Drug overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death within the United States, responsible for more fatalities each year than motor vehicle crashes.
Seven in every ten overdose-related fatalities within Orange County, the home of Santa Ana, are caused by opioid drugs. Opioids include prescription painkiller medications such as morphine, OxyContin, Vicodin, or Percocet as well as illicit street drugs such as heroin.
A staggering 66.8% of overdose-related deaths in Orange County in 2017 involved opioid drugs4. Of those opioid-related fatalities, more than half were caused by prescription opioid painkiller medications.
A recent report released by the Orange County Health Care Agency revealed that the number of drug or alcohol overdose deaths across the country had increased by 82% since 2000. The statistics also showed that alcohol-related deaths increased by 76% in the same time period.
The same report also revealed that drug overdoses or alcohol poisonings resulted in more than 5,500 visits to the emergency department and caused almost 700 deaths in residents every year. The estimated cost of treatment for those accidental overdoses or poisonings each year amounted to around $430 million.
Most Commonly Abused Substances in Santa Ana
Alcohol remains the most commonly abused substance across Santa Ana. However, marijuana is easily the most commonly abused illicit substance in the city.
Despite the alarming overdose statistics involving opioid drugs, Orange County’s third most commonly abused substance is cocaine. Prescription drugs are listed as the fourth most commonly abused substance, followed by heroin.
What’s Causing the Substance Abuse Epidemic?
Studies also show that the incidence of heroin use is 19 times higher in people who reported abusing prescription painkiller medications first2. The same report also indicated that more than 75% of people who entered rehab treatment for heroin addiction began by abusing prescription opioid drugs first.
Combating Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Santa Ana
In 2017 a grant for 6,218 doses of Naloxone (Narcan) was granted to the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Narcan is known to be an opioid antidote, helping to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The Orange County Health Improvement Plan
The Orange County Health Improvement Plan 2017-20197 also highlighted specific strategies to improve education about drug abuse and improve safe prescribing practices. The report also aims to help combat the epidemic by promoting the use of best practices for treating substance abuse and caring for users.
Why Seek Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Santa Ana?
If you or someone you know in Santa Ana is caught in a cycle of drug or alcohol addiction, the first step in recovery is to reach out and seek help.
Drug and alcohol treatment centers can provide specialized treatment and therapy designed to improve likely outcomes during recovery.
The biggest issue many people struggling with addiction face is denial. Others shy away from professional rehab treatment, believing they can detox at home on their own. There is a persisting misconception that after a few uncomfortable days during detox they will somehow be miraculously ‘cured’ of their addiction.
Factors to Consider for Alcohol Detox
It’s important to consider the type of treatment needed to suit each individual person’s needs. The actual types of therapy and treatment required will differ for each person, depending on a range of factors.
- The dose being taken
- Whether there is a co-occurring mental health disorder that needs to be treated simultaneously.
- The type of substance being taken
- Whether the person is taking more than one substance at a time (polydrug abuse)
- Whether the person is at risk of developing dangerous withdrawal symptoms
- The length and frequency of use
- The severity of the addiction
After these factors have been considered, the correct combination of medications, therapies, and treatments are tailored for each person’s unique needs. The easiest way to determine the correct type of treatment needed is to discuss your specific needs with an addiction specialist.