The tragic death of skateboard legend Jeff Grosso in 2020 shook many Orange County residents. A toxicology report by Orange County Crime Lab discovered that the superstar skater had 0.0459 milligrams of fentanyl in his blood.
Opioids are still an increasing problem in Orange County and nationally, due to the over-prescription of opioid painkillers and the amount of fentanyl that is flooding the streets.
When understanding drug use and addiction in Orange County we can turn to drug addicts statistics in Orange County. Organizations such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA), Orange County Health Care Agency, California Department of Health Care Services, and the Orange County Health Care Foundation have gathered data on the state of addiction in Orange County.
Statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use show similar trends to those in Orange County and California although there are some slight differences.
It takes a considerable amount of cross-referencing between the studies to compare and contrast the data from each source
The Orange County Healthcare Agency
The bulk of data about drug use in Orange County comes from the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA).
The 2012 survey of Alcohol and Other Drug Use Prevalence by the Orange County Health Care Agency was conducted between April and August. 2,298 telephone interviews were made with adult Orange County residents.
The survey found that:
- More affluent people tend to abuse alcohol more
- Men and white adults have higher alcohol use rates
The 2017 Orange County Healthcare Agency report shows that:
- 7 out of 10 deaths by overdose were caused by opioids between 2011 and 2015.
- 81% of overdoses were to non-Hispanic whites.
- Orange County residents aged between 45 and 54 had the highest rates of overdose
- Overdose deaths are higher for men than women in Orange County
- Women were more likely to overdose on prescription drugs
California Health Care Foundation
To understand drug use in Orange County, the California Health Care Foundation produced an almanac based on years of data titled “Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment”.
The CHFC’s report found that 8% of Californians have an identified need for substance use disorder treatment but only 10% got treatment.
Like OCHA’s report, the CHFC found that alcohol use disorder is the most prevalent in Orange County and California when compared with national alcohol use disorder rates it was lower in comparison.
Emergency Department Visits
However, according to the Orange County Healthcare Foundation’s 2018 almanac on drug use “Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment” alcohol was the biggest cause of non-fatal deaths in emergency room departments. However, between 2012 and 2014 Orange County had the lowest rates of non-fatal Emergency Department visits than any other state in California.
Alarmingly though, between 2011 and 2015, opioid-related emergency room visits rose by 141% in Orange County.
The National Survey on Drug Use
Every year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) survey the US population to take a snapshot of rates of drug use and addiction.
The 2018 to 2019 National Survey on Drug Use was published on the 15th December 2020.
As it is impossible to survey every person in the country, the survey report gives an estimate of the rates of drug use in a representative sample of 135,416 respondents aged 12 and above.
The data comes from a survey of people who live in households and non-institutionalized living areas such as shelters, dormitories, and rooming houses.
SAMHSA’s findings include:
- Of respondents over 12, 109.8 million people (39.9%) had no substance use in the past month compared to 60.1% (165.4 million). That means the majority of people in the US aged 12 and overused substances in the past month.
The most commonly used substances in the US are alcohol and tobacco. 139.7 million people aged 12 and overused alcohol in the past month and 58.1 million used tobacco.
- Alcohol is also the most commonly abused substance in California. Around 6% of Californians have an alcohol use disorder. (However, according to the 2012 Orange County Health Care Agency Orange County has lower rates of alcohol use disorder than nationally.)
- 3% of Californians have a drug dependency.
- By 11th grade, half of Californians have tried alcohol, and 40% have tried marijuana.
To tackle the rates of drug and alcohol use in California, a pilot recovery program is currently in place.
According to the OCHCA, Orange County has the lowest rates of deaths by overdose in the country. But, there are some disparities such as:
- Males are twice as likely to die as women from an opioid-related overdose.
- Emergency departments along the coast and in the south of Orange County have a higher rate of deaths and visits as a result of opioids.
- Rates of opioid use in Orange County have remained steady between 2011 and 2015, although ED visits have doubled since 2005.
The Centers for Disease Control believe that the surge in overdose deaths and ED visits may be due to a rise in people taking multiple prescription drugs. Many people take benzodiazepines with opioids which can prove fatal, especially due to the increased inclusion of fentanyl.
Demographics of People Who Died of Opioid Overdose
The CHCF’s report on opioid use from 2015-2016 found that people who misused pain medication were aged as follows:
- 3.5% were aged 12-17
- 8.09% were aged 18-25
- 4.3% were aged 26 and over
Here are the statistics for heroin use, by way of contrast:
- 0.4% were aged between 18–25
- 0.2% were aged 26+
- There is no data for people aged between 12 and 17 in Orange County
Overdose rates are highest in non-Hispanic white men aged between 45 and 54. Between 2011 and 2015, 9.7 per 100,000 men died from opioid overdoses, and 5.9 per 100,000 women.
- 14.8 per 100,000 were non-white Hispanic
- 3.2 per 100,000 were Hispanic
- 6.2 per 100,000 were African American
- 1.1 per 100,000 were Pacific Islander/Asian
The California Department of Health Care Services Assessment and Planning Report from 2019 found that American Indians and Native Alaskan Indians are particularly hard hit by the opioid crisis.
The report shows that 10 in 100,000 American Indians and Native Alaskan Indians in Orange County died from an opioid-related overdose.
Types of Opioid Overdose
The statistics from the Orange County coroner divides the type of overdose death into intentional suicide, accidental overdose, and undetermined.
- Deaths with accidental prescription opioids comprised the highest proportion of overdose deaths in Orange County between 2011 and 2015.
- 55% of overdose deaths involved prescription opioids compared to 26% of deaths involving a mixture of drugs.
- A staggering 74% of prescription opioid overdose deaths were deemed an accident by the Orange County coroner.
- 93% of deaths by illicit drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine were also defined as accidental.
By contrast, deaths by opioids were as follows:
- Hydrocodone (27%)
- Morphine (25%)
- Heroin (20%)
- Oxycodone (19%)
- Codeine (16%)
It’s interesting that just because a prescription opioid is more heavily prescribed doesn’t mean that it kills more.
Oxycodone is the second most prescribed prescription opioid but has caused the fourth amount of deaths.
The fact that so many overdose deaths are accidental highlights the need for high-quality treatment.
Marijuana is the highest used substance in California. According to the National Health Care Foundation, 35% of 18 to 25-year-olds used marijuana in the past year from 2015 to 2016.
In 2018, California legalized the use of marijuana to curb the extent of marijuana use. But, some reports say that the underground marijuana industry is still booming.
The California Department of Health Care Services 2019 report also notes that amphetamine-related deaths disproportionately affect Native American Indians. In 2017, at least twice as many Native Americans died from amphetamine abuse as other nationalities.
The Cost of Substance Use Disorders in Orange County
Despite Orange County’s comparatively low rates of substance use disorders, the state still has huge costs to contend with.
Drug use in Orange County, Ca creates a loss of productivity, criminal law costs, and healthcare. Nationally these costs run as high as $400 billion.
Between 2011 and 2012 hospitalization for substance use treatment cost Orange County $269 million rising to $425 million between 2013 and 2015.
While this may seem a lot, investment in treatment provides a benefit-per-dollar cost that can range to as much as $64 per dollar.
What is Medi-Cal?
MediCal refers to California’s healthcare insurance provider which serves people on low-income such as single parents, seniors, disabled people, and childless adults who earn less than 138% of the poverty line.
Those who don’t have health insurance and have a low income can apply for Medi-Cal.
Treatment in Orange County
Orange County has the highest availability of licensed non-medical drug detoxification beds per population compared to all other states in California.
The California Department of Health Care Services partnered with the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Personnel (CCAPP) to assess 40 randomly selected treatment centers in California.
- 100% of centers were found to target the right treatment population well.
- 85% had a positive impact on the families and loved ones of people who received treatment.
- 90% of centers were using innovative techniques and approaches in their treatment.
- Every facility reported that they didn’t have a staff turnover issue.
- 100% of treatment programs were effectively engaging clients
- 90% had effective links with the community and social service programs.
Drug Treatment in Orange County
The high-quality treatment programs available in Orange County tend to include evidence-based programs such as:
- Inpatient residential treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Intensive outpatient treatment
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training)
- Peer support groups
- 12-step programs
- Family therapy
District Recovery is a well-established treatment center that delivers a broad range of therapies. For treatment to be successful you must be accurately assessed for any underlying mental health disorders.
Mental Health Disorders
Many people aren’t aware they have more than one mental health diagnosis that underlies their addiction. A high proportion of people with a substance use disorder have experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). These experiences can sometimes trigger mental health disorders such as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
A quality drug treatment program, such as the programs offered at District Recovery will place a huge emphasis on your mental health.
You will be fully assessed by a qualified and experienced mental health professional. If you are inaccurately diagnosed you won’t get the appropriate treatment which will waste thousands of dollars.
Tackling those mental health problems will make a person less likely to turn to substances to avoid emotional pain.
Addiction is a complex issue, especially if a person has multiple mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Family dynamics are often a vital component of a person’s mental health. Family therapy is hugely successful in helping people to overcome their addiction.
The therapists at District Recovery are highly qualified in Marriage and Family Therapy. Many alumni find that treatment at District Recovery helps to transform their underlying mental health problems and improve their relationships.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, the staff at District Recovery are waiting for your call.
Many people are successfully maintaining their recovery despite years of coping with mental health problems and addiction. This means that you also have every chance of doing the same.
With a phone call, you could be receiving the appropriate course of treatment for your specific needs. We’re ready to help.