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California was founded by the bravest, the most explorative the pioneers. We weren’t called the Wild West for nothing. Orange County and the South Bay especially are known for passionate arts movements, a demand for equality and social rights, and light-speed progress to new technology and innovations. This exciting, open, and innovative lifestyle also comes with consequences. We’re more dependent on technology than ever before and as a reflection, we’re also less connected to real tangible people in our lives. We often aren’t equipped to handle real human problems, like trauma, stress, and addiction, and we live rapid-pace, stressful lives in some of the densest and most complex cities in the world. Many social issues evolve from such a huge and highly complicated society, with Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD’s) being near the forefront of these problems.

Substance Abuse in California

As of 2018, the California Healthcare Foundation found that about 6% of Californians could qualify as dependent on alcohol, and 3% on illicit drugs. Unfortunately, 8% of Californians could be determined to have a SUD yet only 10% of those received treatment for it.

As a whole, the CDC found that Californians were less vulnerable to the opioid epidemic than other states with 2,199 deaths in 2017. The difference roughly equates to 5.3 deaths per 100,000 population in California compared to 14.6 deaths per 100,000 in the nation. With strong social support systems and high-quality healthcare and rehab opportunities, California is deeply ahead of the national average but is by no means immune to the opioid epidemic in the US.

Over time, California has grown significantly in opioid deaths from roughly 500 in 2000 to nearly 2,200 in 2019. While synthetic opiates and heroin have contributed moderately to the increase, the biggest threat by far was from prescription opiates, where overdose deaths doubled just in the year from 2000 to 2001.

Why Drug Stats Are Rising in California

Several factors contribute to the rise in drug deaths in California. CEO of Insys Therapeutics is one of many implemented in a nationwide opiate distribution scheme that affected communities all over the US. The relaxed regulations combined with corporate bribes and fraud has led to one of the most destructive and widespread drug rings in the US, particularly targeting rural and disconnected Americans. In one notorious case, 21 million prescriptions were filled to a town with a population less than 3,000 residents.

In addition to the rampant rise in the illegal distribution of drugs throughout the medical system in the US, new and powerful drugs have emerged on the market. Fentanyl, in particular, is estimated to be 20-100x as powerful as morphine and has several pharmaceutical and street variations. This drug was intended for use only by people who were already tolerant of strong opioids and needed the extra potency of fentanyl to treat serious pain but has since been abused recreationally, leading to a high risk of overdose and death.

Treating Drug Addiction in California and Orange County

Our Orange County rehab and detox partners with organizations across the globe, from Alcoholics Anonymous, to medical and drug addiction specialists. If you or someone you know is considering rehab or detox, we encourage you to call us at (714) 782-3973 so we can walk you through your options.