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Drug Problems in California

Drug problems in Southern California are similar to those in other areas but are also unique in many ways.

Drug traffic into the US is often conducted through the California/Mexico border and regardless of the final destination, some of the drugs are left behind in the state. So increases in the use of heroin or other drugs such as methamphetamine throughout the country have a special effect on California simply because of the massive amounts of drugs coming through.

On December 1st, 2016, a big rig was stopped for speeding by California Highway Patrol officers near Victorville. The K-9 in the CHP's car alerted the officers to contraband. When they opened up the trailer they discovered 100 KG of pure, high grade heroin with a street value of around 11 Million dollars.

A report issued by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, "Gangs Beyond Borders", revealed that more than 13,000 pounds of methamphetamine crossed the border from Mexico into California in one year.

One central California High school recently had twelve students arrested in a drug selling ring bust that took 7 months to set up.

California hospitals treated more than 11,500 patients suffering an opioid or heroin overdose in 2013, state figures show. That's roughly one overdose every 45 minutes. It's also up more than 50 percent from 2006. That was nearly three years ago. If the uptrends in use continue, the total overdoses will as well.

The modern path onto heroin is the overuse and abuse of opioid pain killers. Massive prescribing of these powerful drugs along with drug diversion is creating a new and pervasive market that knows no boundaries regarding age or ethnicity.

California's version of the PDMP, Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is a national database of addictive drugs dispensed by healthcare workers, pain clinics, etc. is the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, (ONDCP), it contains over 100 million entries of controlled substances dispensed in California and responds to more than 60,000 requests from practitioners and pharmacists each year. This huge and easily accessible data base makes it possible for licensed practitioners, regulatory boards and law enforcement officials to access real - time information on patients' controlled substance history.

These controls are beginning to show some positive effects, but according to Law enforcement and health officials, heroin related deaths are still on the rise in California, and even worse are the problems with prescription drug abuse.

Jonathan Fielding, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said, "Heroin deaths are increasing and opioid deaths from prescriptions are increasing even more. The difficulty with all of these is the fact that you need greater doses to get more stimulation."

Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older in California, by Substate Region: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2010, 2011, and 2012 NSDUHs (Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

California has seen a rise in Heroin addicts seeking treatment since 2006 & 2007, as a proportion of users seeking treatment for all drugs including alcohol.

California State Government Agencies

Drug Abuse Facts

Drug Abuse Information

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