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Every large and sprawling metropolis in the U.S., from the downtown on out to the most distant suburbs, has a serious and ongoing drug and alcohol addiction problem, especially with the nation currently enduring the opioid crisis and record numbers of fatal drug overdoses, and the city of Phoenix, the state capital of Arizona, is no different.

Geographically, the Phoenix metropolitan area, known as the “Valley of the Sun,” is easily the largest city in Arizona, and is the fifth most populous city in the U.S. Its sheer size, however, also makes it a prime targeted location for illicit drug traffickers, either in-state, from neighboring U.S. states, or, because of its proximity to the national southern border, from the powerful Mexican drug cartels.

With recreational drug use comes abuse, addiction and, as we witnessed so tragically in 2020, possible fatal overdose. Again, Phoenix, like the rest of Arizona, is no different. Phoenix is situated in Maricopa County, a county exceptionally hard-hit by these fatal drug overdoses during 2020, the majority of which were opioid-related, at a volume nearly double that of the previous year.

Remembering that 2019 was already a record year in itself for drug overdose mortality, and using provisional data from the National Center of Health Statistics, deaths from all drug overdoses in the state of Arizona show a year-on-year increase of 36.5%, compared to a national average in the U.S. of 29.4%.

As you can see from the map below, Arizona is one of the darker toned states in the southwest U.S., with only neighboring California clearly worse for overdose fatalities:

Percentage Change in Predicted 12 Month-Ending Count of U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths, by Jurisdiction: November 2019 to November 2020


Predicted Cases, November 2020: 2,690*

Predicted Cases, November 2019: 1,970

Percentage Change: 36.5%

*Underreported due to incomplete data.

Source: National Center of Health Statistics

Now looking specifically at data for Phoenix and Maricopa County, the percentage change is even worse. 1,752 overdose deaths have now been officially reported in Maricopa County for 2020, with a further 550 cases still under investigation.

That’s a year-on-year increase in fatal drug overdoses of a staggering 61.5%. Once those cases under investigation are officially recorded, there’s the distinct possibility that Maricopa County’s fatal overdose rate has actually doubled from 2019 to 2020.

Fentanyl Testing Strips to Become Legal in Arizona

A new bill – SB 1486 – continues to slowly make its way through the Arizona Senate, which, once it is state law, would legalize fentanyl testing strips – currently classed as “drug paraphernalia.” The strips, easily available in many other U.S. states, tell drug users if a pill or powder or other form of illicit drug is contaminated with fentanyl, thus potentially stopping them from using it and so save their lives.

If ever there was an area of the U.S. that needed further decisive state government action now to combat what amounts to a regional drug overdose crisis, along with effective and easily accessible drug rehab and addiction treatment for its residents, it’s Phoenix, its sprawling metropolis, and the rest of hard-hit Maricopa County.

Phoenix, Arizona: A Modern Illicit Drug Trafficker’s Dream

Phoenix, once dubbed “The Kidnapping Capital of America” by one mainstream media article, along with the rest of Maricopa County, is literally a modern illicit drug trafficker’s dream, situated in an ideal location, experiencing the highest reported drug abuse in the whole of the state, and with opioids, methamphetamine, and alcohol the most abused substances.

According to Cheri Oz, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Phoenix field division, a significant factor in all of this is the cost and availability of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, easily trafficked into a city like Phoenix, and used either alone or as a potent additional ingredient in other illicit drugs like methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.

Fentanyl Now Systematically Being Added to Illicit Drugs Sold in Phoenix

Fentanyl and its analogs, like the even more powerful para-fluorofentanyl, or pFF, are actually cheaper and easier to manufacture than heroin, part of the reason why basic fentanyl is being systematically mixed by the unscrupulous cartels and the home-grown drug gangs into virtually every other illicit substance on the market.

Fentanyl has been found recently by authorities in other opioids, like heroin and counterfeit prescription opioid painkillers such as the notorious “Mexican Oxy” and “M30” pills, counterfeit benzodiazepines like fake Xanax tablets, meth, cocaine, ecstasy, and many, many more, and all readily available on the backstreets of Phoenix.

“[Fentanyl] is a cheap item to have, cheap to purchase, cheap to make. We have accidental addicts and accidental overdoses because people believe that they’re purchasing something else. It’s a horrible price: what it costs your community, what it costs your parents, what it costs your children.”

– Cheri Oz, Special Agent in Charge, Phoenix Field Division, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) released a Data Brief (#406) in April, 2021, which warned of the rising death toll from opioids like fentanyl being mixed with either cocaine or meth, or other psychostimulants. The brief reported that:

  • From 2009 – 2019, the rate of overdose deaths involving both cocaine and opioids increased at a faster pace than the rate of overdose deaths with cocaine but no opioids, and
  • In 2019, 54% of overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, eg. meth, also involved an opioid

Furthermore, according to an official warning from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for Phoenix’s metropolitan area during 2020, as well as other major cities in Arizona, there was a significant increase in the use of carfentanil (an opioid 10,000 times more potent than morphine), and para-fluorofentanyl (pFF) – both of which are highly dangerous substances, even in the smallest doses.

All of this makes Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs a real drug trafficker’s dream – a vibrant and accessible marketplace, in a state located near the Mexican border, with huge, wide open expanses of arid land that’s difficult to police effectively.

Visitors to Arizona Warned to Watch Their Back

However, for virtually all the residents of Phoenix and the rest of Maricopa County, obviously including the families and loved ones of active drug addicts, it is what it is – an absolute living nightmare. Even visitors to the state of Arizona are officially warned to “watch their back…”

Bureau of Land Management warning sign, Interstate 8, south of Phoenix

(diagrammatic representation with exact wording)

A clear example of this are the warning signs posted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) along 60 miles of Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend, a major east-west corridor linking Tucson and Phoenix with San Diego. The signs warn that this is an “active drug and human smuggling area.” The signs begin less than 50 miles south of Phoenix.

Drug Use & Addiction in Phoenix, Arizona: Facts & Statistics

According to the last Metro Brief on “Substance Use and Mental Disorders in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA” (Metropolitan Statistical Area), published by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than half a million residents over the age of 12 had used an illicit drug in the past year. That’s a concerning 16% of the area’s population, especially when the U.S. national average is just 14.7%.


  • 10.7% of people in the MSA reported having used marijuana in the last year.
  • 6.1% of people reported having used prescription painkillers for recreational / non-medical reasons during the past year
  • 23% of people reported having engaged in binge drinking at least once in the previous month
  • Additionally, 326,000 people aged 12 or older are diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD), and co-occurring disorders, where a person has both a drug or alcohol addiction, and, simultaneously, a mental health disorder, has become a real issue in Phoenix
Phoenix Area Drug Use Statistics

Drug Use & Addiction in Arizona State: Facts & Statistics

According to the 2018 Arizona Statewide Prevention Needs Assessment produced for the Arizona Department of Health Services in September, 2018, the rates of the past year use of heroin, cocaine, and opioid-based prescription painkillers were all higher than the U.S. national average. However, Arizonans reported marginally less past year use of marijuana than the total U.S. population – 12.2% to 13.7%.

Prevalence of Past Year Drug Use Among Those 12 and Older in the U.S. and Arizona, 2015-2016

Statistical data from the 2018 assessment also found that among Arizonans aged 12 and older:

  • 50.9% reported they currently use alcohol on a regular basis
  • 22.6% reported regular episodes of binge drinking
  • 12.2% reported using any type of illicit drug
  • 7.4% reported using marijuana recreationally
  • 2.1% reported using cocaine within the last year
  • 0.5% reported using heroin at least once within the last year
State of Arizona Drug Use Statistics

Arizona & the U.S. Opioid Epidemic

Further to the statistics provided above, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports the following rates on opioid use, abuse and overdose in the state of Arizona:

  • In 2018, Arizona doctors wrote 50.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in the state – slightly less than the average rate in the U.S. (51.4 prescriptions)
  • In 2018, there were 1,106 opioid overdose deaths reported in Arizona*, where:
    • 522 deaths involved synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyl
    • 362 deaths involved prescription opioids
    • 352 deaths involved heroin

As we now know from looking at the other statistics in this article, by 2020, Maricopa County, with at least 2,690 deaths by itself, had easily more than doubled the number of fatal opioid overdoses for the entire state in 2018.

Additionally, according to the latest data available from Arizona’s Department of Health Services (ADHS):

  • More than 2 people are still dying every day from opioid-related overdoses in Arizona
  • Between June 15, 2017 – June 11, 2021, there have been approximately 9,640 opioid-related deaths here in Arizona. That’s nearly 10,000 people – their lives destroyed by opioids.

Overview: Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Phoenix

If you type “Arizona” into the SAMHSA’s online “treatment locator” tool, select the “State” option, and select the “Substance Use” service option, you’ll discover that there are 372 recognized substance use treatment facilities, predominantly centered around the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. Nearly half of these 372 facilities are actually situated here in Phoenix’s Maricopa County.

Therefore, if you type “Maricopa County” into the SAMHSA’s online “treatment locator” tool, select the “County” option, and select the “Substance Use” service option, you’ll discover:

  • 166 recognized facilities that provide adult drug and/or alcohol addiction treatment, and, of these
  • 24 recognized facilities that provide child/teen/adolescent addiction treatment

Breaking this number down further by using other search criteria, you’ll find:

  • 43 facilities offer substance detox
  • 12 facilities offer transitional housing, “halfway” housing or sober homes
  • 103 facilities offer telehealth services
  • 28 facilities offer residential (inpatient) rehab, also known as an Inpatient Program (IP)
  • 39 facilities offer day hospital / partial hospitalization treatment, also known as an Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
  • 85 facilities offer intensive outpatient treatment, also known as an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and
  • 146 facilities offer standard outpatient treatment, also known as an Outpatient Program (OP)

Current Prevalence & Locations of Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs in Maricopa County (including Phoenix)

The 3 Most Commonly Abused Drugs in Phoenix

Opioids: Prescriptions, Heroin & Synthetics

However diverse these types of drugs might appear to be at first glance – one authorized by a doctor to be dispensed only by prescription; one punishable by a long-term prison sentence; one made in a laboratory thousands and thousands of miles away from your doctor’s office or your nearest prison cell – they are all undeniably and intrinsically linked together in the endless public health nightmare that is the U.S. opioid epidemic.

In the last few years, Phoenix has become one of the worst affected cities for fatal drug overdoses where at least one opioid has proved to be present. The chronological chain of possible use in our subtitle – prescriptions, to heroin, to synthetic opioids – has been the increasingly dangerous pathway for many adolescents and young adults who sadly overdosed in Maricopa County last year in record numbers.

Here’s why. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s “Prescription Opioids and Heroin Research Report”:

“A study of young, urban injection drug users interviewed in 2008 and 2009 found that 86% had used opioid pain relievers non-medically prior to using heroin, and their initiation into nonmedical use was characterized by three main sources of opioids: family, friends, or personal prescriptions.”

These 3 sources – family, friends and personal prescriptions – are the exact reason why the opioid epidemic has been “enabled” to gradually worsen, and worsen, and worsen. U.S. pharmaceutical companies literally flooded family bathroom cabinets across the nation with these addictive substances, and many millions and millions of these tablets are still sitting there. In fact, it’s the sad reason why there will still be fatal opioid overdoses in the near-future of those adolescents and young people that haven’t actually even used an opioid painkiller yet.

Lastly, in 2019, at least one opioid was found to be present in over half (54%, to be exact) of overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine, another of Phoenix’s favorite “drugs of choice.”

Methamphetamine (commonly known as meth, for short, and “crystal” meth in one of its most common forms, because of its distinctive crystalline appearance) is another powerful central nervous system (CNS) depressant, like opioids and alcohol. The use of meth produces an exceptionally intense and addictive “rush” of euphoria, either through inhalation, snorting, injection, or ingestion, referred to by users as “the flash.”

The only legal form of meth is a prescription medicine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with the brand name Desoxyn. Any other form of meth use, including possession and its manufacture, are strictly illegal, punishable by heavy fines and jail. In fact, Phoenix and the rest of Arizona has some of the toughest laws in the U.S. for illicit drug use.

Phoenix was one of the prime targets of the aptly named “Operation Crystal Shield,” a recent DEA operation which identified the city as a “transportation hub” for methamphetamine distribution. Crystal Shield successfully seized a total of 3,900 pounds of methamphetamine – equivalent to 8.8 million doses of the drug – in Arizona, mostly in Phoenix’s metropolitan area.

Did you know that more than 500 homeless people in metro Phoenix died in the first 9 months of 2020? The tragic deaths, obviously exacerbated by their living conditions, mostly happened to those who were not staying at a shelter at the time of their death, and their bodies were found outside, either in tents, on sidewalks, under freeway tunnels, and in dry river bottoms.

The majority of these fatalities – almost 300 – involved substances, and one of the most common was alcohol; unsurprisingly, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is rife among the U.S. homeless population. Alcohol is also another of the most abused substances in Phoenix, as is the rest of Arizona, whether the user has a roof over their head or not.

Important: Each of these addictive substances – opioids, methamphetamine and alcohol – can result in severe withdrawal symptoms, with possibly life-threatening consequences, if the individual is not medically supervised when they stop their substance use.

Detox in Phoenix: Taking the First Step in Addiction Recovery

Detox, the common name for the process of detoxification, ensures that all harmful toxins, ie. the original addictive substances and any additional substances created by the presence of these addictive substances in the body, are naturally and safely eliminated from the individual. Additionally, detox is the first step in any drug rehab or addiction treatment program for the majority of substance use disorders – here in Phoenix, or anywhere else.

Why Do Addicts Need to Detox First?

The reason for detox is a simple, but extremely necessary one. Halting substance use abruptly will usually result in users experiencing a range of withdrawal symptoms, and potentially, some of these can be dangerous enough to prove fatal. The severity and duration of any withdrawal symptoms, however, depend on the following factors:

  • What substance was being abused?
  • How long did the abuse last?
  • How much of the substance was consumed during daily use?

Many substances have mild withdrawal symptoms, with little risk to the individual who is detoxing. However, certain drugs, such as benzodiazepines and alcohol, can result in a severe or life-threatening withdrawal. In these cases, it is essential that the individual’s detox is being professionally and medically supervised, and those attending can immediately prescribe medications to lessen the impact of symptoms or to deal with any resulting medical emergency.

Drugs That Require Detox

Is Opioid Withdrawal Dangerous?

In short, the answer to this question would be: Not really, compared to other substances. However, it can still be extremely uncomfortable if attempted without medical supervision in a professional drug detox. Withdrawal from the strongest opioids, such as fentanyl and heroin, although rarely fatal, is still very severe, and unless the individual is detoxing with medical supervision, the likelihood is they will resume use of the opioid to alleviate the harsh symptoms they are experiencing.

Typical withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from opioids, which begin within the first 24 hours after the last use of the drug, can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate

Although these are highly unpleasant, withdrawal symptoms do improve after 72 hours, with a significant decrease in severity after around a week. It is these symptoms that drive many individuals who are not undergoing a structured detox to quickly resume their previous opioid use.

Where Can I Detox in Phoenix?

As we mentioned previously, there are 43 facilities that offer substance detox in Maricopa County. To break this down even further, within a 15 mile radius of Phoenix, there are 32 facilities, and of these:

  • 12 are facilities offering a hospital inpatient detox service (one of these is further classified as a residential rehab), and
  • 20 are facilities offering a outpatient detox service*

*Please remember that a medically-assisted detox is normally 24/7, regardless of the type of program

Important: For reasons of patient safety, it is highly recommended that individuals who have been using illicit drugs like opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine, alcohol, or who have a history of long-term substance abuse are medically detoxed in a professional, accredited addiction treatment facility.

Undergoing an inpatient treatment program, often termed as “drug rehab,” will normally include, as standard, a medically-supervised detox as the initial part of the program. In the case of opioid replacement therapy (where a “substitute” opioid such as methadone is prescribed), this is considered the continuation of a long-term detox process, and normally involves scheduled attendance at an outpatient facility. 

Furthermore, a professional detox should also concentrate on improving patient nutrition and, later, the patient’s fitness levels through exercise, as the preferred holistic approach to early recovery.

Drug Rehab Treatment Programs in Phoenix

As we saw earlier with the SAMHSA’s online “treatment locator” tool, there are numerous addiction treatment options available to Phoenix residents who want to seek professional help for their drug use – currently 166, to be precise. However, regardless of your preferred choice of drug treatment, whichever program you choose should be based upon recognized evidence-based treatments, which include (as a minimum):

  • Drug Detoxification / Detox
  • Regular Individual Counseling Sessions
  • Group Therapy & Support
  • Relapse Prevention

Please be guided in your choice by your family physician or professional addiction experts, as they will consider certain factors that you may not, such as:

  • Your drug of choice
  • Your history of drug use
  • Your personal circumstances, and
  • Any previous attempts to stop your drug use

For many people seeking addiction recovery, cost may well prove to be a critical factor in the final decision, but you should always try to find the treatment program that gives you the very best chance of a successful recovery.

These are the main drug rehab treatment options available here in metro Phoenix, and their respective benefits and disadvantages:

1. Inpatient Program (IP)

Known as “residential rehab” because patients will be living 24/7 at the facility, an inpatient program (IP) is recommended for those with severe or long-term substance addictions, and for those who have co-occurring disorder, also known as dual diagnosis, meaning that they also suffer with a mental health disorder.

Being resident within a drug rehab offering continuous care helps enormously in focusing individuals on the task in hand – to stop their drug use, to learn how to live substance-free, and to get healthy. IPs can either be short or long term, anywhere between 28 days to a whole year and beyond, and often lead to a continuation in treatment, such as an outpatient program (OP).

Advantages of IP (Residential Rehab)

Disadvantages of IP (Residential Rehab)

  • Highest success rate of all programs
  • Expensive without health insurance
  • Structured day and 24/7 care
  • Rigid daily structure / programming
  • Complete focus on recovery
  • Separated from home, family, and friends
  • Removal of any relapse triggers / outside influences
  • Unable to work / continue with obligations, eg. childcare or academic study
  • Individual counseling
  • Limited access to the outside world
  • Group support / community of peers
  • Evidence-based addiction therapies

2. Partial-Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial-hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient programs are, fundamentally, outpatient programs, only differentiated by their level of intensity, which in practical terms means the number of hours per week that the individual needs to be in a position to receive their treatment.

Partial-hospitalization programs (PHP), an addiction treatment program that is offered right here at SpringBoard Recovery, is basically one step down from a 24/7 residential rehab, providing a highly-structured environment for up to 6-8 hours a day, as patients continue to reside either at home or in sober-living housing – secure, drug-free accommodation also offered here at SpringBoard Recovery.

PHPs allow clients transitioning from an IP or a detox program to move into a more flexible program that still offers a high level of structure and support.

3. Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are addiction treatment programs that do not require detoxification (although this may have happened prior to the IOP starting) or round-the-clock medical supervision. IOPs enable patients to continue with their normal, day-to-day lives in a way that residential IPs do not; however, they do require individuals to undergo treatment for more hours per day or week than a traditional outpatient program (OP).

IOPs are sometimes used in conjunction with inpatient programs as a way of helping clients to transition seamlessly back into their families and communities, while maintaining the treatment process; for example, to continue counseling, to help establish support mechanisms, to assist with relapse management, and to provide further coping strategies, if needed.

Components of drug treatment

4. Outpatient Program (OP)

Outpatient programs (OPs) involve a regular appointment schedule, spread throughout the week, and usually provide specific therapies, counseling, or group sessions. Because these appointments are spread out, there is a certain amount of flexibility for patients, eg. the allocation of evening and weekend appointments. This allows OP patients to continue with their family obligations, such as childcare, or to continue their work or academic studies.

Traditional OPs typically cost significantly less than an IP, because the level of support is less intensive. However, this means their overall success rate is lower than a full-time residential rehab. Additionally, if it is required, a medically-assisted detox can take place prior to the start of the OP.

Advantages: OP (Outpatient Program)

Disadvantages: OP (Outpatient Program)

  • Structured yet more flexible appointments
  • Less focus on recovery
  • Able to work / continue with obligations, eg. childcare or academic study
  • Same environment as previously / numerous triggers to relapse
  • Covered or inexpensive with good health insurance
  • Less successful when compared to residential rehab (IP)
  • Good success rate
  • Individual counseling
  • Group support / community of peers
  • Evidence-based addiction therapies

5. Alternative Types of Addiction Treatment in Arizona, inc. Free Rehabs

According to a study published on June 29, 2021, in the National Health Statistics Reports, a CDC publication, in 2019, 33.0 million (10.2%, or around 1 in 10) people of all ages were uninsured – this figure includes 32.5 million (12.0%) persons under age 65 years. With so many U.S. residents without any health insurance coverage whatsoever, the need for “free addiction rehab” – whether in Phoenix or in any other major city – is extremely high.

However, it is possible to go to rehab in Phoenix and elsewhere without having to pay any costs whatsoever. Additionally, people who qualify for Medicaid may be eligible for government rehabilitation programs that will be financially covered in full, and there are also grants available through the SAMHSA that are designed to cover the cost of some types of treatment – again, in full.

Additionally (and this applies to anywhere in the U.S., too), you may be able to access state-funded addiction treatment programs – in short, free drug rehab. Here in Arizona, there are a number of these addiction treatment centers (71, to be exact – see below). 

Furthermore, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) also provides the following resources:

  • The OARLine: Opioid Assistance + Referral Line was launched in March 2018 in partnership with Arizona’s Poison and Drug Information Centers. The OARLine (1-888-688-4222) is available for health care clinicians to call for free consultation on patients with complex pain or opioid use disorder, provides information and referrals to the public, and conducts follow-up with people experiencing overdoses
  • Substanceabuse.az.gov – houses Arizona prevention, treatment, and recovery resources
  • Arizona Substance Abuse Prevention Resource Hub
  • Information on AHCCCS 24/7 locations providing opioid treatment services
  • Dump the Drugs AZ provides locations to safely dispose of unneeded medications

Free Rehab / Addiction Services in Phoenix & Maricopa County

Again, according to the SAMHSA’s online “treatment locator” tool, there are 71 recognized facilities providing adult drug and/or alcohol addiction treatment that accept state-financed health plans / grants as payment in Maricopa County. You will need to speak to the Arizona Department of Health Services for the latest information on these.

12-Step & Other Mutual Aid Programs in Phoenix & Maricopa County

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are another option for people in need of addiction help. Additionally, there are Self Management And Recovery Training (SMART) mutual-support groups, self-termed as “science-based, self-empowered addiction recovery.”

Salt River Intergroup: In Phoenix, those who participate in the 12-Step program of either AA or NA are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to the times and the locations of local group meetings – for example, just take a look at the Phoenix AA’s schedule for meetings on any given day to see why. Additionally, the AA in Phoenix has formed its own “central group” called the Salt River Intergroup of AA (as many large urban areas do because of their size), covering the areas of both Phoenix and Scottsdale, which publishes its own newsletter around addiction issues in the city.

However, although free, if either of these is your starting point, your “addiction” or issue should be relatively minor in nature, and certainly not requiring any medical assistance whatsoever, eg. detox, MAT, etc., unless you are using these support groups as part of an overall treatment plan.

How Much Does Drug Rehab Cost in Phoenix?

Financial cost can be a huge factor in whether those with substance use disorders and other related issues actually get the professional treatment they need. For those who have good health insurance coverage, it is likely that the policy will at least cover the cost of an outpatient drug addiction program.

However, for those with poor, short-term or inadequate coverage, the majority of your average U.S. “persons-on-the-street” would certainly find residential drug rehab unaffordable. In fact, according to data from a number of national surveys and studies published by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 20 million U.S. adults (aged 12 and over) require treatment for a substance use disorder; however, only 19% (less than 1 in 5) will actually receive this treatment.

It is worth remembering one vital socio-economic factor in all of this – regardless of the ultimate cost to you of drug rehab or outpatient treatment: The social and financial cost of getting help is far, far less than either the long-term social or monetary cost of a continuing drug addiction.

Here is a guide* to the basic elements of drug addiction treatment and their average costs in Arizona:


Most inpatient rehabs include detox, if required, in the cost of a program. The exact cost of detox can depend on whether it’s part of an inpatient program, and the type of drug addiction being treated. Substances with dangerous withdrawal symptoms require more careful monitoring, making the price higher. Outpatient detox can range from $250 to $800 per day, depending on whether medication(s) need to be administered.

Inpatient Program (IP)

(Residential Rehab)

Rehabs can vary greatly in cost, $5,000 to $60,000 or more, primarily depending on program duration.

Outpatient Program


Outpatient programs for mild to moderate addictions are cheaper than inpatient rehab, with average costs around $3,000 to $10,000 for a three-month OP. However, OPs can cost much more, eg. an OP at a Hazelden Betty Ford facility costs approximately $10,000. The actual cost also depends on how often the client visits the facility each week, and for how long.


The type of treatment and the medications required will affect the cost of any program. However, not everyone requires medication for their type of addiction. Medications are commonly used when treating alcohol or opiate addiction, eg. a year-long methadone treatment for ex-heroin users can cost around $4,700.

Note: *Typical costs are based on those reported by a range of government studies, including a 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Defense, and a small number of individual facilities in and around Phoenix, Arizona. These estimated typical costs are only provided to give a generalized idea of real treatment costs.

Your health insurance plan may cover your recovery at SpringBoard. Verifying your insurance is quick and easy!

Does Health Insurance Cover Drug Rehab Costs in Arizona?

As we mentioned earlier, many people will put off going to rehab because of the costs involved. However, with health insurance, they already have benefits to at least help cover the costs of addiction treatment. The Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010, made it a requirement for everyone in the United States to have health insurance.

But it also did so much more.

Health insurance providers are now bound by law to cover the primary costs of treatment for substance use disorders (SUD). Here’s why:

  • The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, 2008 stipulates that insurance companies cannot discriminate against or deny coverage to individuals with an SUD.
  • In addition to this, the Affordable Care Act, 2010 classified mental health and addiction services as essential health benefits.

Furthermore, if you are concerned about losing your employment because you’re taking time-off to attend addiction treatment, you can relax, too, because there are laws in place to allow you time for treatment and to protect you from any discrimination.

Specifically, various Acts all work together to protect you and your employment status should you wish to seek treatment while remaining actively employed:

How Can I Pay for Drug Rehab in Arizona Without Health Insurance?

Even though paying for drug rehab in Arizona isn’t possible for the majority of people without the significant assistance of health insurance, it, obviously, is still possible for some. The vast number of these have the necessary resources, but a small number still manage to do it using other approaches. For example:

  • Being loaned the money from a loved one
  • Taking out a personal loan to help pay for addiction treatment
  • Using money from a savings account to pay for rehab
  • Charging the cost of treatment to a credit card
  • Talking with someone at the local Department of Social Services about programs that might be available
  • Checking with community centers in their area for information about rehab scholarship programs

Recovery After Addiction Relapse: What Should I Do?

Firstly, don’t panic. Many successful addiction recoveries actually involve at least one relapse back to drug or alcohol use. It is not failure by any means, or a “sign” you are weak or even that your recovery is doomed in some way. In fact, in many ways, it’s quite normal.

Why Do Relapses Happen?

The reason for relapses, medically-speaking, is very straightforward. Substance addiction is a chronic disease, like hypertension, asthma, diabetes, and so on – all of which are conditions that themselves often include a form of relapse. 

Therefore, an adjustment in treatment is required – either medicinal or through another form of treatment. In this respect, substance addiction is no different to, say, diabetes. A relapse should be seen as an indication that the “treatment program” needs tweaking in some way – adjustments need to be made to get the patient “back on track.” Often, a relapse can happen because the patient is simply not following their own treatment program as closely as they should.

Many things can lead a person to relapse, such as stress (the most common reason for a relapse to occur), in the form of personal challenges, problems at work, ongoing emotional and psychological issues, and social or economic problems, such as financial hardship, or relationship issues.

Remember, a relapse is not a sign that you are ‘weak’ or a ‘failure’ – it is merely a return to  unworkable coping patterns that need to be replaced with new ones.

What Should I Do If a Loved One Relapses?

Recovery from either drug or alcohol addiction is not a quick and easy process. For a recovering addict, it takes time to be able to live fully and completely without substance use being a go-to element of daily life. Most of all, it takes management, and a relapse, however unfortunate or unforeseen, is another aspect of the recovery that has to be managed effectively.


  • Seek medical support if the loved one is experiencing unusual or severe symptoms, as there are particular risks, eg. a potential overdose, if they haven’t used a substance for an extended time.
  • Ensure, where possible, that your loved one has supportive people nearby to make sure they keep safe, if you are unable to stay with them.
  • Call the loved one’s previously agreed support network: their friends, family doctor or a 24-hour alcohol and other drug information/counselling service.

Afterwards (in the weeks and months to come):

  • It can take several attempts before a person successfully maintains this immense change, so constantly reassure the person that relapse is not uncommon.
  • Encourage the person to think of a relapse as an opportunity to learn more about their recovery, their treatment, and their potential relapse triggers.

Drug Overdose Risks During Relapse

During 2020, there were a record number of fatal drug overdoses across the U.S., and here in Arizona, the state was witness to more than most, as year-on-year numbers increased by 36.5%, compared to the U.S- national rate of 29.4%. Many of these overdoses involved opioids, and the majority of those involved the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl, now to be found in virtually every other illegal drug available on the blackmarket, even including counterfeit prescription drugs.

It wasn’t just the active drug addicts who suffered an untimely death, but also those in addiction recovery who suffered a drug relapse. The combination of this increase in potency in many drugs, and the natural reduction in tolerance experienced by those in recovery from drug addiction, proved equally fatal.

What is Substance Tolerance?

Using an addictive drug on a regular basis means the user will develop a tolerance to it, as the individual’s brain becomes more responsive to the changes in its state. Therefore, the user must use more of the substance to achieve a similar effect. However, if a person then does not use for a while, their tolerance to the drug will decrease, so if they do experience a relapse, exactly the same amount can now potentially lead to an overdose.

Overdose due to this change in an ex-user’s tolerance level is a serious possibility (and a specific and severe risk) for those who haven’t used drugs for a while, whether they’re in recovery and then relapse, or for another reason, eg. they’re recently released from prison. For example, an individual who has been on naltrexone (an opioid antagonist, which are prescription drugs that block the effects of heroin and other opioid drugs) can be at risk if they use after stopping oral their medication, or when the effects of a naltrexone implant have ceased.

In any event, if a drug overdose is suspected, you must seek medical assistance immediately.

5 Top Tips for Preventing Addiction Relapse

Addiction relapse is a significant possibility, particularly in the early stages of a recovery.

Long-term solutions for preventing relapse are available, and the strategies that follow are commonly advised by professional addiction experts as a way of reducing the risks for a relapse:

  • Actively avoid the people, places and things that you have identified as relapse triggers. 
  • Calling on your support network if you are concerned about any current negative behaviours and situations, however trivial they may appear to you or others.
  • Do something meaningful, like volunteering for a charity, or joining a community sports or special interest group.
  • Practice self-care, physically, mentally and emotionally, e.g. get enough sleep, eat nourishing food and have a clean living environment.
  • Set positive future goals, including goals unrelated to your addiction recovery.

Try to remember that every person’s experience of addiction treatment and recovery is different, and managing that recovery is also unique.

Phoenix Drug Rehab: Your FAQs

  1. Can Drug or Alcohol Addiction be Cured?

Drug addiction is a chronic disease, which makes it similar to other types of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. All of these diseases are very treatable, but the actual condition cannot be cured. Instead, they will require lifelong treatment.

  1. Going “Cold Turkey” - Can I Detox Off Drugs at Home?

There are many types of mild drugs where use can be stopped at home, known commonly as going “cold turkey,” without any serious consequences, eg. marijuana. However, there are several types of drugs that definitely do require detox - a professional medically-assisted detox - simply because abruptly stopping their use can be dangerous, and can even be fatal. These drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Illicit stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine
  • Alcohol
  • Opioid drugs, such as heroin and prescription painkillers, eg. Oxycontin

Important: It is extremely important that you consult your family physician or an addiction specialist first before attempting a home detox.

  1. What Should I Expect When I Go to Drug Rehab in Arizona?

When you attend drug rehab, your experience will vary based on the type of program you are in. However, you should expect several things from your treatment program, including:

  • To have access to medical treatment and medical professionals
  • To be treated like an individual with your own needs
  • To participate in many different types of therapy, including group and individual sessions
  • To be treated for both the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction
  1. How Do I Know If I Have a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder is a mental health condition, like anxiety or depression that simultaneously accompanies a drug addiction. Many people attending drug rehab have previously undiagnosed mental health disorders.

Co-occurring disorders should always be treated alongside the drug addictions, providing a much better chance of long-term recovery. Anyone with a diagnosed co-occurring disorder should strongly consider going to a professional drug rehab that offers the necessary dual diagnosis treatment.

  1. What are the Best Treatments for Drug Addiction in Arizona?

There really is no one “best way” to treat a drug addiction. People respond differently to all types of treatment, depending on what their individual needs. The majority of drug addiction experts agree that several forms of behavioral therapy (and medications, if required) are the best way to treat a drug addiction.

  1. How are Behavioral Therapies Used to Treat Drug Addiction?

Behavioral therapies are vital for the treatment of drug addiction. According to the NIDA, they:

  • Help people to change their attitudes about their drug use
  • Help them change their substance abuse behaviors
  • Teach them how to establish and improve upon their healthy life skills
  • Allow them to access other forms of treatment, such as medications
  • Provide various treatment options to patients in a number of different settings
  1. How are Medications Used in Drug Addiction Treatment?

Medications are often used during the detox phase to address any complications with withdrawal symptoms - in fact, around 80% of detoxes do require some form of medication. Additionally, they can also be used in opioid replacement therapy, to control drug cravings (and help prevent relapses), and to treat mental health disorders.

  1. Should I Consider Traveling to Arizona to Attend Drug Rehab?

Many people prefer to attend their addiction treatment away from home, in another place, either a city in the same U.S. state, or a city in another state all together, like Phoenix. There are a number of significant benefits to this approach, such as:

  • Removing all potentially disruptive influences, relapse triggers, and negative situations from your treatment
  • Fully immerse yourself in the rehab experience and be able to concentrate 24/7 on your addiction recovery
  • Many people comment that drug rehab in another state is more like a vacation
  • Living in a stress-free environment
  1. What are the Benefits of 12-Step Programs?

12-Step programs are highly effective mutual aid support groups, and they provide many benefits to those who attend their meetings on a regular basis, including:

  • Being able to continue your recovery with the help and support of peers
  • Being able to process and progress through each step of the recovery journey
  • Forming new, healthier habits that assist in avoiding relapse
  • Better long-term mental health

Are You Ready for Drug Rehab in Phoenix?

If you or a loved one is addicted to any type of drug, including opioid-based prescription medications, it may be necessary to seek professional help in order to overcome this addiction. Our dedicated and professional staff at Springboard Recovery, located in Scottsdale, part of metro Phoenix,  will be happy to discuss your drug addiction with you, and help you to form a plan that is right for your needs.

Recovery from drug addiction is a real challenge, but it is possible. We understand this, which is why we approach each of our patient’s individually to ensure that they get the help that they need, which includes providing you with the strategies, resources and help once you have completed your treatment program at our facility.

External Sources:

  1. City of Phoenix. Phoenix City Hall website. 2021. Available at Phoenix.gov.
  2. National Center for Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CHS Data Brief / No. 394: “Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2019.” December, 2020. Available at DrugsAndAlcohol.ie.pdf
  3. National Center for Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts. June, 2021. Available at CDC.gov.
  4. Arizona State Senate: Fact Sheet for S.B. 1486. February, 2021. Available at  AZLeg.gov.pdf.
  5. Huffington Post. Article: “The Kidnapping Capital of America and a Thriving Drug Trade.” December, 2017. Available at HuffPost.com.
  6. National Center for Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NCHS Data Brief / No. 406: “Co-involvement of Opioids in Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Cocaine and Psychostimulants.” April, 2021. Available at CDC.gov.pdf.
  7. U.S. National Library of Medicine: Carfentanil (Compound Summary). 2021. Available at NLM.NIH.gov.
  8. U.S. National Library of Medicine: p-Fluorofentanyl (Compound Summary). 2021. Available at NLM.NIH.gov.
  9. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): National Survey on Drug Use & Health. The NSDUH Report – Metro Brief: “Substance Use and Mental Disorders in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale MSA.” No definitive date provided. Available at SAMHSA.gov.pdf.
  10. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System: “Arizona 2018 Statewide Substance Use Prevention Needs Assessment.” September, 2018. Available at ACAHCCCS.gov.
  11. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA): Arizona: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms. April, 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  12. Arizona Department of Health Services. Opioid Data Dashboard. July, 2021. Available at AZDHS.gov.
  13. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Treatment Locator Tool. 2021. Available at FindTreatment.SAMHSA.gov
  14. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA): Prescription Opioids and Heroin Research Report: “Prescription Opioid Use is a Risk Factor for Heroin Use.” January, 2018. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  15. U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Initiation into prescription opioid misuse amongst young injection drug users.” January, 2012. Available at NLM.NIH.gov.
  16. U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Prescribing Opioid Replacement Therapy in U.S. Correctional Settings.” December, 2017. Available at NLM.NIH.gov.
  17. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA): Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition) – “Evidence-Based Approaches to Drug Addiction Treatment.” January, 2018. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  18. U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence.” June, 2015. Available at NLM.NIH.gov.
  19. National Center for Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Health Statistics Reports / No. 159: “Demographic Variation in Health Insurance Coverage: United States, 2019.” CDC.gov.pdf.
  20. Arizona Department of Health Services: OARLine: Opioid Assistance & Referral Line webpage. 2020. Available at PhoenixMed.Arizona.edu.
  21. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey: Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family –  Substance Abuse Prevention webpage. June, 2021. Available at SubstanceAbuse.AZ.gov.
  22. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey: Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family – Prevention & Early Intervention webpage. June, 2021. Available at AZPreventionResource.com.
  23. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System: Accessing & Locating Treatment webpage. 2021. Available at ACAHCCCS.gov.
  24. Arizona Department of Health Services: Dump the Drugs AZ webpage. 2021. Available at AZDHS.gov.
  25. Arizona Department of Health Services. Injury Prevention – Substance Abuse Data. July, 2021. Available at AZDHS.gov.
  26. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): Home webpage. 2021. Available at AA.org.
  27. Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Home webpage. 2021. Available at NA.org.
  28. Salt River Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA Meetings schedule. July, 2021. Available at AAPhoenix.org.
  29. Salt River Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous website. July, 2021. Available at AAPhoenix.org.
  30. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Trends & Statistics webpage. 2021.  Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  31. U.S. National Archives: “TRICARE: Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment.” September, 2016. Available at FederalRegister.gov.
  32. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid: Affordable Care Act (ACA). 2021. Available at HealthCare.gov.
  33. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid: Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). 2021. Available at CMS.gov.
  34. American With Disabilities: Home webpage. 2021. Available at ADA.gov.
  35. U.S. Department of Labor: Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 2021. Available at DOL.gov.
  36. National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Drug Facts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. January, 2019. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.

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