Orange County’s comfortable climate and numerous attractions rank among the best that Southern California has to offer. Just over three million residents call the area home, which borders the Pacific Ocean and is located south of Los Angeles, the largest city in the state. Locals and tourists can soak up the sun, visit laid-back beach communities, or head over to Disneyland in Anaheim for an adventure or hike in The Sinks, the county’s “mini Grand Canyon.”

Because there’s so much to do in Orange County, it may be hard to see that its communities are locked in a seemingly never-ending battle with substance addiction, a public health crisis that has much of the United States in its grip. The opioid overdose epidemic has affected the area, and the state has a population of people who are treated for substance use disorders involving other drugs and alcohol.

Drug rehab services in the Orange County, California, area are essential as authorities and lawmakers respond to the addiction crisis, and facilities work with people who are seeking their way back to sobriety.

Orange County Rehab Statistics

A 2018 state report titled Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment, says that roughly eight percent of California’s population (2.7 million people) met the requirements for having a substance use disorder in the past year. Also, according to the report:

  • Six percent reported abusing or being dependent on alcohol; and
  • Three percent met the criteria for being dependent on or abusing illegal drugs

Data also provides a closer look at the habits of substance users by age group. People ages 18 to 25 were found to use addictive substances more frequently than other age groups statewide. Usage rates for marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol were higher for this group.

“Substance use disorders were most prevalent among young adults 18 to 25, occurring at nearly twice the state average rate,” the report says.

Some people end up in the ER over their substance use. According to the report, between 2012 and 2014, 303.5 people per 100,000 on average yearly received aid from the county’s emergency departments for nonfatal alcohol and drug-related reasons. During that same time, 30.9 people per 100,000 were treated for opioid-related reasons, which was higher than the state average of 28.2.

A 2017 report, titled Drug & Alcohol Morbidity & Mortality in Orange County, reviewed the primary causes of overdoses that were related to substance use. According to its findings, which were summarized on Orange County’s Health Care Agency site:

  • Cities along Orange County’s coastal and southern regions had higher rates of drug/alcohol-related hospital stays and death than other cities.
  • On average, between 2013 and 2015, nearly 700 people died, and more than 5,500 people were in the hospital after overdoses on drugs and alcohol or poisonings each year.
  • A coroner’s review of all overdose deaths concluded that most were accidental (78.6%). More than half involved prescription drugs (51.8 percent), and nearly 67 percent were related to opioid use.

Most Abused Substances In Orange County, California

Marijuana appears to be the most widely abused drug in Southern California, despite the state making it legal for recreational use in 2016. Other drugs of abuse include prescription pain relievers, cocaine, and heroin, and the legal substance, alcohol.

“Alcohol accounted for more nonfatal emergency department visits than all other drug diagnoses combined,” according to the Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment report.

The region’s proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border gives traffickers a prime opportunity to smuggle and distribute illegal drugs into the country. Methamphetamine use has also been involved in drug overdose deaths in recent years. According to this news report, methamphetamine was the most common drug linked to overdose deaths in California in 2017.

Orange County’s Drug Rehab History And Rankings

Orange County is equipped to treat people with substance use disorders with recovery programs and services. According to figures in the Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment report, it had “the greatest per population residential detoxification capacity” with 6.9 beds per 10,000 people in the state. Overall, California had 3.2 beds per 10,000 people in the state.

California launched its five-year Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DMC-ODS) program in 2015 to help Medi-Cal reorganize, grow, and improve its services for the treatment of substance use disorders. Forty counties in California participated in the program, which is scheduled to conclude in 2020. A paper shares lessons from the pilot program here.

Quick Treatment Facts

Treatment for addiction is a complex process that likely will continue for the rest of someone’s recovery from substance use. Addiction is a chronic and progressive illness that changes the brain to prioritize substance use. Medical treatment and therapies are used to help correct this condition.

Evidence-based treatment that has been rigorously tested and backed by science is found to be the most effective in helping people rebuild their lives. Therapies that are found to be helpful address the whole person, including their social, psychological, emotional, and physical needs.

Once a medical professional assesses the patient’s needs, a placement will be recommended, which could include medical detox. Be sure that the treatment plan addresses the person’s specific needs and that you remain in treatment for the time that is most effective for a positive outcome.

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