Dear LazyCrazyWeb

Does anyone know of a substance abuse treatment program affordable for someone without medical insurance or very much cash? Specifically, one for someone who needs to get off benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, etc.) and needs a medically supervised program to do so. I’m pretty ignorant about the options in this case but you’re the Internet and you know more than I do.

No, this isn’t for me. And I’m not going to gossip about who it’s for, either, so shush. 🙂

Ideally the location would be Southern California but relocation within the U.S. for treatment is also a possibility.

23 thoughts on “Dear LazyCrazyWeb

  1. The “without medical insurance” part should mean that there are nonprofits willing to help out. What they are, I’m not sure, but I bet a call to the local public mental health clinic might yield an answer/referral.

  2. “Medically supervised” is a toughie, because what pretty much any government program (or insurer/HMO whatever, for that matter) is going to do is stick this person into a 12-step program, because it’s cheap for the precise reason that no expensive medical personnel are required. And really, you can just do that yourself.
    Has this person been taking stuff that wasn’t prescribed to him/her? Because if it was prescribed, the dispensing shrink may be the best resource for actual supervised medical care for kicking the stuff. Otherwise, dunno…if I were in that position, I might try to seek help for related psychological problems and only ‘fess up to the drug abuse later. You might still get stuck in a room full of gabby addicts, but on the way there, you might get some real help, too.
    Just a suggestion. (Rhetorical “yous,” in case that needs to be said.)

      1. There are likely places in SoCal indigent, poor and uninsured people can commit themselves to for detox. That’s a pretty serious thing to do, though, no matter how you go about it, and I doubt the government-funded version is going to be very pretty. Sorry to come off so negative about the whole thing, but your friend’s in a hideously tough spot. At the very least, you both might want to check out some stuff about kicking benzos on your own, stuff that can help you ride it out, etc., on drug-friendly sites like Erowid.org.

      2. Yup, that’s known. I can’t go into all the details to preserve anonymity, but none of that is news. I did find some useful internet resources already. Thanks!

  3. the Internet also knows more than I!
    I toddled over to one of my most favoritest websites in the known universe, Crazy Meds!, just to see if there was some info about getting off benzos in general. While there I found something sort of unnerving about when and if a person has to quit anticonvulsants/mood stabilizers (especially if that person is also on an anti-depressant such as, say, Wellbutrin), but that’s another story.
    Anyhoo, this is what it said:
    6. Abrupt discontinuation of high doses of benzodiazepines can lead to seizures in addition to dysphoria, insomnia, muscle cramps, vomiting and sweating. If you do wind up taking them daily for longer than four weeks and don’t build up a tolerance and don’t abuse them, be sure to refill your prescription a few days before running out, just in case something happens to prevent you from getting that refill when you do run out. Otherwise a normal discontinuation schedule is usually all it takes to safely and painlessly withdrawal from benzodiazepines. There’s just one proviso – you can only discontinue from Xanax (alprazolam) using Xanax. All other benzos are interchangeable for purposes of discontinuation, but not Xanax. It figures that Xanax is the most addictive of them all.
    No, this is not a medical website, but it’s a fantastic resource by and for people who have had to be on every med under the sun. So for what it’s worth… depending on the severity of the addiction, I don’t know that a twelve-step will work as well here. I’ll keep asking the innarnet, in the meantime.

      1. Re: the Internet also knows more than I!
        I love that site in general. Also, funny. Especially what it says about Depakote because OMG SO TRUE.
        The msg boards are often helpful as well.

  4. On another note, and no this doesn’t surprise me, but wow are there a lot of drug/alcohol treatment facilities in Newport/Laguna. All $$$ though. I keep looking.

    1. The worst part is that a large number of those are “Sober Living Houses” with the quote marks indicating irony because they’re just a loophole to get around the occupancy limit, and they’re full of idiot party animals who are not at all sober.

  5. You might be asking for something that doesn’t exist. There is very little supervised medical treatment for the mental health a category in to which (addiction, especially to benzos, certainly falls) needs of the uninsured, unless one is a clear and present danger to society.
    I know this because this is my own personal story. Catholic Charities will be your best chance, but… in SoCal… it means group therapy with Meth Heads, or maybe independent sessions with some aging jaded hippie whose education is a 30 year old sociology degree from Arizona State.
    My point is that it is going to take determination and desire, because even the process of finding help can be demoralizing.
    Kicking klonopin was the scariest most horrible time of my life. I went from episodic schizophrenia to full-blown ranting shrieking paranoia. It took 4 months of shakes, visions, nightmares, a lack of ability to sleep, heightened skin sensitivity.
    And the truth is you do it alone, anyway. You kick addiction alone. You could have the best doc in the world, the best family, and it doesn’t matter. Only the addict can live through the withdrawal and recovery and very little can help with that. It’s about will, and that can’t be begged borrowed or stolen.

    1. Right. I kept this question pretty specific to preserve anonymity but that’s all familiar territory here. Will check into your suggestions.

  6. take 2
    You might be asking for something that doesn’t exist. There is very little supervised medical treatment for the mental health needs (a category in to which (addiction, especially to benzos, certainly falls) of the uninsured, unless one is a clear and present danger to society.
    I know this because this is my own personal story. Catholic Charities will be your best chance, but… in SoCal… it means group therapy with Meth Heads, or maybe independent sessions with some aging jaded hippie whose education is a 30 year old sociology degree from Arizona State.
    My point is that it is going to take determination and desire, because even the process of finding help can be demoralizing.
    Kicking klonopin was the scariest most horrible time of my life. I went from episodic schizophrenia to full-blown ranting shrieking paranoia. It took 4 months of shakes, visions, nightmares, a lack of ability to sleep, heightened skin sensitivity.
    And the truth is you do it alone, anyway. You kick addiction alone. You could have the best doc in the world, the best family, and it doesn’t matter. Only the addict can live through the withdrawal and recovery and very little can help with that. It’s about will, and that can’t be begged borrowed or stolen.

  7. Your local United Way (possibly can call 211, if your city uses that) should be able to refer to an organization that can help or give you a list of places that can.
    Good luck to your friend. That’s a nasty addiction to recover from.

  8. The Mental health agency in Westminster would be a good place for him/her to start. I think it’s on beach blvd right after it turns from HB to Westminster.
    The gave me the help I needed for FREE, I really can’t say enough good things about the people that work there.

  9. God. If it were near where I am, I could so hook your friend up. I know all of the local A&D and supervised detox places in my neck of the woods; but they are all local. Fortunately, a lot of them are free and no/low cost. If your friend doesn’t have enough money to do supervised treatment I have no idea how you would fed ex them to Portland, but if they do wander this way, I can point them in many right directions.
    Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

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