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La Mesa - Drug Abuse Statistics and Local Treatment Guide

In the state of California, drug abuse treatment resources are provided on a local level based on the county of residence. In the case of La Mesa, which is located in San Diego County, residents seeking care will go through the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Division, which acts as the local County Mental Health Department that oversees mental health and drug abuse treatment services. Drug abuse treatment is typically broken down into four main areas of care:


1. Prevention
2. Intervention and crisis support
3. Treatment services
4. Recovery support


These services are provided through federal and statewide initiatives, campaigns, and funding as well as on a local level by nonprofit, private, and community-based providers. Since La Mesa is located in Southern California, its proximity to Mexico and the Southwest Border (SWB) enhances the presence of drugs, such as methamphetamine (meth), fentanyl, and black tar heroin. Drug abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services attempt to focus on areas of local concern, which in La Mesa and San Diego County primarily include stimulants and opioids.

Further Reading

hands joined in a circle

Local Resources for Drug Abuse in La Mesa


Residents of La Mesa can choose from public and private drug abuse treatment services. Public services are often low-cost or free, and they are open to low-income and eligible residents. The California Medicaid program, called Medi-Cal, provides insurance to individuals who may not be able to afford it on their own, and many public treatment providers in La Mesa accept Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Private, or fee-for-service, drug abuse treatment providers work with families to provide individualized care. They often help families set up payment plans and navigate the use of private insurance to pay for services.

BHS contracts with 11 county-operated providers, over 300 community partners, and around 800 fee-for-service treatment providers in San Diego County through a comprehensive network of care. For more information on getting help for drug abuse and addiction in La Mesa, there are various resources available.


Prevention programs


SAY (Social Advocates for Youth) San Diego: This nonprofit organization educates and strengthens the local community with drug abuse prevention measures and programs geared toward youth.
Live Well San Diego: This initiative promotes healthy communities and is supported by the San Diego HSSA and BHS.
San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force: This group works to reduce prescription drug abuse by educating the public and providers on safe practices, and hosting prevention programs for teens and treatment resources for locals.
San Diego County Friday Night Live: This prevention program, aimed at local students, promotes leadership opportunities and healthy lifestyle choices.
Marijuana Prevention Initiative San Diego County: This initiative aims to minimize teenage marijuana use in local communities.
Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego: This group influences policy regarding teen drinking and pinpoints harmful underage drinking behaviors.


Crisis and intervention services


Access and Crisis Line: This helpline provides immediate assistance for drug abuse and mental health concerns as well as information on local resources.
211 San Diego: This nonprofit organization provides crisis support in the moment and connects residents with local services.


Treatment information


HHSA Service Directory: This directory provides information on local providers through the BHS Network of Care.
Adult/Older Adult Mental Health Outpatient Clinics: This list includes information on local providers offering services to low-income residents without insurance and/or beneficiaries of Medi-Cal.
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator: This national web-based tool provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) connects people with local resources by location and type of service.
Fee-for-Service Provider Directory: This listing of providers offering local drug abuse treatment services in San Diego County is separated by region.
San Diego County Meth Strike Force: This group offers information on where and how to get help for meth abuse and addiction locally.
It's Up to Us San Diego (Up2SD): This organization strives to reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues and provides resources for locals to get help.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Patient Referral Directory: This list features resources for finding local programs participating in MAT for opioid addiction.


Recovery support


San Diego Imperial Counties Region of Narcotics Anonymous (NA): This 12-step program has local meetings that offer peer support in recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) San Diego County: This organization offers local meetings for peer support and 12-step programming.
San Diego Crystal Meth Anonymous (SD CMA): This group supports meth addiction recovery through peer interactions, 12-step meetings, and local events.
SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) Recovery San Diego: This recovery support program offers local meetings to enhance abstinence in recovery.

heroin needle and drugs

Patterns of Drug Use in La Mesa


Methamphetamine is a major drug of concern in California. The 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment published by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that about 70 percent of all of the meth seized by law enforcement in the United States in 2015 was in the Golden State. Meth is a powerful stimulant drug that influences local crime rates. The local DEA field office in San Diego reports meth availability as being high, rising, and a big public health threat in the region.

Abuse of meth and deaths related to the potent stimulant have increased in the San Diego area over the past several years, per the San Diego Union-Tribune. Production in the last decade has mostly shifted across the border to Mexico since the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) of 2005 made it harder to obtain the over-the-counter components used to make meth. Meth is produced in other countries where pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are easier to obtain. It is then brought up into the United States across the SWB and into Southern California to be disseminated throughout the country.
Black tar heroin also makes its way up into La Mesa and Southern California across the SWB from Mexico, and it is the heroin of choice in the region. In California, opioid overdose deaths are lower than the rest of the United States; however, the Statewide Opioid Safety (SOS) Workgroup reports that opioid overdose fatalities in San Diego County are higher than state averages. The California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard shows that in 2017, opioid overdose death rates were 7.8 residents per 100,000 people while the statewide opioid overdose fatality rate in 2016 was 4.9 residents per 100,000 people; this is still lower than the national average of 13.3 opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2016, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). There were 285 opioid-related overdose deaths in San Diego County in 2017.

Much of the reason for the rising death rates in Southern California and within San Diego County can be attributed to the influx of potent synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanil, coming up across the border from Mexico and making their way into cocaine, meth, heroin (as the designer drug China White), and ketamine, the Los Angeles Times warns.

According to the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force's 2016 RX Report Card, of the 15,177 people admitted to a drug abuse treatment program in San Diego County in 2015, close to 30 percent cited heroin or meth as their primary drug of abuse. Alcohol was third, making up close to 20 percent of all treatment admissions. Marijuana accounted for around 15 percent, pain medications just under 5 percent, and cocaine less than 5 percent of all drug abuse treatment admissions that year.

community joining hands

Government and Community Actions Regarding Drug Use


California has received over $50 million in federal grant funding to tackle the rising tide of opioid abuse in the state. A good portion of these funds has gone to improving data collection and the prescription drug monitoring program (CURES 2.0 – Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System), prevention efforts at the county level, and the establishment of the California Hub & Spoke System (CA H&SS) to improve local access to treatment services. By keeping track of opioid prescription rates, overdose deaths, and opioid abuse trends, local communities can focus their efforts on minimizing them.

Local first responders, schools, and even La Mesa residents have the ability to obtain the opioid antagonist drug naloxone, which can be instrumental in saving a life related to an opioid overdose. They can get the drug through a standing order that allows people to obtain the medication at a local pharmacy without a prescription.

Good Samaritan law protect citizens from liability when attempting to reverse an opioid overdose or when reporting one in California. There are also several prescription drug drop boxes in San Diego County hosted by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department where citizens can safely get rid of unused prescription medications to keep them from being abused or diverted.
Drug abuse on a community level is often addressed through local prevention measures that aim to reduce drug use and therefore promote healthy communities. Many of these programs are focused on educational measures to let the public know of the dangers of drugs and misuse of medications. Prevention programs regularly target youth and adolescents, such as the San Diego County Friday Night Live program, the Marijuana Prevention Initiative San Diego County, and the Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego. These programs aim to enhance leadership skills within San Diego County youth while working to reduce underage drinking and teenage drug use.

The local community of La Mesa provides numerous opportunities for its residents to get quality drug abuse and addiction treatment via many public and private resources.

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References

Behavioral Health Services (BHS). San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency.


Mental Health Services - Individuals. (2018). California Department of Health Care Services.


Medi-Cal. (2007). California Department of Health Care Services.


Behavioral Health Services Overview. (2018). Network of Care.


SAY San Diego. (2018). SAY San Diego Social Advocates for Youth.


Live Well San Diego. (2018). Live Well San Diego.


Addiction Help. (2018). San Diego Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.


San Diego County Friday Night Live Partnership. (2018). San Diego County Office of Education.


MPI: Reducing Underage Use of Marijuana. (2018). Center for Community Research (CCR).


Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego. Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County.


Access & Crisis Line. It's Up to Us San Diego.


211 San Diego. (2018). 211 San Diego.


Find Services. (2018). Network of Care.


Adult/Older Adult Mental Health Outpatient Clinics. (July 2018). San Diego HHSA.


Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency Behavioral Health Fee for Services Provider Directory. (August 2018). San Diego HHSA.


Getting Help. (2018). San Diego County Methamphetamine Strike Force.


It's Up to Us. Up2SD.


Medication Assisted Treatment Patient Referral Directory. San Diego County Meth Strike Force.


San Diego Imperial Counties Region of Narcotics Anonymous (NA). San Diego Imperial Counties Region of NA.


Welcome to AA San Diego County. (2002). Alcoholics Anonymous San Diego County.


San Diego Crystal Meth Anonymous. (2018). San Diego CMA Intergroup.


Welcome to SMART Recovery San Diego. (2018). SMART Recovery San Diego.


2016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary. (November 2016). Drug Enforcement Administration.


Potency, Purity of Drugs Reaching Even Higher and Deadlier Levels. (November 2017). San Diego Union-Tribune.


CMEA (Combat Methamphetamine Act of 2005). (May 2006). Drug Enforcement Administration.


San Diego Numbers at a Glance. CA Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard.


Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths. (March 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.


A Dangerous Opioid is Killing People in California. It's Starting to Show Up in Cocaine and Meth. (May 2018). Los Angeles Times.


2016 RX Report Card. (October 2016). San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.


Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System. (2018). State of California Department of Justice.


CA Hub & Spoke System. (2018). California Department of Health Care Services.


California Confronts Opioid Addiction, an 'Epidemic of Despair.' (November 2017). Daily News.


Statewide Standing Order for Naloxone. (September 2018). California Department of Public Health.


Assembly Bill No. 635. (October 2013). California Legislative Council.


Prescription Drug Drop Boxes. (2018). San Diego County Sheriff's Department.


San Diego County Friday Night Live Partnership. (2018). San Diego County Office of Education.


MPI: Reducing Underage Use of Marijuana. (2018). Center for Community Research (CCR).


Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego. Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County.