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California's #1 premature killer is drug abuse, killing more than accidents, suicides and homicides. Every year, California seizes 413,000 pounds of marijuana, more than 300,000 ecstasy pills, 18,000 pounds of cocaine, over 5,000 pounds of meth and 800 pounds of heroin. In one year there are over 40,000 emergency room visits from drug abuse alone and 3/10 fatal car accidents are caused from drug use. For every one dollar spent in California on drug rehabilitation, the state of California saves an average of $7 in benefits such as fewer medical costs, less money on housing inmates, increased employment and decreased crime and theft.

Heroin is on the rise in California and continues going up. As with the rest of the country, California has experienced a significant surge in heroin usage. According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin use increased 63% between 2002 and 2013, and heroin-related overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled over the same time period. In 2013 an estimated amount of 517,000 people reported that they had used heroin in the last year or had a heroin-related addiction, a 150% increase from 2007. Like in other parts of the country, heroin use has moved from being an urban problem that affected poor minority populations and has spread into the suburbs. The face of heroin addiction today is our young generation. Over the past several years, heroin overdose deaths have started to spike again after a short period of leveling off. In Los Angeles County for example, there were 225 heroin deaths in 2010. That number plunged to 29 in 2012, but crept up to 46 in 2013 according to information from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. Prescription painkiller abuse has also become a major issue in California, Nationwide drug overdoses have become the number one cause of death. In 2014 47,055 americans died from drug overdoses, and half of those deaths were from prescription painkillers prescribed by a doctor or heroin. One of the main factors in the spread of prescription painkiller abuse has been the overprescribing of these medications by doctors!

California spends $114 a second housing inmates incarcerated for marijuana, that's $60,000 a year! On average each inmate costs $45,000 a year and the inmates are serving approximately a 13 month sentence. In California, 85% of addicts will never receive the drug rehabilitation that they need. One of the important things to remember when you or your loved one chooses between drug or alcohol rehabs in California is deciding between Residential versus Outpatient drug Rehabilitation. Many people are quick to jump on outpatient drug rehabilitation thinking it will be more convenient and less expensive. While this is sometimes the case, statistics prove those choosing a residential drug rehabilitation in 48-day, 60-day or 90-day programs are more likely to be successful long-term.

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.

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