Plan would triple county spending on addiction treatment

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County is looking to triple local and federal spending on addiction treatment from $54.6 million to $179.6 million, officials announced Monday.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is set to vote on a Substance Use Disorders Treatment Delivery System aimed at assisting low-income residents facing addiction in addressing the systemic damage the disease inflicts on them, their families and their communities.

The move comes amid a rise in deaths attributed to addiction, which is closely linked to other mental illnesses and homelessness, county officials said at a Monday news conference.

The additional funding would expand the county's existing provider network of case managers, counselors and residential recovery facilities and increase the number of residents served. The increase in funding represents local spending as well as federal grants.

"With more tools in the toolbox and better connections between providers, this means clients will experience more effective services and a better chance at recovery," said Alfredo Aguirre of the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Supervisor Greg Cox termed the program a "big, bold step."

Methamphetamine was the number-one cause of drug-related deaths in San Diego County and was at an all-time high in 2016, according to the medical examiner's office. Other leading factors in drug-related deaths were opiates, benzodiazepines and alcohol.

Scott Silverman is happy that the County is being proactive. That's because he is an expert in substance abuse in more ways than one.

“Long term recovery actually just went past 33 years,” said founder of Confidential Recovery, Scott Silverman.

The long term recovering addict is also the founder of Confidential Recovery an outpatient addiction treatment facility.

“So I come into this addiction field now with a whole different perspective compassion and empathy for those that have this issue around addiction and substance abuse and have problems with how to cope and how to get help,” said Silverman.

According Silverman, the problem is growning. In 2016 there were more than 500 unintentional drug or alcohol deaths in San Diego County and the number is on the rise reaching pandemic proportions.

"Look at all the prescription drugs that people are taking, I call them the accidental addict, those are people who are from all over the place… You know, moms, dads, grandpas, aunts and uncles, sisters, brothers so it’s impacting all of us as you said, more than we all really, really know,” said Silverman. "I mean think about it if you’re sleeping on the streets in urine soaked pants sleeping on the concrete you’re going to self medicate more than likely but by giving them options, opportunities and having wrap around services right here in the county it’s always kind of had but now they’re really going to embrace to be able to put some resources towards it, and to me resources isn’t just money it’s time and talent."

If you need help with addiction contact Confidential Recovery https://www.confidentialrecovery.com/