Orange County, CA Drug Abuse Trends 2017

Orange County has been finding means to manage drug addiction in the area. As the years pass by, there’s an alarming rise in rehab and hospital admissions, deaths from suicide and accident, and drug-related crimes.

The county averaged about 5,500 drug and alcohol hospitalizations and about 700 drug-related deaths each year from 2013 to 2015. According to a recent OC Health Care Agency report, the county’s drug and alcohol deaths have reached an alarming 82% since the millennium. Hospitalization expenses also have reached more than $100 million a year.

Common causes of death were accidental overdoses from prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Hydrocodone, and illicit drugs such as heroin.

The recent report stated that nearly half of all overdose deaths were due to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. This report highlights the significance of focusing prevention efforts to address the rising opioid abuse among residents.

Cities with relatively higher overdose deaths tended to include coastal cities followed by locales of the South County.

Laguna Woods tops the overdose mortality rate at 50.8 per 100,000. Dana Point comes next with 40.1, Seal Beach with 33.8, Laguna Beach with 31.4.

Cities with the least mortality rates included Coto de Caza, Foothill Ranch, Irvine, and Trabuco Canyon.

Whites were commonly the victims with more than three-fourths of the total casualties due to substance abuse.

A bigger number of women than men died from prescription medicines. However, a greater number of males than females died from illicit drugs. The OC Health Care Agency also reported that male residents had doubled the mortality rate due to drug and alcohol overdose at 29.5 per 100,000. This rate is higher compared to female residents who only reached at 14.4 per 100,000.

According to the coroner’s office, 66.8% of drug-related deaths involved opioids, factoring in illicit drugs such as heroin. But when factoring out illegal drugs, the office stated that prescription drugs still accounted more than half of the overdose cases. They also found out that more than three-fourths of the lethal overdoses were accidental.

When it comes to drug-related hospitalizations, the worst affected cities were along the coast and headed inland, spreading from San Clemente to Rancho Santa Margarita.

There were also high hospital admission percentages reported in Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, and North Tustin. The reported average hospital stay was 4.3 days with expenses that reached more than $26,000. Over the three-year period, drug-related hospitalization had reached a total of about $430,000,000.

Most people would think that the teens and young adults are getting out of hand with substance abuse. But a shocking revelation was known by the OC Health Care Agency. Most of the victims of substance overdoses were ‘older’ people. It was known that people from age 25 to 64 accounted for 72% of the total hospital admissions, with the highest known group between ages 45 and 54.

Despite the disappointing facts revealed, health care agencies still hope for a solution of these alarming statistics.

Curtis Condon, a research manager for the Health Care Agency, stated,

We don’t have the same levels of mortality as some other parts of the country. Our goal is to highlight the trends to better target our efforts at outreach and treatment. The report says we need to do more to reach out to the folks who live in (coastal) parts of the county and raise awareness.

The health official also stated that people build up a tolerance or mix prescriptions with other substances which caused accidental overdose deaths.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings has expressed his concerns about overdose calls for service. Demings said that they’ve consistently been monitoring for the past three and a half years.

They stated that there was an increasing trend in the number of times their team had responded each day to overdose service calls. About two to three drug overdose situations have been responded daily with about 224 overdoses recorded in the first three months of 2017.

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