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Addiction Statistics in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, affectionately known as the “City of Angels”, is one of the most popular cities in the world. It is home to more than 3.5 million people and is known for launching the careers of countless musicians, vocalists, actors, actresses, and artists. Los Angeles is certainly a destination for those aspiring to “make it big”, but it is also home to people who were born and raised in the area, as well transplants from other parts of the country and the world. 

But even though Los Angeles is often described as being “glamourous” or “glitzy”, this city has its fair share of concerns, too. Similar to most other cities in the country, Los Angeles has a heavy population of individuals who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol or who abuse mind-altering substances. No amount of money or fame can eradicate this problem, and that is evident in Los Angeles.

Commonly Abused Substances and Rates of Abuse

In Los Angeles, some of the most commonly abused substances include marijuana, meth, and cocaine. In fact, official city data reports that rates of abuse of these substances are as follows:

  • Marijuana – 60.1%
  • Cocaine – 20.7%
  • Meth – 13.3%

Part of the reason why these drugs are so widely abused in this part of the country is because of its geographical location and its culture. For example, Los Angeles is less than 150 miles away from the Mexican border, where marijuana and cocaine are frequently trafficked into the United States from. In recent years, meth production in Mexico has been on the rise, adding to the increase in availability to the people of Los Angeles. California is also the first state to legalize marijuana, making this drug one that people can (mostly) use how they wish without much (if any) legal repercussion. 

But like most other parts of the country, Los Angeles is no stranger to the opioid crisis. Illicit opioids like heroin and prescription opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet are widely abused in Los Angeles, as it is in many other major U.S. cities.

Opioid abuse in Los Angeles 

In 2017, Los Angeles had the 4th highest number of drug overdose deaths in the entire country, many of which were opioid-related. Within that same year, there were roughly 390 prescription drugs written per every 100,000 people, equaling out to a total of 4.3 million prescriptions in that year alone. In regards to opioids, 497 people died in Los Angeles in 2018 from an opioid overdose. This represents a 41% increase in opioid deaths since 2016. And while Los Angeles is not one of the top cities for opioid abuse, rates of this type of addiction are continuing to rise, denoting a growing problem.

Alcohol abuse in Los Angeles

Alcohol is by far the most widely abused mind-altering substance in Los Angeles, as well as in most parts of the country. Drinking alcohol is tightly woven into the fabric of Los Angeles, as cocktail parties, celebrations, over-the-top birthday parties, and more are happening on a regular basis. In 2015, a survey reported that nearly 50% of Los Angeles residents had drunk in the month prior to the survey, with 22% reporting binge drinking and 7% admitting to having an alcohol use disorder. Within that same year, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office stated that 38.5% of toxicology reports included alcohol, while between 2011 and 2015, 25.2% of motor vehicle deaths were related to alcohol.

Illicit substances 

While opioids and alcohol remain some of the most abused substances in Los Angeles, so do cocaine and meth. It is reported that in order to live comfortably in Los Angeles, a person must have a salary in the ballpark of $150,000. Comparatively, the national average salary is $56,000. This is an important statistic to consider when discussing high rates of cocaine abuse because cocaine is notoriously expensive. In order to maintain a cocaine addiction, a person has to have the funds to be able to do so, which many people living in Los Angeles have. There are several people, however, who do live in Los Angeles and who do not make nearly as much money or are homeless who find themselves abusing crack cocaine, a cheaper, watered-down version of cocaine. 

As mentioned before, rates of meth addiction in Los Angeles are sky-high, mostly due in part to trafficking of the drug over the Mexican border. Between 2008 and 2017, the rate of meth-related deaths increased by 707%. In fatal drug overdose deaths, meth went from being included in 6% of deaths in 2008 to 38% in 2017.

Treatment in Los Angeles

The addiction statistics in Los Angeles may not be the most startling in the country, but they are certainly problematic. Thankfully, Los Angeles and other popular areas in California are home to countless addiction treatment centers that can address addictions to substances like alcohol, meth, cocaine, and opioids. 

If you are ready to get treatment in the Los Angeles area, it is imperative that you find a place that fits your treatment needs best, as there are several programs available. 

Most treatment facilities offer an array of options for care, including inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient programming, and outpatient programming. The type of program or treatment approach you will receive in Los Angeles will be based on factors specific to you, such as:


  • What type of substance or substances you are abusing
  • How long you have been abusing drugs/alcohol
  • If you have any current mental illnesses occurring alongside your substance use disorder 
  • Past history of any mental illnesses or substance use disorders in yourself or family members

Additional factors, such as your physical health, your possible need for detox, your living situation at home, and your ability to afford treatment or have it covered will also play a role in determining what type of treatment program will be best for you.

Do You Need Professional Addiction Treatment in the Los Angeles Area? Call Riviera Right Now.

At Riviera, we understand how difficult it is to live with active addiction. We know the challenges you face and we recognize the road you have ahead of you. If you are ready to stop using drugs or alcohol, call us at Riviera right now. We can help you end your active addiction and start building a happy, recovered life.