In a list of more than 500 treatment programs in a 50-mile radius centered in Los Angeles, more than 60 of treatment centers are in Los Angeles itself. This can be misleading, because, unlike other large cities in the United States, the city of Los Angeles is a hard location to pinpoint. It spreads out into other locations and other areas, looking more like a multilegged spider than a metropolis. If you spread the search out to 100 miles around the center of Los Angeles, there are more than 600 treatment programs listed.
Given that many treatment programs in such a small area, what could some of the differences be? Well, for starters, Southern California is known for several things: ideal weather most of the year, beaches, movie stars and fancy cars and other stereotypes of the California lifestyle. Along with those images come those of the movie, TV and music personalities who become famous (infamous?) for their lives of excess and embarrassing publicity around that excess.
It seems that many of them will land in California treatment programs at one time or another. The number of high-end centers in Malibu is around 12. However, most in the treatment field know there are others. Some private, exclusive agencies do not advertise or list themselves anywhere. These are usually the places for the celebrity crowd or elite.
For the rest of the crowd, treatment may run the gamut of low-income, subsidized beds in residential centers such as the Salvation Army in inner cities across the country to private rooms and board in the high-end facilities catering to the very wealthy and private at $90,000.00 per month. There are inpatient, residential services for those who have the means or the insurance package to cover these services and outpatient, either intensive or not, for the same crowds. Others may find help in the downtown Los Angeles mission district, where soup kitchens and homeless services are offered to those who are less fortunate and without other resources.
Many people come to California from other parts of the country for various reasons. Most often, the weather is an incentive, and the same is true for rehab. Why spend the winter in a cold, snowy climate in winter when rehab is the plan for a month or two? For a bit more travel money, a nice climate change to Los Angeles beach areas or Palm Springs can be a great break in the routine. This is especially true when the routine is one of cycling through the ravages of drug and/or alcohol addiction.
Beginning in the 1980s, Southern California became a mecca for treatment seekers with the opening of a treatment program in the Palm Springs area run by the wife of a former president whose public recovery from addiction to pain pills was front-page headline news. Always a popular spot for vacationers and retirement, Southern California offers a wide variety of treatment and an array of programs serving everyone.