Is There a Link Between Homelessness and Drug Addiction Crisis in California?

Being homeless might make people turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with their circumstances. This only leads to more problems, as many people who become dependent on substances lose their homes and their jobs. This creates a cycle of homelessness and drug addiction that is hard to escape. Having a loved […]

Being homeless might make people turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with their circumstances. This only leads to more problems, as many people who become dependent on substances lose their homes and their jobs. This creates a cycle of homelessness and drug addiction that is hard to escape. Having a loved one who is going through such struggles might make you feel hopeless. Despite these obstacles, paths to transformation and healing exist, welcoming those seeking to start on a road of recovery and regeneration.

The homelessness and drug addiction crisis in California

The problem of homelessness in California than it is in many other states. Looking at homelessness and drug abuse statistics and findings will help us grasp it better. Even though Californians are only 12% of the total population of the United States, they make up 28% of the nation’s homeless population and 51% of those who are homeless and without a place to live.

A study suggests that many young people start using drugs at an early age, usually before they turn 15. This increases the risk of homelessness in the long term, which shows a connection between homelessness and drug addiction.

homeless person
A common misconception regarding homelessness and drug addiction is that the homeless don’t want to work.

Breaking down stereotypes on drug addiction and homelessness

If you want to be able to truly help a homeless person, you need to be aware of how complicated the situation is. To spread awareness regarding drug abuse and homelessness in particular, let’s explore some misconceptions that will help you better prepare for meaningful support:

  • Homelessness is mainly due to poor choices. You might think that homelessness is the result of bad decisions. However, there are many external factors that cause it, such as economic downturns, unaffordable housing, health crises, and many others. Understanding that being homeless is usually not in people’s hands enables you to be more compassionate.
  • Homeless people don’t want to work. It is only natural that people want to get out of this situation. However, they don’t have clean clothes, the internet, and transportation – all of which are necessary for job hunting.
  • Substance abuse is always the root cause. Although substance abuse is a huge part of the reason some people become homeless, it is not always the root and only cause. Often, it is a symptom of deeper issues, like trauma and mental health disorders.
  • Providing help enables bad behavior. The truth is that giving help such as housing, healthcare, and job support will help everybody solve their housing problem and get their life back.
'Help' written on a cardboard in a shopping cart
Seeking professional support is the best way to help decrease drug abuse and homelessness.

Dual diagnosis and homelessness

In 2022, 21% of those who were homeless—reported suffering from a mental illness. Mental health issues affect how people work, interact with others, and their personal care. This makes it even harder for a person without housing to perform these tasks. Also, managing mental health issues gets extremely difficult when mental health issues become a part of the problem.

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Dual diagnosis treatment

If your loved one has mental health issues along with substance abuse, you need to get them to take part in dual diagnosis treatment. This treatment is the best chance for your loved one to completely heal and fight the mental health issues that cause or come with homelessness and drug abuse. Here is why:

  • Holistic approach: This treatment doesn’t just focus on addiction or mental health separately. It looks at the whole person because healing needs to take both aspects into account.
  • Better understanding and care: In a dual diagnosis program, care providers are experts in both fields. They know how mental health issues can drive substance abuse and the other way around. This helps them adjust their approach to fit the needs of your loved one.
  • Integrated treatment plans: These plans tackle both problems at the same time. This means your loved one won’t have to go through separate treatments for their addiction and mental health issues. This is very helpful because it saves time and is simpler. With such plans, we can manage recovery more successfully.
  • Addresses the root cause: People often use substances to medicate their mental health issues. However, your loved one cannot get to the bottom of their problems without proper examination. That’s why dual diagnosis treatment is very effective. It gets to the root of both problems.
  • Supports long-term recovery: Dual diagnosis will help your loved one decrease the risk of relapse. This is possible because it gives tools and strategies for managing mental health and addiction over the long term. Simply put, it gives your loved one a better chance of a lasting recovery.
  • Comprehensive support: This approach includes therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), alongside holistic methods like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. These therapies work together to help your loved one heal physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Alcoholism and homelessness

Alcoholism and homelessness are closely connected, and the relationship between them can be a vicious cycle. Let’s explore how they’re linked in more detail:

Family influence

Growing up in a family with alcohol problems makes alcoholism and homelessness more likely. This is because alcohol abuse can lead to financial troubles, broken relationships, and a lack of support. This makes it harder for someone to keep a job or a home, which increases the risk of being homeless and drug abuse in the future.

Starting young

Starting to drink heavily at a young age can ruin important life steps, like graduating or getting a good job. This can make it tough for a person to stand on their own, which increases their risk of becoming homeless. Young drinkers often miss out on learning how to handle life’s challenges, which ultimately might lead to homelessness and drug abuse.

Young people drinking together, which causes alcoholism, homelessness and drug addiction in the future
Starting to drink at a young age increases the risk of alcoholism, drug addiction and homelessness.

The cycle of alcoholism and homelessness

Nearly 38% of homeless people struggle with alcohol abuse, and 26% have issues with other drugs, as pointed out by SAMHSA. The cycle between alcoholism and homelessness, just like the cycle between homelessness and drug abuse, is hard to break. Losing a job or home might lead someone to drink more. On the other hand, people who are homeless might drink to cope with their situation. It is easy to get stuck in the cycle which might be impossible to escape without support and professional help.

Effective treatment in California

Detoxification is a common first step in the rehabilitation process. Detox is a fundamental process for eliminating substances from the body, a difficult but necessary phase for those seeking to overcome substance dependence. However, it is vital to note that, while detox can prepare the path for recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, it is part of a broader spectrum of solutions needed to tackle homelessness and drug abuse statistics. Let’s look at the importance of detox for various substances, as well as how it fits into the larger context of support and rehabilitation services.

  • Meth detox
  • Opiate detox
  • Cocaine detox
  • Alcohol detox

Meth detox

Meth, also known as amphetamine, is a highly addictive substance, and common when it comes to drug abuse. It causes intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which makes quitting extremely hard. However, joining our meth detox California can lead to success. Our medical personnel is here to ensure safety and success as they keep an eye on your loved one’s health and treat the symptoms of withdrawal. Moreover, they provide emotional support during detox.

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Detox is a must as it cleans the body from the substance and prepares people for the long process of recovery. Following detox, your loved one will continue therapy and other interventions that will help them solve their homelessness and drug addiction problems.

Opiate detox

Opiates, which cover everything from prescription painkillers to drugs like heroin, are incredibly tough to quit because of how addictive they are. If someone tries to stop, they might go through a really hard time with withdrawal symptoms that can feel awful—things like feeling sick to their stomach, aching all over, and having really strong urges to use again. That’s why your loved needs to enroll in the opiate detox California when they want to start their healing process. We Level Up California gives your loved one a place where they can get medical help and ease the symptoms in a safe setting.

Cocaine detox

When someone stops using cocaine, they frequently experience severe cravings, anxiety, and sadness. Our cocaine detox center in California has a controlled setting where your loved one safely cut off drugs and receive medical attention. We also give emotional assistance to help manage the psychological symptoms of withdrawal.

Alcohol detox

Drinking heavily over a long period can lead to a host of dangers, from damaging your health to affecting your relationships and work life. It can cause liver damage, increase the risk of heart disease, and lead to dependency that disrupts your daily living. And when it comes to the mind, heavy drinking can seriously affect your mental health. One of the questions often asked is: Can alcohol cause delusions? The answer is yes, especially during the withdrawal process. People experiencing severe withdrawal, such as delirium tremens (DTs), may suffer from delusions and hallucinations, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.

Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening, including not just delusions but also DTs and seizures. To manage these symptoms and make detox safer, we use medications like lithium for alcohol withdrawal. Lithium can help ease cravings and stabilize mood swings during detox, making the process more manageable.

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Our approach at We Level Up California

Now you know the dangers of drug addiction and homelessness, how the process of addiction treatment starts and you know that your loved one needs your help. So, how to start? First, do your research. Ask: Are rehab centers near me reliable? What makes a rehab center trustworthy? What do I do to make sure my loved one gets appropriate care?

At We Level Up California, we make sure your loved one gets the right support and tools to get sober and get their life back.

It’s all about the person

Every person’s battle with addiction is unique. That’s why we sit down with your loved one and tailor a treatment plan that fits just right. We listen to their story, understand their challenges, and set goals that resonate with their recovery. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of place. We’re here to provide the specific care and support your loved one needs.

Starting with a clean slate

Detox can be tough, but it’s a necessary first step for dealing with drug addiction and homelessness. Our team is here to make it as comfortable as possible. We will manage withdrawal symptoms and provide constant care. After detox, we start rehabilitation, which includes therapy, educational sessions, and group support to deal with the roots of addiction.

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Special care for tough battles

We know how hard it is to fight against addiction. Our program includes specialized support for harmful substances. We use the latest treatments and strategies to curb cravings and reduce the risk of going back to old habits. Our team has experience and is ready to deal with intense dependencies. We offer the care and expertise needed to face and overcome them.

Beyond treatment

Once recovery is finished, it is not all done. We give your loved one free aftercare services to help them stay on the right path. We provide personal development events and recovery coaching. We design these programs to support your loved one in real life and help them build a fulfilling life and stay sober.

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Help your loved one in the battle against drug abuse and homelessness.

Help your loved one live the life they deserve

If you’re watching someone you care about fighting substance abuse, you should know that there’s hope and help available. Dealing with homelessness and drug addiction is hard, but the right treatment can make a big difference. It’s all about getting the right support, understanding, and care that focuses on the whole person, not just the problem of substance use. We’re here to help solve the issues that come with homelessness and drug abuse. From the first steps of detox to ongoing support and care, our team will give you compassion and help your loved one recover. Don’t wait to seek help. The sooner you reach out, the sooner your loved one can start healing.


California State Auditor – Housing & Homelessness. (2021).

Prevent and End Youth Homelessness in California. (n.d.). State of California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency; California Coalition for Youth .

Mosel, S. (2022, March 14). Substance Abuse & Homelessness: Statistics & Rehab Treatment (A. Sharp, Ed.). American Addiction Centers.

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