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Phoenix, Arizona Drug Treatment and Alcohol Rehab Information

Phoenix, Arizona, may bring to mind pictures of desert plains and nightlife, but for the 1,537,058 who live there, it’s also a state that deals with drug crime and substance abuse.1 It is a plausible theory that a great portion of the city’s population is at an increased risk of engaging in substance abuse or becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Nearly 3,000 youths died from prescription drug overdoses in 2010 across the country.2 Nationwide, young people are more likely to succumb to peer pressure and try substances they otherwise wouldn’t try. In Phoenix, access to drugs is more plentiful with the drug trade in full swing across the border state. Young people are also the biggest consumers of prescription drugs.

Of course, age isn’t the only factor that influences substance abuse. Individuals who are struggling to get by in Phoenix’s tough economy may be more likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse, too. As of July 2015, the unemployment rate in Phoenix was 5.5 percent, compared to the national rate of 5.3 percent.3,4 Since one in six unemployed people engage in drug or alcohol abuse, high unemployment rates often lead to increased substance abuse in an area.5

Treatment rates in 2012 were high, with marijuana abuse taking the lead as a primary drug of abuse – 4,918 people were admitted for such treatment statewide.6 Following marijuana’s lead, 4,474 reported amphetamines as their primary drug of abuse, 3,067 cited heroin, and 1,776 cited other opiates, such as prescription painkillers.7 Among all Americans, marijuana accounted for 305,560 treatment admissions during 2012, along with 116,090 for methamphetamine, 285,451 for heroin, and 169,868 for other opiates.8
Drug overdoses continue to claim around 100 lives every day in America.9 In Arizona alone, 1,200 people died from a drug-induced overdose in 2013.10
Many of the robberies and home invasions that occur in Phoenix are linked to drug-related activities in the area.11 The strongest penalties apply to individuals caught trafficking drugs. Possession of less than 2 pounds of marijuana can still put individuals in jail for up for two years and impose a $150,000 fine.12 The prison sentence can be extended to as much as 12.5 years for individuals who traffic or sell pot in the state.13

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Arizona and Alcohol

Nationwide, 681,374 people were admitted to treatment centers in 2012 citing alcohol as a singular or confounding substance abuse problem.14 In Arizona, 8,294 of these people were admitted to Arizona rehab centers.15
Some end up in treatment because they can’t cut back on their binge drinking. Others have developed full-blown alcoholism. It is important to understand that not everyone who abuses alcohol is dependent on it. In fact, nine out of 10 people who abuse alcohol aren’t dependent on it.16 Around 60.1 million Americans admitted to past-month binge drinking in a 2013 survey.17

Alcohol consumption is high in Phoenix. College students make up a significant portion of the population. Increased rates of substance abuse, college parties, and late-night club scenes set the stage for binge drinking on a regular basis among undergrads. Approximately two out of five college students reported binge drinking within the two weeks prior to a survey by the NIAAA.18

Phoenix was ranked 34th in a listing of the nation’s drunkest cities, and residents are known to consume 11.33 drinks per person every month.19 Around 5.9 percent of the adult population in Phoenix is classified as heavy drinkers and an alarming 15.6 percent are binge drinkers.20 Around 23.2 percent of men and 11.4 percent of women report binge drinking behaviors nationwide.21

One of the biggest risks that come with drinking heavily or binging on booze is death. In 2013, 36,427 people lost their lives to alcohol-related liver disease in America.22 In Arizona, the figure was around 5.7 per 100,000 people.23

Arrests rates for driving under the influence have been dropping in the desert state for a few years now. In 2012, the number of people arrested was higher at 32,174, which dropped to 31,892 the following year and then to 28,471 in 2014.24 Phoenix ranked fourth in the nation among cities with the most drunk drivers in 2010 — a ranking that declined to 10th position in 2011.25 A DUI arrest imposes variable penalties, all of which include fines and time behind bars.26

When It’s Not Just Substance Abuse

Mental illness impacts the lives of 221,000 adult residents of Arizona.27 More than 90 percent of individuals who commit suicide have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.28 There were 41,149 deaths attributed to suicide in the United States in 2013, and 979 people died as a result of suicide in Arizona during 2006 alone. 29,30 Some manage to sidestep the depths of depression and sorrow that can lead to an untimely death, but many still find themselves going down the wrong path in life — one filled with drug abuse and criminal activity. Some 8,900 people who populated Arizona prisons and jails in 2008 were afflicted with mental health disorders.31

Treatment in Arizona

There are 39 treatment centers in Phoenix.32 Eighteen of the city’s rehab units are equipped to treat mental health disorders.33 In comparison, the entire nation is home to nearly 12,000 rehab facilities, of which 3,809 treat mental illness.34 Inpatient hospitalization is available at three institutions locally.35 Outpatient treatment is available at 24 facilities.36 Phoenix also offers access to 59 sober living centers that can aid in the recovery process.37

One of the first questions that comes to many individuals’ minds when considering treatment for a drug or alcohol abuse problem is how much it is going to cost and how they’ll pay for it. The good news is that treatment facilities are continuing to expand their payment options each and every year.

In 2012, sliding scale programs were in effect at 62 percent of all facilities in the nation.38 This allowed for many people to be treated for their issues despite not having high income levels. Without these programs, most of those who were treated using them would not have been able to secure treatment otherwise. In Phoenix, six facilities offer payment assistance plans while 13 have sliding scale treatment options available to clients.39

For those who have little to no income to report to participating facilities, Medicaid may be a plausible option, and 58 percent of treatment centers were accepting Medicaid in 2012.40

Individuals interested in rehab in Arizona should carefully select their treatment facility and ensure all qualifying credentials are met. Licenses for treatment centers can be verified with state agencies. Those who require tandem mental health services are encouraged to seek rehab institutions that have qualified medical practitioners and psychotherapists on staff to render such treatment.

Employment as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in Arizona requires 3,000 or more hours of supervised work experience counseling clients, in addition to a master’s level education. Other qualifying materials are set forth by annual regulatory boards. There are plenty of free resources available to residents of Arizona who are seeking quality substance abuse and/or mental health care, such as:


  1. State & County QuickFacts.” (2014). United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  2. Abuse of Prescription Drugs Affects Young Adults Most.” (n.d.). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  3. Unemployment Rates for Large Metropolitan Areas.” (2010). Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  4. Databases, Tables and Calculators by Subject.” (2015 Sep 21). Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  5. Kurta, A. (2013 Nov 26). “1 in 6 unemployed are substance abusers.” CNN Money. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  6. Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions by Primary Substance of Abuse.” (2012). SAMHSA. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Treatment Episode Data Set.” (2012). SAMHSA. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  9. Pollack, H. (2014 Feb 7). “100 Americans die of drug overdoses each day. How do we stop that?.” Washington Post. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  10. Marrow, H. & O-Connor, E.P. (2015 Jan 13). “Overdose deaths on the rise across Arizona and the nation.” Hooked. Accessed September 21, 2015“Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.” (2011). U.S. Department of Justice. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  11. Arizona Laws & Penalties.” (n.d.). NORML. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Treatment Episode Data Set.” (2012). SAMHSA. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  14. Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions by Primary Substance of Abuse.” (2012). SAMHSA. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  15. Most people who drink excessively are not alcohol dependent.” (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  16. Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings.” (2014 Sep 4). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  17. Lucier, K.L. (2011 Nov 2). “Know the Facts About College Binge Drinking.” U.S. News. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  18. Drunkest Cities.” (n.d.). Daily Beast. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Parker-Pope, T. (2012 Jan 11). “America’s Drinking Binge.” New York Times. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  21. Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis.” (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  22. Drunkest Cities.” (n.d.). Daily Beast. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  23. Walsh, J. (2015 Jan 2). “DUI arrests down for 3rd year on Arizona highways.” The Arizona Republic. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  24. Cities with the most drunk drivers.” (n.d.). Forbes Magazine. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  25. Arizona Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties.” (n.d.). NOLO. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  26. “State Statistics: Arizona” (2010). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  27. “Mental Illnesses.” (n.d.). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  28. Suicide Facts.” (n.d.). Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  29. “State Statistics: Arizona.” (2010). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 15, 2015.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Ibid.
  34. Ibid.
  35. Ibid.
  36. Sober Living Directory.” (n.d.). Intervention America. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  37. Substance Use Treatment Data, Research, and Policies.” (n.d.). DrugWarFacts. Accessed September 21, 2015.
  38. Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 15, 2015.
  39. Substance Use Treatment Data, Research, and Policies.” (n.d.). DrugWarFacts. Accessed September 21, 2015.