2800
#7House of Metamorphosis, Inc.3.42970 Market Street San Diego, CA 92102 Main Tel: 619-236-9492 Intake Tel: 619-236-9217

Finding a Substance Abuse Treatment Center in San Diego

Start by determining your coverage

In order to find the best rehabilitation center to suit your needs, you’ll need to learn about your health coverage. Reach out to your private or healthcare marketplace insurance provider to find out which centers you’re able to use. To learn if you qualify for low-income Medicaid services, and to determine your eligibility, visit www.coveredca.com. Regardless of the type of coverage you have, both public and private insurance companies must cover substance abuse treatment for qualified individuals.

Use our database to find a treatment center near you

The tool below lists all of the treatment centers in the state of California recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Input your zip code and select the filter icon to find relevant treatment centers near you.

Schedule an assessment

If you are pursuing treatment that will be covered by insurance, your first step will likely be scheduling an assessment by a qualified individual, such as a therapist or counselor. Most facilities provide assessments, or your primary care provider may be able to refer you. Contact the facilities in our database above to find out if they will provide this service.


Type Of Care
Treatment Apporaches
Service Setting
Age Groups Accepted
Ancillary Services
Facility Operation
Facility Smoking Policy
Gender Accepted
Language Services
License Certification Accreditation
Payment Assistance Available
Payment Methods and Insurance Accepted
Special Programs Groups Offered

    What to Expect in Rehab

    Addiction treatment is a multifaceted industry and there are numerous techniques and philosophies. As a result, the science of studying addiction is constantly shifting and improving. However, the core elements of rehabilitation are very similar.

    For more on what to expect in rehab, read our guide on the addiction rehabilitation process 

    II. Finding Aftercare in San Diego

    The rehabilitation process can be a lifelong venture, and without proper aftercare upon release from a rehab facility, the chances of relapse increase. Many different aftercare options provide flexibility to the community, such as follow-up visits for continued therapy, sober living homes, and group therapy. Research shows that long-term participation in aftercare activities dramatically improves the outcome of rehabilitation efforts.

    The 12-step process for recovering from alcohol addiction was created by Alcoholics Anonymous, a nationwide addiction support group. Today, there are many other resources that follow a similar path, including NA, or Narcotics Anonymous, for those struggling with drug addictions.

    Contact the appropriate local organization to find an AA or NA meeting near you

    See our directory tool below to find local organizations that can help you find your local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) group meetings. Meeting times and locations change periodically, it is best to call ahead to make sure the online information is accurate.

    Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Database

    NameCityProgramTelephoneSpanish Hotline
    24 Hour Answering ServiceChinoAA(909) 628-4428N/A
    24 Hour Answering ServiceDavisAA(800) 970-9040N/A
    24 Hour Answering ServiceTwain HarteAA(209) 533-1134N/A
    24 Hour Answering ServiceYuba CityAA(916) 454-1100;(916) 454-1771N/A
    24-Hour HotlineThousand OaksAA(805) 495-1111N/A
    52nd District Alcoholics Anonymous Central OfficeSanta MariaAA(805) 925-3782N/A
    916 North Area NA916 North Area (Chico)NA(877) 669-1669N/A
    A.A. Central Office Of Kern CountyBakersfieldAA(661) 322-4025N/A
    A.A. San Fernando Valley C.O.Van NuysAA(818) 988-3001N/A
    Alcoholics Anonymous 24-Hour HotlineGaltAA(209) 339-1201N/A
    All South Bay Central OfficeTorranceAA(310) 618-1180N/A
    American River Area NAAmerican River Area (Sacramento)NA(800) 600-4673;(866) 565-2135N/A
    Antelope Valley IntergroupLancasterAA(661) 945-5757N/A
    Area de Habla Hispana del Norte California NAArea de Habla Hispana del Norte CaliforniaNAN/A(855) 667-2262
    Bay Cities Area NABay Cities Area (Long Beach, San Pedro, Torrance, Hermosa Beach)NA(310) 372-9666N/A
    Beach Area NABeach AreaNAN/AN/A
    CAN Area NACAN Area (Needles)NA(928) 768-6467N/A
    Central California Area NACentral California Area (Fresno)NA(559) 255-5881N/A
    Central California FellowshipSacramentoAA(916) 454-1100;(916) 454-1771N/A
    Central Coast Area NACentral Coast Area (Lompoc, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles)NA(800) 549-7730N/A
    Central Coast Central Office IntergroupSan Luis ObispoAA(805) 541-3211;(855) 541-3288N/A
    Central Intergroup Office Of The DesertCathedral CityAA(760) 324-4880N/A
    Central Service Office Of FresnoFresnoAA(559) 221-6907N/A
    Central Sierra Area NACentral Sierra Area (Angels Camp)NA(800) 240-4956N/A
    Central Sierra South Area NACentral Sierra South Area (Sonora)NA(209) 533-2348N/A
    Central Valley IntergroupModestoAA(209) 572-2970N/A
    Central Valley North Area NACentral Valley North Area (Acampo, Lodi, Manteca, Ripon, Stockton, Tracy, Victor)NA(209) 464-9262N/A
    Contra Costa Area NAContra Costa Area (Concord)NA(925) 685-4357N/A
    Contra Costa Service CenterWalnut CreekAA(925) 939-4155;(925) 939-5371N/A
    County Line Area NACounty Line Area (Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks)NA(888) 672-9318N/A
    Del Norte IntergroupCrescent CityAA(707) 464-3411N/A
    Delta Central OfficeStocktonAA(209) 464-1509N/A
    Desert Empire Area NADesert Empire Area (Barstow)NA(800) 863-2962N/A
    Dist. 20-Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley and Surrounding AreasWestern Nevada CountyAA(530) 272-6287N/A
    East Bay Central Area NAEast Bay Central Area (Alameda County, Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Livermore)NA(510) 444-4673N/A
    East Bay North Area NAEast Bay North Area (Oakland)NA(510) 444-4673N/A
    East County IntergroupEl CajonAA(877) 993-2422N/A
    Eastbay Intergroup Central OfficeOaklandAA(510) 839-8900(408) 417-1593
    Eastern Counties Area NAEastern Counties Area (Whittier, Downey)NA(562) 698-4604N/A
    Eastern Inland Empire Area NAEastern Inland Empire Area (Riverside, San Bernardino)NA(800) 397-2333;(909) 370-3568N/A
    Eastern Sierra Area NAEastern Sierra Area (Ridgecrest)NA(760) 446-4445N/A
    Foothill Area NAFoothill Area (Porterville)NA(559) 784-4420N/A
    Gold Coast Area NAGold Coast Area (Ventura, Oxnard)NA(888) 817-7425N/A
    Gold Country Area NAGold Country Area (Jackson, Ione, Sutter Creek and Pioneer)NA(209) 256-0645N/A
    Greater East Los Angeles Area NAGreater East Los Angeles AreaNA(323) 721-5504N/A
    Greater Los Angeles Area NAGreater Los Angeles AreaNA(323) 933-5395N/A
    Greater Mojave Area NAGreater Mojave Area (Victorville)NA(888) 322-6817N/A
    Greater San Jose Area NAGreater San Jose AreaNA(408) 998-4200N/A
    Harbor Area Central OfficeLong BeachAA(562) 989-7697(310) 516-8626
    Hollywood Area NAHollywood AreaNA(323) 850-1624N/A
    Humboldt County IntergroupEurekaAA(844) 442-0711N/A
    Humboldt/Del Norte Area NAHumboldt/Del Norte Area (Crescent City)NA(866) 315-8645N/A
    Inland Empire 12th Step Service BoardClaremontAA(909) 628-4428N/A
    Inland Empire Central OfficeColtonAA(909) 825-4700N/A
    Inland Empire Foothills Area NAInland Empire Foothills Area (Redlands, Yucaipa)NA(909) 795-0464N/A
    Inland Empire West Area NAInland Empire West Area (Montclair, Ontario)NA(909) 622-4274N/A
    Intercounty Fellowship Of A.A.San FranciscoAA(415) 674-1821N/A
    Intergroup Answering ServiceSusanvilleAA(530) 257-2880N/A
    Kern County Area NAKern County Area (Bakersfield)NA(877) 629-6759N/A
    Kings Tulare Area NAKings Tulare Area (Hanford, Tulare, Visalia)NA(559) 734-0403N/A
    Lake County Area NALake County Area (Lakeport)NA(707) 262-0132N/A
    Lake County IntergroupLower LakeAA(707) 995-3316N/A
    Los Angeles Central OfficeLos AngelesAA(323) 963-4343;(800) 923-8722N/A
    Lower Desert Area NALower Desert Area (Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Indio)NA(888) 777-5947N/A
    Marin County NAMarin County (San Rafael)NA(877) 612-7837N/A
    Mariposa A.A. Answering ServiceMariposaAA(209) 966-3110N/A
    Mendocino Coast IntergroupFt. BraggAA(877) 546-9286N/A
    Mendocino Country Area NAMendocino Country Area (Ukiah, Willits)NA(707) 485-9110N/A
    Mendocino Inland IntergroupUkiahAA(707) 462-7123N/A
    Middle Mountain Area NAMiddle Mountain Area (Yuba City, Marysville, Olivehurst)NA(877) 669-1669N/A
    Mission Peak Area NAMission Peak AreaNA(510) 444-4673N/A
    Monterey Bay Area IntergroupMontereyAA(831) 373-3713N/A
    Monterey County Area NAMonterey County Area (Monterey)NA(831) 624-2055N/A
    Monterey County Area NAMonterey County Area (Salinas)NA(831) 758-1630N/A
    Morongo Basin Area NAMorongo Basin Area (Joshua Tree, Morongo Valley)NA(800) 833-2830N/A
    Mountain Area NAMountain Area (Running Springs, Big Bear, Yucca Valley, Lake Arrowhead)NA(909) 584-7115N/A
    Napa County IntergroupNapaAA(707) 500-7001N/A
    Napa/Solano Area NANapa/Solano AreaNA(866) 642-3848N/A
    No. California IntergroupReddingAA(530) 225-8955N/A
    No. San Diego Co. Central OfficeVistaAA(760) 758-2514N/A
    North Coastal Area NANorth Coastal Area (Vista, Oceanside, Encinitas)NA(866) 331-1958N/A
    North Orange County Central OfficeFullertonAA(714) 773-4357N/A
    North Solano IntergroupVacavilleAA(707) 446-2244N/A
    North Valley Central OfficeChicoAA(530) 342-5756N/A
    Oakhurst Fellowship Answering ServiceOakhurstAA(559) 683-1662N/A
    Oficina Central de RiversideRiversideAAN/A(951) 687-7090
    Oficina Central HispanaEl MonteAAN/A(626) 453-0226
    Oficina Central HispanaLos AngelesAAN/A(323) 750-2039
    Oficina Central HispanaSan DiegoAAN/A(619) 280-7224
    Oficina Central HispanaSan FranciscoAAN/A(415) 824-1834
    Oficina Central Hispana Costa NorteSan JoseAAN/A(408) 287-7205
    Oficina Central Hispana IntergrupalSalinasAAN/A(831) 757-8518
    Oficina Central NorteSanta RosaAAN/A(707) 623-6702
    Oficina Hispana Del Este De LaLos AngelesAAN/A(323) 722-4175
    Oficina IntergrupalChula VistaAAN/A(619) 476-0288
    Oficina IntergrupalWatsonvilleAAN/A(831) 768-9597
    Oficina Intergrupal Condado VeOxnardAAN/A(805) 988-0329
    Oficina Intergrupal De OrangeSanta AnaAAN/A(714) 541-7225
    Oficina Intergrupal Del Este De La BahiaRichmondAAN/A(510) 328-8930
    Oficina Intergrupal HispanaFresnoAAN/A(559) 266-6752
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana De Alcoholicos Anonimos Del Area de Santa ClaraSan JoseAAN/A(408) 931-2002
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana del Area de San MateoMountainviewAAN/A(650) 679-2374
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Del Conadado Notre de San DiegoVistaAAN/A(760) 758-6905
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Del Condado De KernBakersfieldAAN/A(661) 205-0296
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Del Valle De CoachellaIndioAAN/A(760) 625-9018
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana SuLong BeachAAN/A(310) 516-8626
    Oficina Intergrupal Sureste De VenturaSanta PaulaAAN/A(805) 525-6140
    Oficina Intergrupal Valle Del AntelopeLittlerockAAN/A(661) 944-5147
    Oficina Intergrupo De ChinoPomonaAAN/A(909) 629-0493
    Orange County Area NAOrange County Area (Anaheim)NA(714) 590-2388N/A
    Orange County Central OfficeSanta AnaAA(714) 556-4555N/A
    Paradise IntergroupParadiseAA(530) 342-5756N/A
    Peninsula Area NAPeninsula Area (San Mateo)NA(650) 802-5950N/A
    River Cities Area NARiver Cities Area (Anderson, Red Bluff)NA(877) 669-1669N/A
    Sacramento Fellowship Area NASacramento Fellowship Area (Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Woodland)NA(877) 623-6363N/A
    Salinas Valley Area IntergroupSalinasAA(831) 424-9874N/A
    San Diego Central OfficeSan DiegoAA(619) 265-8762N/A
    San Diego Imperial Counties - Spanish NASan Diego Imperial Counties - SpanishNAN/A(619) 546-0774
    San Diego Imperial Counties Region NASan Diego Imperial Counties RegionNA(800) 479-0062;(619) 584-1007N/A
    San Fernando Valley Area NASan Fernando Valley Area (East San Fernando Valley)NA(818) 997-3822N/A
    San Francisco Area NASan Francisco AreaNA(415) 621-8600N/A
    San Gabriel Valley Area NASan Gabriel Valley Area (Pasadena)NA(626) 584-6910N/A
    San Gabriel/Pomona Valley Central OfficeGlendoraAA(626) 914-1861N/A
    San Mateo CO Fellowship Of A.A.San MateoAA(650) 577-1310N/A
    Santa Barbara Area NASanta Barbara AreaNA(805) 569-1288N/A
    Santa Barbara Central OfficeSanta BarbaraAA(805) 962-3332N/A
    Santa Clara County Intergroup C.O.San JoseAA(408) 374-8511N/A
    Santa Clarita Area NASanta Clarita Area (Newhall, Saugus)NA(800) 338-2155N/A
    Santa Cruz Area NASanta Cruz AreaNA(831) 429-7436N/A
    Santa Cruz County Intergroup Inc.SoquelAA(831) 475-5782N/A
    SCV Central Office Of A.A.Santa ClaritaAA(661) 250-9922N/A
    Shasta/Trinity Area NAShasta/Trinity Area (Redding)NA(877) 669-1669N/A
    Sierra Foothills Area NASierra Foothills Area (Auburn, Placerville)NA(888) 423-3428;(530) 645-1635N/A
    Sierra Sage Region NASierra Sage Region (Mammoth Lakes, Bishop)NAN/AN/A
    Siskiyou Area NASiskiyou Area (Mt Shasta, Weed, Yreka)NA(530) 925-6616N/A
    So. Solano County Central OfficeBeniciaAA(707) 745-8822N/A
    Sonoma County Area NASonoma County Area (Santa Rosa)NA(707) 324-4062N/A
    Sonoma County IntergroupSanta RosaAA(707) 544-1300;(707) 546-2066;(800) 224-1300N/A
    South Coast Area NASouth Coast Area (San Juan Capistrano)NA(800) 333-3610N/A
    South Tahoe Basin Area NASouth Tahoe Basin Area (Lake Tahoe South)NA(530) 541-4100N/A
    Southern Antelope Valley Area NASouthern Antelope Valley Area (Palmdale, Lancaster)NA(661) 266-2200N/A
    Southwest Area NASouthwest Area (Hemet, Temecula, Banning)NA(951) 652-5326N/A
    Southwestern Riverside County Central Service Office Inc.TemeculaAA(951) 695-1535N/A
    Spanish Speaking for LA NASpanish Speaking for LANAN/A(888) 622-4672
    Stanislaus Valley Area NAStanislaus Valley Area (Modesto, Merced)NA(888) 942-9922;(209) 526-1817N/A
    Truckee/North Lake Tahoe Basin Area NATruckee/North Lake Tahoe Basin AreaNA(530) 546-1116N/A
    Tulare County Central OfficeExeterAA(559) 592-6999N/A
    Valle Oficina CentralModestoAAN/A(209) 222-8313
    Valley Service CenterDublinAA(925) 829-0666;(925) 829-3160;(888) 859-3230N/A
    Ventura County Central Service OfficeCamarilloAA(805) 389-1444N/A
    Victor Valley Intergroup Central Office Inc.Apple ValleyAA(760) 242-9292N/A
    West End Area NAWest End Area (West San Fernando Valley)NA(818) 787-9706N/A
    Western Slope IntergroupPlacervilleAA(530) 622-3500N/A
    Westside Area NAWestside Area (West Los Angeles, Santa Monica)NA(310) 390-0279N/A

    Sober Living Homes

    Sober living homes, or recovery residences, help recovering addicts evolve into functional members of society and encourage independence while helping residents maintain their sobriety. The supportive and positive environment is particularly helpful to addiction recovery, and residents’ recovery efforts benefit from the community that has a no-tolerance policy towards drugs and alcohol. Research shows that people who integrate into a community that incentivizes productivity, in particular, the cultivation of skills like those that could be used to find stable employment and build healthy relationships, encourages those people to focus on building a life outside of their addiction and break free of the cycle of substance abuse.

    People in sober living are expected to care for their homes as if they were renting, and so chores are often assigned to residents, as well as rent costs. Support groups in each home are based upon house principles, and attendance is often mandatory. Residents are typically welcome to stay from a few months to as long as several years, given they follow all rules and don’t relapse, as these homes often have zero-tolerance drug use policies.

    You can find halfway houses in San Diego by checking our database, or you can select the appropriate filter from our tool above. Alternatively, you can head to our guide on sober living homes and learn more about them, as well as search for a certified recovery residence in your area.

    III. Substance Abuse in San Diego

    Deaths related to heroin and fentanyl overdoses continue to climb in San Diego

    Data provided by the San Diego Department of the Medical Examiner reveals that deaths due to heroin and fentanyl overdoses continue to be a major problem for San Diego County. However, while heroin-related deaths have fluctuated over the last decade, fentanyl-related deaths were at their highest in 2017 at 84. This is an increase from only 12 deaths in 2012, a rise of 600% increase.

    Heroin and Fentanyl-Induced Deaths in San Diego County, 2012-2017
    YearHeroin-Induced DeathsFentanyl-Induced Deaths
    20127412
    20138914
    201410516
    20159021
    20169133
    20178684
    Percentage Change+16.22%+600%

    Drug overdoses in San Diego County continue to increase, while other California counties see a decline

    Many counties across California have seen a reduction in the rate of drug overdoses in recent years. However, in some California counties, including San Diego County, the number of drug overdoses continues to climb.

    Population-Adjusted Rate of Drug Overdoses by Adults in San Diego County, 2015-2017
    County
    ODs per 10,000 2015
    ODs per 10,000 2016
    ODs per 10,000 2017
    Percentage Change
    Imperial2.32.21.2-47.82%
    Butte5.55.14.2-23.64%
    Alameda2.22.02.0-9.09%
    El Dorado3.64.63.3-8.33%
    Humboldt7.27.66.8-5.55%
    Fresno3.12.93.10%
    San Diego2.72.82.8+3.70%
    Contra Costa2.12.22.2+4.76%
    Los Angeles2.02.22.2+10%

    Drug and alcohol deaths in San Diego County lower than the nation’s percentage

    Between the years of 2008 and 2017, there were 14,341 deaths in San Diego County as a result of drugs and alcohol. This amount equates to 6.63% of the total number of deaths in the county.

    6.63%

    of San Diego County drug and alcohol-induced deaths, 2008-2017

    12.71%

    of US drug and alcohol-induced deaths, 2008-2017

    This percentage is considerably less than the percentage of U.S. deaths related to drug and alcohol abuse, which is 12.71%. However, for the state of California, San Diego County ranks among the highest for counties with the most drug and alcohol-related deaths in 2017. This list also includes Los Angeles County at 5.1%, Riverside County at 5.9%, and Sacramento County at 7.5% according to data from CDC Wonder.

    Drug and Alcohol-Induced Deaths Between 2008 and 2017
    0-1718+All Ages
    Drug-Induced Deaths in San Diego County307,1147,145
    Alcohol-Induced Deaths in San Diego County47,1927,196
    Total Deaths in San Diego County2,850213,383216,242
    Percentage of Drug & Alcohol-Induced Deaths in San Diego County1.19%6.70%6.63%

    Source: CDC Wonder

    Key Indicators of Substance Abuse

    While it may not be obvious at first glance exactly how many people in a society are struggling with substance abuse and its effects, we can look at several indicators to see the larger impact of substance abuse in San Diego County. We located data from sources in areas such as homelessness, traffic accidents, and suicide rates that offer a broader view of substance abuse issues and their impact in San Diego.

    Heroin seizures at San Diego County ports of entry continue to spike

    Data provided by the San Diego Rx Abuse Task Force indicates that heroin trafficking continues to rise. Seizures of heroin at San Diego County ports of entry were at their highest points in 2015 and 2017 and have increased by 35% since 2013.

    San Diego’s homeless population sees a slight decrease as drug abuse remains a related issue

    According to the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless, San Diego’s total homeless population remained relatively unchanged between 2013 and 2016. In 2017, San Diego’s homeless population reached its peak at 9,116 homeless individuals and then dropped in 2018 to 4,912. This decline in the number of homeless individuals appears to demonstrate that local government and community efforts to reduce the homeless population is having a positive effect.

    However, the level of substance abuse among the homeless remains a relevant issue. In 2018, 5.23% of homeless individuals were reported to have substance abuse issues, an increase from 2.62% in 2016, when data was last available.

    San Diego Homeless Population and Related Substance Abuse, 2014-2018
    YearHomelessShelteredUnshelteredHomeless Per 1,000Percentage of Substance Abuse Among Homeless
    20148,5064,5213,9856.165.42%
    20158,7424,5864,1566.294.23%
    20168,6923,7524,9406.162.62%
    20179,1163,4955,6216.42N/A
    20184,9122,2822,6303.465.23%
    Percentage Change-42.25%-49.52%-34.00%-43.83%-3.51%

    San Diego County has seen an increase in deceased drivers with a detectable blood alcohol level

    According to data from the San Diego County Medical Examiner, between 2012 and 2016, San Diego County experienced a 29% increase in deceased drivers with a detectable blood alcohol level (BAL).

    Traffic-Related Fatalities and Deceased Drivers with Detectable BAL in San Diego County, 2012-2016
    YearPopulationTraffic-Related FatalitiesPercentage of Deceased Drivers with Detectable BAL
    20123,179,79827031%
    20133,216,52224723%
    20143,256,87529121%
    20153,290,04430236%
    20163,317,20030740%
    Percent Change+4.32%+13.70%+29.03%

    IV. Take Action

    There are multiple resources in San Diego and the surrounding area for those who are struggling with substance dependency. Use our tool to discover a rehabilitation center near you that can help to determine your insurance coverage and your rehab needs. Many low-cost centers can help you if you don’t have insurance or feel like you are unable to afford treatment.