Table of Contents
Alcohol, Drug, and other Rehab Centers in San Diego, CA


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 Best Rehabs in San Diego, CA

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.

Metrics Used to Evaluate Each Rehab

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
Rank Rehab Total Score Contact Information
#1 Capalina Comprehensive Treatment Center 5.2 1560 Capalina Road San Marcos, CA 92069 Main Tel: 866-845-8439
#2 Downtown Family Health Center at Connections 4.8 1250 6th Avenue, Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92101 Main Tel: 619-515-2430
#3 McAlister Institute 4.6 1400 N. Johnson Avenue, Suite 101 El Cajon, CA 92020 Main Tel: 619-442-0277
#4 Mental Health Systems 4.5 9465 Farnham Street San Diego, CA 92123 Main Tel: 858-573-2600
#5 Community Research Foundation, Inc. South Bay Guidance Center 3.8 835 Third Avenue Chula Vista, CA 91911 Main Tel: 619-427-4661
#6 Community Research Foundation, Inc. Turning Point Crisis Center 3.6 1738 South Tremont Street Oceanside, CA 92054 Main Tel: 760-439-2800
#7 House of Metamorphosis, Inc. 3.4 2970 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 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.

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Type Of Care
Treatment Approaches
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.

    Description of the Four Steps of the Rehab Process

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

    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.

    Basics of a 12 step meeting

    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

    Name City Program Telephone Spanish Hotline
    24 Hour Answering Service Chino AA (909) 628-4428 N/A
    24 Hour Answering Service Davis AA (800) 970-9040 N/A
    24 Hour Answering Service Twain Harte AA (209) 533-1134 N/A
    24 Hour Answering Service Yuba City AA (916) 454-1100;(916) 454-1771 N/A
    24-Hour Hotline Thousand Oaks AA (805) 495-1111 N/A
    52nd District Alcoholics Anonymous Central Office Santa Maria AA (805) 925-3782 N/A
    916 North Area NA 916 North Area (Chico) NA (877) 669-1669 N/A
    A.A. Central Office Of Kern County Bakersfield AA (661) 322-4025 N/A
    A.A. San Fernando Valley C.O. Van Nuys AA (818) 988-3001 N/A
    Alcoholics Anonymous 24-Hour Hotline Galt AA (209) 339-1201 N/A
    All South Bay Central Office Torrance AA (310) 618-1180 N/A
    American River Area NA American River Area (Sacramento) NA (800) 600-4673;(866) 565-2135 N/A
    Antelope Valley Intergroup Lancaster AA (661) 945-5757 N/A
    Area de Habla Hispana del Norte California NA Area de Habla Hispana del Norte California NA N/A (855) 667-2262
    Bay Cities Area NA Bay Cities Area (Long Beach, San Pedro, Torrance, Hermosa Beach) NA (310) 372-9666 N/A
    Beach Area NA Beach Area NA N/A N/A
    CAN Area NA CAN Area (Needles) NA (928) 768-6467 N/A
    Central California Area NA Central California Area (Fresno) NA (559) 255-5881 N/A
    Central California Fellowship Sacramento AA (916) 454-1100;(916) 454-1771 N/A
    Central Coast Area NA Central Coast Area (Lompoc, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles) NA (800) 549-7730 N/A
    Central Coast Central Office Intergroup San Luis Obispo AA (805) 541-3211;(855) 541-3288 N/A
    Central Intergroup Office Of The Desert Cathedral City AA (760) 324-4880 N/A
    Central Service Office Of Fresno Fresno AA (559) 221-6907 N/A
    Central Sierra Area NA Central Sierra Area (Angels Camp) NA (800) 240-4956 N/A
    Central Sierra South Area NA Central Sierra South Area (Sonora) NA (209) 533-2348 N/A
    Central Valley Intergroup Modesto AA (209) 572-2970 N/A
    Central Valley North Area NA Central Valley North Area (Acampo, Lodi, Manteca, Ripon, Stockton, Tracy, Victor) NA (209) 464-9262 N/A
    Contra Costa Area NA Contra Costa Area (Concord) NA (925) 685-4357 N/A
    Contra Costa Service Center Walnut Creek AA (925) 939-4155;(925) 939-5371 N/A
    County Line Area NA County Line Area (Simi Valley, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks) NA (888) 672-9318 N/A
    Del Norte Intergroup Crescent City AA (707) 464-3411 N/A
    Delta Central Office Stockton AA (209) 464-1509 N/A
    Desert Empire Area NA Desert Empire Area (Barstow) NA (800) 863-2962 N/A
    Dist. 20-Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley and Surrounding Areas Western Nevada County AA (530) 272-6287 N/A
    East Bay Central Area NA East Bay Central Area (Alameda County, Berkeley, Oakland, Fremont, Livermore) NA (510) 444-4673 N/A
    East Bay North Area NA East Bay North Area (Oakland) NA (510) 444-4673 N/A
    East County Intergroup El Cajon AA (877) 993-2422 N/A
    Eastbay Intergroup Central Office Oakland AA (510) 839-8900 (408) 417-1593
    Eastern Counties Area NA Eastern Counties Area (Whittier, Downey) NA (562) 698-4604 N/A
    Eastern Inland Empire Area NA Eastern Inland Empire Area (Riverside, San Bernardino) NA (800) 397-2333;(909) 370-3568 N/A
    Eastern Sierra Area NA Eastern Sierra Area (Ridgecrest) NA (760) 446-4445 N/A
    Foothill Area NA Foothill Area (Porterville) NA (559) 784-4420 N/A
    Gold Coast Area NA Gold Coast Area (Ventura, Oxnard) NA (888) 817-7425 N/A
    Gold Country Area NA Gold Country Area (Jackson, Ione, Sutter Creek and Pioneer) NA (209) 256-0645 N/A
    Greater East Los Angeles Area NA Greater East Los Angeles Area NA (323) 721-5504 N/A
    Greater Los Angeles Area NA Greater Los Angeles Area NA (323) 933-5395 N/A
    Greater Mojave Area NA Greater Mojave Area (Victorville) NA (888) 322-6817 N/A
    Greater San Jose Area NA Greater San Jose Area NA (408) 998-4200 N/A
    Harbor Area Central Office Long Beach AA (562) 989-7697 (310) 516-8626
    Hollywood Area NA Hollywood Area NA (323) 850-1624 N/A
    Humboldt County Intergroup Eureka AA (844) 442-0711 N/A
    Humboldt/Del Norte Area NA Humboldt/Del Norte Area (Crescent City) NA (866) 315-8645 N/A
    Inland Empire 12th Step Service Board Claremont AA (909) 628-4428 N/A
    Inland Empire Central Office Colton AA (909) 825-4700 N/A
    Inland Empire Foothills Area NA Inland Empire Foothills Area (Redlands, Yucaipa) NA (909) 795-0464 N/A
    Inland Empire West Area NA Inland Empire West Area (Montclair, Ontario) NA (909) 622-4274 N/A
    Intercounty Fellowship Of A.A. San Francisco AA (415) 674-1821 N/A
    Intergroup Answering Service Susanville AA (530) 257-2880 N/A
    Kern County Area NA Kern County Area (Bakersfield) NA (877) 629-6759 N/A
    Kings Tulare Area NA Kings Tulare Area (Hanford, Tulare, Visalia) NA (559) 734-0403 N/A
    Lake County Area NA Lake County Area (Lakeport) NA (707) 262-0132 N/A
    Lake County Intergroup Lower Lake AA (707) 995-3316 N/A
    Los Angeles Central Office Los Angeles AA (323) 963-4343;(800) 923-8722 N/A
    Lower Desert Area NA Lower Desert Area (Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Indio) NA (888) 777-5947 N/A
    Marin County NA Marin County (San Rafael) NA (877) 612-7837 N/A
    Mariposa A.A. Answering Service Mariposa AA (209) 966-3110 N/A
    Mendocino Coast Intergroup Ft. Bragg AA (877) 546-9286 N/A
    Mendocino Country Area NA Mendocino Country Area (Ukiah, Willits) NA (707) 485-9110 N/A
    Mendocino Inland Intergroup Ukiah AA (707) 462-7123 N/A
    Middle Mountain Area NA Middle Mountain Area (Yuba City, Marysville, Olivehurst) NA (877) 669-1669 N/A
    Mission Peak Area NA Mission Peak Area NA (510) 444-4673 N/A
    Monterey Bay Area Intergroup Monterey AA (831) 373-3713 N/A
    Monterey County Area NA Monterey County Area (Monterey) NA (831) 624-2055 N/A
    Monterey County Area NA Monterey County Area (Salinas) NA (831) 758-1630 N/A
    Morongo Basin Area NA Morongo Basin Area (Joshua Tree, Morongo Valley) NA (800) 833-2830 N/A
    Mountain Area NA Mountain Area (Running Springs, Big Bear, Yucca Valley, Lake Arrowhead) NA (909) 584-7115 N/A
    Napa County Intergroup Napa AA (707) 500-7001 N/A
    Napa/Solano Area NA Napa/Solano Area NA (866) 642-3848 N/A
    No. California Intergroup Redding AA (530) 225-8955 N/A
    No. San Diego Co. Central Office Vista AA (760) 758-2514 N/A
    North Coastal Area NA North Coastal Area (Vista, Oceanside, Encinitas) NA (866) 331-1958 N/A
    North Orange County Central Office Fullerton AA (714) 773-4357 N/A
    North Solano Intergroup Vacaville AA (707) 446-2244 N/A
    North Valley Central Office Chico AA (530) 342-5756 N/A
    Oakhurst Fellowship Answering Service Oakhurst AA (559) 683-1662 N/A
    Oficina Central de Riverside Riverside AA N/A (951) 687-7090
    Oficina Central Hispana El Monte AA N/A (626) 453-0226
    Oficina Central Hispana Los Angeles AA N/A (323) 750-2039
    Oficina Central Hispana San Diego AA N/A (619) 280-7224
    Oficina Central Hispana San Francisco AA N/A (415) 824-1834
    Oficina Central Hispana Costa Norte San Jose AA N/A (408) 287-7205
    Oficina Central Hispana Intergrupal Salinas AA N/A (831) 757-8518
    Oficina Central Norte Santa Rosa AA N/A (707) 623-6702
    Oficina Hispana Del Este De La Los Angeles AA N/A (323) 722-4175
    Oficina Intergrupal Chula Vista AA N/A (619) 476-0288
    Oficina Intergrupal Watsonville AA N/A (831) 768-9597
    Oficina Intergrupal Condado Ve Oxnard AA N/A (805) 988-0329
    Oficina Intergrupal De Orange Santa Ana AA N/A (714) 541-7225
    Oficina Intergrupal Del Este De La Bahia Richmond AA N/A (510) 328-8930
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Fresno AA N/A (559) 266-6752
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana De Alcoholicos Anonimos Del Area de Santa Clara San Jose AA N/A (408) 931-2002
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana del Area de San Mateo Mountainview AA N/A (650) 679-2374
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Del Conadado Notre de San Diego Vista AA N/A (760) 758-6905
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Del Condado De Kern Bakersfield AA N/A (661) 205-0296
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Del Valle De Coachella Indio AA N/A (760) 625-9018
    Oficina Intergrupal Hispana Su Long Beach AA N/A (310) 516-8626
    Oficina Intergrupal Sureste De Ventura Santa Paula AA N/A (805) 525-6140
    Oficina Intergrupal Valle Del Antelope Littlerock AA N/A (661) 944-5147
    Oficina Intergrupo De Chino Pomona AA N/A (909) 629-0493
    Orange County Area NA Orange County Area (Anaheim) NA (714) 590-2388 N/A
    Orange County Central Office Santa Ana AA (714) 556-4555 N/A
    Paradise Intergroup Paradise AA (530) 342-5756 N/A
    Peninsula Area NA Peninsula Area (San Mateo) NA (650) 802-5950 N/A
    River Cities Area NA River Cities Area (Anderson, Red Bluff) NA (877) 669-1669 N/A
    Sacramento Fellowship Area NA Sacramento Fellowship Area (Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Woodland) NA (877) 623-6363 N/A
    Salinas Valley Area Intergroup Salinas AA (831) 424-9874 N/A
    San Diego Central Office San Diego AA (619) 265-8762 N/A
    San Diego Imperial Counties - Spanish NA San Diego Imperial Counties - Spanish NA N/A (619) 546-0774
    San Diego Imperial Counties Region NA San Diego Imperial Counties Region NA (800) 479-0062;(619) 584-1007 N/A
    San Fernando Valley Area NA San Fernando Valley Area (East San Fernando Valley) NA (818) 997-3822 N/A
    San Francisco Area NA San Francisco Area NA (415) 621-8600 N/A
    San Gabriel Valley Area NA San Gabriel Valley Area (Pasadena) NA (626) 584-6910 N/A
    San Gabriel/Pomona Valley Central Office Glendora AA (626) 914-1861 N/A
    San Mateo CO Fellowship Of A.A. San Mateo AA (650) 577-1310 N/A
    Santa Barbara Area NA Santa Barbara Area NA (805) 569-1288 N/A
    Santa Barbara Central Office Santa Barbara AA (805) 962-3332 N/A
    Santa Clara County Intergroup C.O. San Jose AA (408) 374-8511 N/A
    Santa Clarita Area NA Santa Clarita Area (Newhall, Saugus) NA (800) 338-2155 N/A
    Santa Cruz Area NA Santa Cruz Area NA (831) 429-7436 N/A
    Santa Cruz County Intergroup Inc. Soquel AA (831) 475-5782 N/A
    SCV Central Office Of A.A. Santa Clarita AA (661) 250-9922 N/A
    Shasta/Trinity Area NA Shasta/Trinity Area (Redding) NA (877) 669-1669 N/A
    Sierra Foothills Area NA Sierra Foothills Area (Auburn, Placerville) NA (888) 423-3428;(530) 645-1635 N/A
    Sierra Sage Region NA Sierra Sage Region (Mammoth Lakes, Bishop) NA N/A N/A
    Siskiyou Area NA Siskiyou Area (Mt Shasta, Weed, Yreka) NA (530) 925-6616 N/A
    So. Solano County Central Office Benicia AA (707) 745-8822 N/A
    Sonoma County Area NA Sonoma County Area (Santa Rosa) NA (707) 324-4062 N/A
    Sonoma County Intergroup Santa Rosa AA (707) 544-1300;(707) 546-2066;(800) 224-1300 N/A
    South Coast Area NA South Coast Area (San Juan Capistrano) NA (800) 333-3610 N/A
    South Tahoe Basin Area NA South Tahoe Basin Area (Lake Tahoe South) NA (530) 541-4100 N/A
    Southern Antelope Valley Area NA Southern Antelope Valley Area (Palmdale, Lancaster) NA (661) 266-2200 N/A
    Southwest Area NA Southwest Area (Hemet, Temecula, Banning) NA (951) 652-5326 N/A
    Southwestern Riverside County Central Service Office Inc. Temecula AA (951) 695-1535 N/A
    Spanish Speaking for LA NA Spanish Speaking for LA NA N/A (888) 622-4672
    Stanislaus Valley Area NA Stanislaus Valley Area (Modesto, Merced) NA (888) 942-9922;(209) 526-1817 N/A
    Truckee/North Lake Tahoe Basin Area NA Truckee/North Lake Tahoe Basin Area NA (530) 546-1116 N/A
    Tulare County Central Office Exeter AA (559) 592-6999 N/A
    Valle Oficina Central Modesto AA N/A (209) 222-8313
    Valley Service Center Dublin AA (925) 829-0666;(925) 829-3160;(888) 859-3230 N/A
    Ventura County Central Service Office Camarillo AA (805) 389-1444 N/A
    Victor Valley Intergroup Central Office Inc. Apple Valley AA (760) 242-9292 N/A
    West End Area NA West End Area (West San Fernando Valley) NA (818) 787-9706 N/A
    Western Slope Intergroup Placerville AA (530) 622-3500 N/A
    Westside Area NA Westside Area (West Los Angeles, Santa Monica) NA (310) 390-0279 N/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.

    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
    Year Heroin-Induced Deaths Fentanyl-Induced Deaths
    2012 74 12
    2013 89 14
    2014 105 16
    2015 90 21
    2016 91 33
    2017 86 84
    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
    ODs per 10,000 2015
    ODs per 10,000 2016
    ODs per 10,000 2017
    Percentage Change
    Imperial 2.3 2.2 1.2 -47.82%
    Butte 5.5 5.1 4.2 -23.64%
    Alameda 2.2 2.0 2.0 -9.09%
    El Dorado 3.6 4.6 3.3 -8.33%
    Humboldt 7.2 7.6 6.8 -5.55%
    Fresno 3.1 2.9 3.1 0%
    San Diego 2.7 2.8 2.8 +3.70%
    Contra Costa 2.1 2.2 2.2 +4.76%
    Los Angeles 2.0 2.2 2.2 +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.


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


    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
    0-17 18+ All Ages
    Drug-Induced Deaths in San Diego County 30 7,114 7,145
    Alcohol-Induced Deaths in San Diego County 4 7,192 7,196
    Total Deaths in San Diego County 2,850 213,383 216,242
    Percentage of Drug & Alcohol-Induced Deaths in San Diego County 1.19% 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
    Year Homeless Sheltered Unsheltered Homeless Per 1,000 Percentage of Substance Abuse Among Homeless
    2014 8,506 4,521 3,985 6.16 5.42%
    2015 8,742 4,586 4,156 6.29 4.23%
    2016 8,692 3,752 4,940 6.16 2.62%
    2017 9,116 3,495 5,621 6.42 N/A
    2018 4,912 2,282 2,630 3.46 5.23%
    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
    Year Population Traffic-Related Fatalities Percentage of Deceased Drivers with Detectable BAL
    2012 3,179,798 270 31%
    2013 3,216,522 247 23%
    2014 3,256,875 291 21%
    2015 3,290,044 302 36%
    2016 3,317,200 307 40%
    Percent Change +4.32% +13.70% +29.03%

    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.