CALIFORNIA Smokers' Helpline

Taking A Step Toward Recovery

Welcome to Recovery Wave, the resource page of the County of Santa Cruz Substance Use Disorder Services. We aim to provide you with information, to connect you and your loved ones with care, and to support you in addressing substance use issues of any kind.

We understand that substance use is a complex, multifaceted issue. It may be intertwined with other mental health challenges, trauma, criminal justice involvement, and multigenerational patterns. We treat substance use using a medical model to address a wide range of co-factors, and offer empowering strategies to facilitate change driven by the individual’s goals and circumstances.

Our coordinated care network strives to facilitate compassionate, nonjudgmental, individualized care for each person with respect for their culture and wishes. Utilizing evidence-based strategies, our care providers offer services along a full continuum ranging from early intervention to crisis management. We offer help to those who are considering making changes to their substance use, those who want to make small lifestyle changes to increase wellness, and those who desire support for major life changes. All are welcome!

Self Help Alternatives

Self Help groups are community-based groups that support individuals with personal goals related to reducing and/or ceasing use of substances. Self help groups include a variety of topics and can be both secular and non-secular.

Outpatient Services

Outpatient programs provide substance use disorder (SUD) counseling and services to support individuals who would like to reduce or cease their use of substances. Outpatient programming includes assessment, group counseling, individual counseling, and case management.

Residential Treatment

Residential programs provide substance use disorder (SUD) treatment in designated facilities that offer 24/7 support. Residential programming offers counseling and a variety of services to support individuals who would like to reduce or cease their use of substances. Services include assessment, group counseling, individual counseling, and discharge planning in a supportive living environment.

Withdrawal Management

Withdrawal management programs offer 24/7 residential care to support persons who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from substances. Participants are monitored and may receive medication to ease withdrawal symptoms. Utilizing a harm reduction approach, Substance Use Disorder (SUD) providers work with participants to develop a treatment plan to support participants in meeting their SUD goals.

To find out what types of substance use disorder programs are offered in Santa Cruz, click on the program category links located on the left to see the program providers in each category. Some providers offer services in multiple categories. If you know the name of a specific program or provider you are interested in, enter it in the Google search window to the right and click the search button.

If you or someone you care for has a substance abuse problem and needs help, consider the following steps:

  1. Discuss your situation with a professional alcohol and drug counselor, doctor, therapist or other medical provider to help you determine the severity of your problem along several dimensions, and determine what type of treatment might work best for you. Questions to consider include:
    • Are you likely to have significant withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking/using?
    • How supportive of your sobriety are the people around you?
    • How ready are you to change?
    • What are your risk factors for relapse?
    • Do you have a physical or psychiatric diagnosis that may also need treatment?

The answers to these questions can help you determine if you need an outpatient program, an intensive outpatient or day treatment program, a residential treatment program, or detoxification.

  1. Next, use the resources listed on this website to help you identify programs that might meet your particular needs.
  2. Call the programs that interest you to find out more about how to began treatment with them.
  3. Find out if your insurance provider offers coverage for treatment services. If you don't have adequate coverage, consider applying for Medi-cal which offers SUD treatment coverage.

If you have questions or need further support, please call county's Health Services Agency to answer questions or direct you to other sources of information at (831) 454-HELP.

If you’re unable to pay for treatment you may have the following options:

  1. If you have health insurance, check to see if substance abuse treatment is covered by your policy.
  2. If you are a Medi-cal recipient a wide variety of treatment is covered at no charge to you at select Drug Medi-Cal providers across the county of Santa Cruz.
  3. If you are not eligible for insurance, please contact your provider of interest and discuss payment options with them.

There are many programs to prevent Substance Use Disorders in Santa Cruz County. To get more information, contact the County Alcohol and Drug Program at (831) 454-HELP or the Friday Night Live/Club Live prevention program at (831) 454-LIVE.

Additionally, Santa Cruz County treatment providers offer a variety of Substance Use Disorder treatment services for youth and adults by utilizing early intervention strategies. For more information click on the Youth and Prevention category links located on the left.

All substance use disorder treatment services that were offered prior to COVID-19 are currently being offered. Providers should have COVID-19 related safety protocols in place. Please call each provider that you are interested in to find out more about their specific protocols.

If you don't have the money for treatment, consider the following:

  1. If you have health insurance, check to see if substance abuse treatment is covered by your policy.
  2. Immediately, get involved in a 12 step program. They are supportive, free and can usually help you explore other free recovery options.
  3. Check to see if you qualify for publicly supported treatment—either residential or out-patient. Call the programs listed.
  4. Call the county's Alcohol and Drug Program at (831) 454-HELP and ask to speak to someone who can help with a referral.

There are many programs to prevent alcohol and drug abuse in Santa Cruz County. To get more information, contact the County Alcohol and Drug Program at (831) 454-HELP or the Friday Night Live/Club Live prevention program at (831) 454-LIVE.

Keep an eye out for early signs of risk that may predict later drug or alcohol abuse. Some signs of risk can be seen as early as infancy or early childhood, such as aggressive behavior, lack of self-control, or difficult temperament. As children get older, troubled interactions within the family, at school, and within the community affect their risk for later drug abuse.

Families can provide protection from later alcohol and drug abuse when there is:

  • a strong bond between children and parents;
  • parental involvement in the child's life; and
  • clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline.

Interactions outside the family involve risks for both children and adolescents, such as:

  • poor classroom behavior or social skills;
  • academic failure; and
  • association with alcohol or drug-abusing peers.

The most immediate drug abuse risk for adolescents is association with drinking and/or drug-abusing friends. Other factors—such as drug availability, trafficking patterns, and beliefs that drug abuse is generally tolerated—are risks that can influence young people to start abusing alcohol or drugs.

Research has shown that the key risk periods for drug abuse are during major transitions in children's lives. The first big transition for children is when they leave the security of the family and enter school. Later, when they advance from elementary school to middle school, they often experience new academic and social situations, such as learning to get along with a wider group of peers. It is at this stage—early adolescence—that children are likely to encounter drugs for the first time. When they enter high school, adolescents face additional social, emotional, and educational challenges. At the same time, they may be exposed to greater availability of drugs, drug abusers, and social activities involving drugs.

These challenges increase the risk that they will abuse alcohol, tobacco, and other substances. Some of the community services committed to the reduction of risk through education, role modeling and the development of healthy alternatives along with resources supporting prevention can be found under the following categories: Prevention Services, Youth Services, Family Self-Help Support and Education Resources.

CALIFORNIA Smokers' Helpline
& Answers
  • What types of substance use disorder programs are offered in Santa Cruz County?
  • How do I know which program is best for me?
  • What if I’m unable to pay for treatment ?
  • Are there services to prevent Substance Use Disorders?
  • What substance use disorder services are being offered during COVID-19?
Referral resource information on this website is provided as a courtesy to the public and does not imply endorsement of the providers or services by the County or the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission.