How Does Addiction in Los Angeles County Compare to the Rest of California?

Los Angeles is the second largest city in the country, and the biggest metropolitan area in California, with almost 3.8 million residents.

Every year, millions of people visit Los Angeles to see its beautiful beaches, visit award-winning restaurants, and maybe even spot a celebrity. But despite all the amazing things Los Angeles has to offer, the city and surrounding areas have been dealing with increasing rates of addiction for many years.

Between 2012-2014, roughly 725,000 people in Los Angeles County struggled with a substance use disorder.

Nearly every substance, including alcohol, illicit drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs, were abused most often by young adults between the ages of 18-25. In fact, over 34% of Los Angelenos between 18-25 suffered from alcoholism, 32% abused marijuana, and almost 23% had an illicit drug addiction. There were roughly 2,938 alcohol or drug-related deaths recorded in the county between 2013-2017. 

It’s clear that Los Angeles County is dealing with a high rate of addiction. But how does it compare to the average rate of substance abuse in the state of California?

Take this quiz to test your knowledge.

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In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.
Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.
Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.
People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.
Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

How Serious is Substance Abuse in California?

As you can tell, substance abuse is a serious disorder not just in Los Angeles, but in the state of California as a whole.

To compare the rate of addiction in Los Angeles County to that of California, we used data from the 2018 California Health Care Almanac edition titled Substance Use in California: A Look at Addiction and Treatment, which is published by the California Health Care Foundation.

Based on the data, Los Angeles County has a similar rate of addiction to the California state-wide average. Roughly 8.4% of Los Angelenos struggle with a substance abuse disorder, compared to 8% of Californians.

In California, 6.4% of the population over age 12 has been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder, compared to 6.1% of Los Angeles County residents. For illicit drug use, the addiction rate across California is 3.3%, which is much higher than the rate in Los Angeles County, which is only 2.8%.

When looking at specific substances, the types of addictions plaguing Los Angeles County are nearly the same as the ones affecting the entire state. In both Los Angeles County and California, alcoholism is the most prevalent addiction, followed by illicit drugs, which include marijuana, cocaine, and prescriptions for non-medical use.

The California Health Care Almanac also published data about the number of Californians that get treatment for drug or alcohol addictions. Similar to Los Angeles County, the number of people who seek professional treatment for their disorders is extremely low.

Just 10% of Californians with a substance abuse disorder received professional treatment in 2018. That’s only 7% of individuals with an alcohol use disorder and 12% of individuals with an illicit drug use disorder. In Los Angeles County, less than 1% of addicts received treatment through a publically-funded program. The county doesn’t publish data about treatment in private facilities.

cocaine addiction treatment
Using that analysis, we can confidently respond to the question of if Los Angeles County has a higher rate of addiction than the rest of California. The answer is surprisingly no. The rate of addiction in Los Angeles County is very much on par with California as a whole.

Los Angeles actually fared better than the state of California when it comes to treatment, which is promising. Treatment facilities in Los Angeles County have a greater capacity for both residential treatment and residential detox treatment patients. Los Angeles County also has more beds than any other county in California for medical detox care.

Help is Available at Nexus Recovery

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, getting professional treatment is an important first step on your journey to sobriety.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, getting professional treatment is an important first step on your journey to sobriety. According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction treatment has been shown to reduce drug use by 40-60%, reduce arrests for criminal activity by 40%, and even increase the chance of employment by 40%.

At Nexus Recovery, we offer a variety of treatment programs that help people overcome their mental health and substance abuse disorders so they can live a more meaningful life.

We employ a combination of therapies in every client treatment program, including individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, life skills coaching, nutrition, mindfulness, group outings, and much more. Clients can also choose to enroll in our men’s program or women’s program for gender-specific care and programming.

Our treatment center is located in Culver City and is easily accessible from every neighborhood in Los Angeles, from Brentwood to Koreatown. We welcome you to take a virtual tour of our facility and learn more about the levels of care we offer under the guidance of our experienced clinical staff.

Call us today at (888) 855-6877 or send us an email to speak with a member of our team for a free and confidential consultation.

In addition to physical cravings, someone with an addiction issue will also spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about their drug of choice. These thoughts become a compulsion and impossible to control, which leads to drug-seeking behavior that can sometimes be criminal.
Feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, despair, and the like are often at the root of substance abuse. The substance might temporarily mask these feelings, but they return once the high wears off, creating a vicious circle of drug abuse.
Taking a substance will temporarily stop the cravings and compulsion for it, but soon the same feelings return. In time, it takes more and more of the same substance to achieve the same effect it once had.
People addicted to drugs and alcohol may feel like they have no control over their drug use. Refraining from using or stopping seems to be an impossibility for them. The substance controls them, rather than the other way around.
Someone addicted to drugs or alcohol will continue to seek them out even if their addiction has made them lose friends, family, spouses, and jobs. Drug-seeking behavior can even lead to diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.

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