Collection of Medium to Small Cities in California
The state of California is vast, containing several large metropolitan areas as well as many more medium and small cities across its varied and extensive landscape on the West Coast of the United States. California borders Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, with multiple international airports, interstate and intrastate highways, and several busy seaports, making it a prime candidate for drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) to move drugs in and out of the area. California also has a large agricultural region and many rural areas that may be conducive to illicit drug manufacturing or production as well.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have designated four High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) within California:
- Los Angeles County HIDTA
- Central Valley HIDTA
- Northern California HIDTA
- Southwest Border HIDTA (SW San Diego/Imperial region) 
Each of these HIDTAs contain several counties and multiple cities, and all may have different localized drug concerns. Drug access promotes abuse, and abuse may lead to addiction. Substance abuse and mental health concerns, including mental illness, often co-occur and therefore contribute to a region’s overall health. Mental health and substance abuse issues are generally treated by public programs run by the local county that may be free or low-cost, or fee-for-service facilities, which are private programs that may be more comprehensive. Each local county will have a specific mental health or behavioral health services department set up to provide resources on treatment programs within the community and cities in the region.
The Northern California HIDTA includes the counties of Lake, Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, Monterey, San Francisco, Mendocino, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara. It ranges from the northern border of the state down through the San Francisco Bay Area and from the Pacific Ocean to the eastern border of California. Some of the biggest drug threats in Northern California are methamphetamine and marijuana, as they may be cultivated, produced, and trafficked throughout the region by Mexican DTOs on their way up into the Pacific Northwest, other regions of the country, and even into Canada. Medium to small cities in the Northern California HIDTA include:
Central Valley California (CVC)
The Central Valley region encompasses many rural, prime agricultural sites, and national forest lands. Cannabis cultivation, marijuana production, and methamphetamine distribution and production remain top drug threats in the CVC HIDTA. Heroin abuse and dependency in the region are on the rise as well. In Kern County, treatment admissions to substances abuse programs saw a jump of more than 500 admissions from 2012 to 2014. The CVC HIDTA includes Kern, Merced, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Shasta, San Joaquin, and Tulare Counties.
Los Angeles County HIDTA
The Los Angeles (LA) County HIDTA includes not only the major city of Los Angeles with its massive seaport and international airports, but also the counties of Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside. The most problematic drugs in the LA County region are marijuana, alcohol, heroin, and methamphetamine, as Mexican drug cartels and DTOs use this region to move large quantities of drugs into the US by land, sea, or air. Methamphetamine indicators are quickly rising in this region, as reports on seized drugs by National Forensic Laboratory Information Systems (NFLIS) labs increased in 2013, and meth was the number one drug analyzed in LA County for the 2013 calendar year (CY). Cities in LA County include Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Burbank, Compton, Redondo Beach, Inglewood, and West Hollywood, to name a few.
Southern California and the Southwest Border Area
Southern California contains the border between the US and Mexico, and this proximity may make the area more prone to illegal drug trafficking and a high presence of Mexican drug cartels and DTOs operating in the region. There exists a partnership between the Southwest Border HIDTA and the California Border Alliance Group (CBAC) that strives to combat drug smuggling and its respective issues in the border region. Despite this, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana may routinely make their way up across the border and into Southern California.
Local production of meth and cultivation of cannabis plants for marijuana production may be prevalent in this area of the country. In cities, such as Chula Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Escondido within San Diego County, meth may be the biggest health concern, with substance abuse treatments reaching 29 percent of all treatment admissions in the first half of 2012, an increase of 4 percent since the same time in the past year. Heroin treatment admissions were a close second at 24 percent and also increased in the first six months of 2013 as compared to prior years.
Mental illness, addiction, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders are major health concerns throughout the state of California. There are many viable options for rehab and recovery throughout this large state to improve the health of residents. Recognizing the benefits of a substance abuse or mental health program is the first step, and family support can be very helpful as well.
Both private and public treatment options may provide numerous treatment programs, and many accept Medi-Cal recipients or private insurance payments. In the long run, substance abuse and mental health programs can save individuals and families money and improve overall quality of life for everyone involved. A mental health and drug abuse assessment will often be done early on in order to find the right level of treatment program, as no two people will need the same treatment at the same time.
Check with the local county’s mental health, behavioral health, or substance abuse services division in order to find local public, community, nonprofit, and contracted private treatment resources.
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