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Los Angeles Addiction Statistics and Sober Living Guide

Los Angeles Addiction Statistics

Its population of almost 40 million people makes California the most populous of the states. The population of the Los Angeles area alone in 2020 reached 12,447,000 million people. Los Angeles enjoys a reputation for a lot of positive attributes. It is the mecca for the television and film industry. Many celebrities and business moguls call the area home. Residents and tourists are drawn to the dazzling beaches, warm weather, and scenic landscapes within a short drive. 

Los Angeles has a dark side, too. It has weathered tremendous impact from drug and alcohol addiction for decades. Studies coming from a variety of sources spotlight the impact of addiction to drugs and alcohol in L.A. County.

Facts About Alcohol Use and Abuse

County of L.A. Public Health released results from a study focusing on excessive drinking and the consequences. Percentages of those who reported binge drinking in the past 30 days include:

  • 6% of those aged 12-17
  • 35% of those aged 18-25
  • 21% of those aged 26 years and older

Other L.A. County results from the same survey include: 

  • There were 11,866 motor vehicle collisions, injuries, and fatalities involving alcohol in 2017 
  • Alcohol-related tangible costs related to lost productivity at work totaled 8 billion dollars. 
  • Healthcare costs related to alcohol were 1.3 billion dollars. 
  • Other alcohol-related costs, which include costs related to motor vehicle crashes, property damage, and costs to the criminal justice system, came in at 1.9 billion dollars.

A study done by the California Department of Motor Vehicles showed another set of eye-opening facts about DUI (driving under the influence):

  • In 2017, there were 123,548 arrests for DUI.  
  • DUI arrests for males accounted for 77.3% of the cases. 
  • 73.6% of arrests for DUI result in convictions.
  • 73% of those arrested were first-time offenders, while 27% had been arrested for DUI at least once prior.
  • The median blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of a convicted DUI offender was 0.16%. This is double the illegal limit in California. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic Increased Drinking

Alcohol consumption rates rose 14% since the country became consumed by the coronavirus pandemic. The consumption of alcohol by individuals during this time increased by nearly 30%. Admissions for alcoholic liver disease at Keck Hospital of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles were up 30% in 2020 compared with 2019.

The number of people who began to misuse alcohol or became addicted to it means the need for treatment has increased. Many people who were already in recovery from alcohol addiction found that living under the stress of COVID-19 contributed to relapse.

L.A. County Requires a Vast Array of Treatment and Sober Living Options

The L.A. County area supports a large number of addiction treatment and sober living. options. A search on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website shows there are over 300 clinics and treatment facilities that treat substance use within 25 miles of Los Angeles. 

Facts about the Los Angeles area that add to its high amount of drug distribution include:

  • Its large population
  • Numerous communities that embrace alcohol and drug usage, such as the entertainment industry
  • Close proximity to the Mexico border
  • A vast amount of entry points, including airports, shipping docks, and highways

While a lot of the narcotics that arrive in the L.A. area end up being distributed to other cities, states, and countries, much of the products remain in town. The plethora of this influx helps increase the number of people who experiment with drug usage, as well as those who go on to develop full-blown addictions.

The Drug Enforcement Agency Tackles Drug Abuse in Los Angeles

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) began a program called 360 Strategy designed to address heroin and prescription opioid abuse. Recognizing the drug addiction crisis in Los Angeles, the DEA focused its program on the city starting in 2018.  

The DEA classifies the city of Los Angeles as a national drug distribution center for cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, MDMA, and PC. The DEA and Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner determined the local areas most in need of assistance are Antelope Valley, the Metro region, and West Los Angeles. These areas produce alarming amounts of opioid misuse.

The 360 Strategy study of Los Angeles identified several ways to focus on treating the addiction community. These include:

  • Bringing resources to needed areas. Examples include enacting speaker programs in local schools to prevent younger people from developing addictions.
  • Increasing the amount of DEA participation in community events in order to foster a friendlier, more helpful image of the agency among residents.
  • Putting the spotlight on personal stories of addiction and loss. While facts and statistics can be educational, the impact of someone relaying their own experiences in the world of addiction often raises awareness and compassion in others.
  • Encourage area schools to expand their addiction awareness programs for students. 
  • Use social media platforms to pass on information and identify leaders in the recovery community.

Opioid Abuse Takes a Huge Toll in L.A. County

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that as recently as 2018, California medical workers wrote 35.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. Opioid-related overdose deaths totaled 46,802 that same year; nearly 70% of all overdose deaths.  

Deaths involving opioid usage showed an increase of more than 60%. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogs constituted the majority of those deaths.  In 2018, 497 opioid-related deaths occurred in Los Angeles County; a 41% increase from two years earlier. 

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS) are conditions that may occur when a woman uses opioids while pregnant. The rate of NAS/NOWS occurrences in births in California is 2.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births. These babies are born addicted to drugs and suffer from withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include respiratory distress, vomiting, difficulty eating without becoming ill, seizures, and tremors. 

Many infants born with NAS/NOWS must be administered methadone or morphine to help them overcome their addictions. They often need to remain in the hospital in excess of two weeks before they are healthy enough to go home. 

Methamphetamine Accounts for the Highest Number of Treatment Cases

A report by The Los Angeles County, Sentinel Community Site (SCS), Drug Use Patterns and Trends, 2018 found that methamphetamines constituted the highest number of treatment cases in the area. Meth usage was cited in 29% of admissions to L.A. County addiction treatment programs. 

Heroin-related Deaths Are On the Rise

In 2018, heroin-related deaths rose to nearly 800. Calls to area poison control centers related to heroin usage and overdoses increased. Heroin addiction was the second most cited reason for admission to addiction treatment programs, according to The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS). 

Cocaine is the Third Most Popular Drug in L.A.

The NFLIS reported that cocaine is the third most popular drug used in the L.A. area. Beginning in the 1970s, cocaine enjoyed widespread usage in Southern California. Many people did not yet understand the dangers of cocaine. Using cocaine can cause many serious side effects, including heart attacks, seizures, convulsions, strokes, and death.

Recreational Marijuana Use Proves Popular

A change in California law in 2016 made recreational usage of marijuana legal. Adults age 21 and older may now possess up to one ounce of cannabis for recreational use and can grow up to six live plants individually.  

County of Los Angeles Public Health issues a report that estimates about 30% of pot smokers exhibit some symptoms of Cannabis Use Disorder. These symptoms include developing a tolerance to cannabis, having cravings for it, and experiencing problems in their personal lives due to usage. 

Addiction treatment program admissions that cited marijuana as the main drug of usage accounted for approximately 10% of admissions in L.A. County. Emergency department visits related to marijuana usage numbered 3,505 in 2017. 

Why Sober Living Is Crucial to Addiction Recovery

The amount of drug and alcohol addiction in Los Angeles County demonstrates the intense need for treatment. The high rates of substance use disorder mean that a variety of options for treatment must be available. These include detoxification programs, residential, and inpatient treatment. While ensconced in a residential or inpatient program, people new to establishing their sobriety typically benefit from round-the-clock supervision by medical and psychiatric clinicians. 

A sometimes overlooked key component to treating addiction involves sober living environments. Sober living homes provide housing for multiple people who are in similar places in addiction recovery. They have completed their intensive programs and utilize sober living houses to help them put what they’ve learned into practice. 

Sober living homes offer their residents long-term housing that gives them the freedom to come and go while they begin shaping their post-recovery lives. They often learn life skills such as meal preparation, job training, continuing education, and managing a budget. 

They can still access therapy and medical appointments, typically outside the sober living house. By the time they are ready to return home, they have accumulated a great deal of time learning to embrace and maintain sobriety and learning to reintegrate. Benefits like this help decrease the number of people who end up relapsing. 

At Riviera Recovery, our sober living homes for men and women provide a safe place to recover from substance use disorder and mental health issues. Our comprehensive staff understands what it takes to recover and uses an individualized approach to guide individuals through the process. Fill out the form below or call us now at 855-207-9708. One phone call can change your entire life.

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