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Most of us have family members or friends who suffer from alcoholism and/or drug addiction, and we know these debilitating illnesses can take a tremendous mental, emotional and physical toll on our loved ones and their families. While we have nothing but respect and compassion for those who are suffering from the effects of addiction, and applaud and support their efforts to seek recovery, many South County citizens have become increasingly concerned about the proliferation of supervised treatment homes in our residential communities.

The California Health and Safety Code states that cities must have sufficient facilities “as are commensurate with local need” but many beach cities are finding that there is a growing concentration of these homes, grossly disproportionate to local need based on national addiction and recovery statistics. In Dana Point, for instance, we know of at least 80 such homes (based on neighbors’ reporting) and are told the actual number is closer to 100. There is no way to know the exact number because neither our city nor state requires registration. Only 17 of such homes in Dana Point have a State license. In calculating the local need of these facilities in Dana Point, based upon our population of 34,000 (83 percent over 14 years of age) compared to national rates of addiction and those seeking treatment, Dana Point should have a maximum of 13 supervised recovery homes. That’s a conservative number, as it assumes that every person in recovery would undergo a 90-day treatment session in a six-person home. In theory, if our entire population of addicts received successful treatment, eventually the 13 homes would close. “Local need” arguments aside, neighbors report that many of the people receiving treatment in the 80 to 100 homes that have popped up in Dana Point are not Dana Point, or even California residents.

Neighboring San Clemente (population 65,000) has an estimated 80 homes and San Juan Capistrano (population 36,000) has an estimated 31 homes. Both of these cities have enacted moratoriums and have taken responsible steps in an attempt to regulate. Dana Point’s City Council has not yet taken any such steps, which might explain the unusual concentration in Dana Point.

On Wednesday, June 15 at 6:30 PM at the Krikorian Theater, 641 Camino De Los Mares, San Clemente, Take Action Dana Point will be hosting a screening of The Business of Recovery, a documentary that examines this very lucrative business and provides an inside look at an industry that is earning untold billions marketing treatment to desperate addicts and their families. If you are interested in the motivation and effectiveness of the modern recovery industry, please join us for a very informative evening. Tickets are $12 plus $1.65 Eventbrite fees and can be purchased at

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comments (1)

  • Wait a minute! We have 80 to 100 sober living Homes in Dana Point and should only have 13?? That’s crazy! We have the same number as San Clemente with double the population. Gee. I wonder why? Could it be that they have a Council that will work and even risk a lawsuit on their citizens’ behalf? Not Dana Point. We’ll only take that risk for developers. Dana Point citizens, get to that movie and get informed.

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