In 2015, over 20,000 people in San Diego County were admitted to an adult drug treatment center. Around 8 percent of California residents struggle with addiction, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) reports.
Carlsbad is located on the picturesque Pacific Ocean, south of the city of Los Angeles and north of the city of San Diego. It resides in San Diego County as part of Southern California.
Heroin and methamphetamine are major drugs of concern in San Diego County and Southern California in general. Both of these illegal drugs are commonly trafficked up across the southwest border (SWB) between California and Mexico, which is in close proximity to Carlsbad.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) publishes that close to 90 percent of all the methamphetamine (meth) in the United States comes out of Mexico. Meth is one of the biggest drug threats in Southern California, as indicated by the local San Diego DEA office.
Heroin is also coming out of Mexico into Southern California. Both Mexican meth and heroin are extremely potent, low cost, and highly pure, making them very dangerous.
Fentanyl and synthetic opioids are another emerging drug threat in the San Diego region, appearing in the heroin, meth, and cocaine supply and increasing the risk for overdose due to their high level of potency.
Marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drug abuse are also prevalent substances of abuse in Carlsbad, California.
Drug treatment programs in Carlsbad involve both private and public providers that are overseen by state entities.
Treatment for drug abuse and addiction in California is overseen by individual county mental health departments. For San Diego County, this is the Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Division of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). The BHS Network of Care has 11 county-operated providers, over 300 community partners, and more than 800 fee-for-service treatment providers offering drug abuse and addiction treatment services within San Diego County.
Nonprofit providers often provide care on a sliding scale, depending on what each family can afford to pay for treatment. Public addiction treatment resources are offered to all residents, including those with low-income levels or without insurance. Many providers often accept Medi-Cal insurance, which is California’s Medicaid program for low-income residents.
Private treatment programs are considered fee-for-service programs, and they may accept private health insurance.
There are many resources for drug abuse and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery in Carlsbad and the surrounding area.
According to drug abuse treatment admissions in 2015, meth and heroin are some of the most commonly cited primary drugs of abuse in San Diego County. Both represented around a third of all treatment admissions that year.
Alcohol was second with 20 percent of treatment admissions; marijuana was third with 15 percent; and prescription drugs accounted for 5 percent of treatment admissions. Cocaine represented less than 5 percent of all treatment admissions.
The purity of drugs like meth and heroin is increasing in the Carlsbad and San Diego region. The San Diego Union-Tribune publishes that overdose deaths related to these drugs are rising.
Particularly alarming is the rising trend of fentanyl-involved overdose deaths in San Diego County. In 2017, a record 273 people died from an overdose involving the powerful synthetic opioid. This was an 8 percent increase from the year before.
Fentanyl is more potent than heroin and deadly in lower amounts. It is also commonly used to cut heroin, meth, and cocaine, and it can be virtually undetectable to unknowing drug buyers and users.
Meth is a continual problem in Southern California, Carlsbad, and San Diego County. Close to 80 percent of those arrested in San Diego County in 2017 who were surveyed tested positive for illicit drugs. Among that group, between 55 and 58 percent tested positive for meth specifically. When more than one drug was involved, that number jumped to 90 percent. Nearly all of those surveyed who tested positive for meth indicated that they got the drugs locally in San Diego County.
Overdose deaths involving meth reached record numbers in 2016, as 377 individuals died the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The County News Center publishes that there is a death related to meth every 23 hours in San Diego County.
All indicators for meth use and abuse are on the rise. Meth is dropping in price and increasing in purity, elevating use rates and also the risk for fatal overdose.
Several measures in Carlsbad and Southern California serve to minimize drug abuse, prevent youth drug use, boost access to treatment, improve local treatment resources, and support long-term recovery.
The Methamphetamine Strike Force works to prevent meth abuse, support treatment efforts, and enforce laws against meth trafficking and illegal meth distribution and possession.
Officials of San Diego County are increasing efforts to improve access to drug abuse and addiction treatment for low-income and underserved populations by allocating more funds to the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Treatment Delivery System.
Several prevention efforts in San Diego County strive to minimize youth drug use and educate teenagers on the hazards of these drugs. Since marijuana is now legal for adult recreational use in California, it is increasingly important to educate youth on its potential harm on adolescent and underage brains. The Marijuana Prevention Initiative San Diego County aims to do just that.
In response to the opioid crisis, state officials are also stepping up. The Statewide Opioid Safety (SOS) Workgroup, initiated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), works to reduce prescription drug abuse by educating the public and providers on their hazards, providing information on opioid-alternatives for pain management, instituting safe medication disposal and drop sites, and improving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) methods and programs.
The California Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) CURES 2.0 (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System) tracks the dispensation of controlled substances to minimize potential abuse and diversion.
Unused prescription medications can be safely disposed of at permanent prescription drug take-back kiosks that are attached to local San Diego County Scripps pharmacies. This helps to keep these potentially harmful medications from being diverted and misused.
The City of Carlsbad Safety Center also has a safe drop-off location where prescription medications can be anonymously disposed of during business hours.
Opioid overdoses are often overturned by the medication naloxone. The drug typically requires a prescription, but the state has a standing order that allows the medication to be obtained as needed at any local Carlsbad pharmacy.