Drug & Alcohol Addiction Rate in Orange County, CA

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addiction rate in orange county 1 e1568864027564

Drug & Alcohol Addiction Rate in Orange County, CA

If you live in southern California, you may want to know the addiction rate in Orange County, CA or surrounding areas. Locally to this county and across the nation, addiction continues to grow. The rate of addiction seems to be escalating rather than being brought under control, despite the government’s “War on Drugs.” In 2015, according to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 27.1 million people had abused either prescription or illicit drugs. 

The news gets worse, the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality reported that in 2014 there were approximately 47,055 drug overdose deaths. Of these, some 60% were attributed to opioids such as prescription drugs and heroin.

Sadly, the drug addiction rate in Orange County has been following the same trend with an increase of approximately 88% in drug overdose-related deaths between 2000 and 2017 according to the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA). The agency also found that men were twice as likely to end up in the hospital for drug or alcohol abuse-related issues than women as are the death rates. 

The short story about hospitalization and death rates for drug and alcohol abuse:

  • 78.6% of deaths were accidental
  • 66.8% were related to opioids (50% were from opioids)
  • 51.5% were related to prescription drugs

Numbers like these are of grave concern in Orange County at both public and government levels. Gender and ethnicity also play a role in the trends as men abuse more alcohol than women, and Caucasian adults being at the top of the list, especially the 45-64 age group. Oddly, those who are highly educated and financially stable drank more than those with low education and income. 

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The Addiction Rate in Orange County By Drug Category

At our Opus Health facilities, we see the effects of every drug imaginable. We work with individuals and their families one-on-one every day with an understanding of what the addiction rate in Orange County actually looks like on a personal level. Not only do these substances and the plight of addiction affect the community, city, and county– addiction affects many parts of people’s daily lives.

From compiling a lot of information combined with recovery industry experience, there are the most common addictions in the area.

The OCHCA study looked at six specific illegal drugs, including:

And at prescription drugs used for recreational purposes, including:

The study also found that approximately 6% of adults in OC admitted to abusing prescription drugs one or more times in their lives. 

Illegal Drug Abuse Rates

It also found that approximately 34% had used one or more illegal drugs in their lives. Moreover, in the month before the survey was conducted 5% stated they had used illicit drugs and 13% admitted to using cocaine. 

Hospitalization Rates

Numerous studies show that the rate of hospitalization related to drug and alcohol addiction rate in Orange County has remained relatively stable since 2011. 

  • 48% of hospital visits were due to psychological side-effects directly related to drugs or alcohol 
  • 24% of hospital visits were the result of chronic drug or alcohol dependence syndrome 
  • 11.2% of hospital visits were alcohol-related
  • 6% of hospital visits were related to opioids 
  • 26.3% of hospital visits were related to accidental poisoning involving benzos and opioids 

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Ethnicity and Drug Abuse Rates

Ethnicity or race has also been found to play a major role in the addiction rate in Orange County and overdose deaths.

Hospital visits due to drug and alcohol abuse can be broken down like this:

  • Caucasian – 78%
  • Hispanics – 14%
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders – 3%
  • African American – 2%

No matter how you look at it these numbers are frightening with 5,500 hospital visits and 700 deaths related to drug or alcohol abuse happen every year in Orange County. 51.5% of deaths are caused by prescription drugs. 37.5% of Hispanics and 20% of Caucasians are likely to die of an illegal drug overdose. While Hispanics might have double the death rate of Caucasians with illicit drugs, Caucasians at 56.1% are more likely than Hispanics at 30.1% to die from a prescription drug overdose. 

Choice of Drugs

In all ethnic groups, meth is considered to be the drug of choice, but Caucasians are more likely to choose heroin for their second drug of choice, for Hispanics and African Americans the second drug of choice is marijuana, and for Asians and Pacific Islanders it is alcohol.

Crack/cocaine also plays a large role in drug abuse by African Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. Caucasians are more likely to use Oxycodone, other opioids, or sedatives than any other groups. 

Treatment Options in Orange County, CA

According to the OCHCA, treatment on either an inpatient or outpatient basis can positively impact the addiction rate in Orange County. This is why Opus is such a passionate treatment center serving adults of all needs for recovery. 

Treatment success by the numbers:

  • 53% stopped using their drug of preference
  • 65%, the decrease in the number of arrests 
  • 74% reduction in jail sentences 
  • 78% reduction in prison sentences 

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Various Types of Therapy

There are several different forms of behavioral therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Contingency Management Interventions/Motivational Incentives, and Motivational Enhancement Therapy have been demonstrated to be successful in helping in a range of areas such as:

  • 107% increase in employment
  • 59% reduction in those living with a roommate or family member with an addiction or substance issue
  • 52% reduction in family conflicts 
  • 32% increase in the use of social services by adults 
  • 23% reduction in psychiatric visits to the ER 

Sober Living Homes

Among the most effective treatments to reduce addiction rates in Orange County are 12-step programs and Sober Living Homes.

Inpatient Facilities

The most successful programs are those that offer 24/7 treatment in an inpatient facility. Outpatient treatment facilities still achieve high rates of success but tend to be used by those who cannot afford an inpatient facility or simply don’t have the ability to step out of their lives for an extended period.

Is the Drug Rate in Orange County High? 

The drug addiction rates in Orange County show that 35% of adults living here use illegal drugs in comparison to the national average of 49%. Yet prescription drug abuse rates in OC are lower than the national average, but at the same time, methamphetamine use is significantly higher. These numbers have been steadily increasing since 2002.

In order to take part in either an inpatient or outpatient program, the person must have already undergone medical detox and the full withdrawal process. The rate of addiction in Orange County is increasing at such a pace that the Orange County Health Care Agency and many other institutions are calling for a solution to the problem. 

If you or a family member needs help to overcome drug addiction in the Orange County or southern California area, contact us at 949-625-4019


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