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Orange County Drug Treatment and Substance Use

 

Orange County’s most affected areas are the coastal and southern portions of the county. These areas recorded the highest rate of death and hospitalizations related to alcohol and drug use.  Resulting in more than 700 deaths with over 5,500 hospitalizations every year. The Orange County Coroner listed 78.6% are accidental deaths. These numbers are from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroners Division report for 2017.


How Does This Effect The Healthcare System?

To deal with the drug and alcohol use of patients they occupied almost 70,000 hospital beds each year. Each hospitalization averages 4.3 days. The cost to taxpayers is nearly $430 million annually. The average charge per admissions was $26,223.

A reported 69.4% of the patients admitted for drug and alcohol poisoning were discharged from the hospitals after they stabilized while 10.0% left on their own, against the advice of their doctor. While 12.7% of those died in the hospital or were pronounced dead upon arrival.

What Part Of The Population Is Dying?

Males make up 58.1% of all hospitalization related to drug and alcohol cases with the highest age group being from 25 to 64 years old, peaking for those at 45 to 54 years old.

 

Graph from the Orange County Healthcare Agency & Sheriffs-Coroners 2017 Report

 

Race and Ethnicity

The non-Hispanic White population has the highest rate of drug and alcohol related hospitalizations at 78%. The second most common group needing hospitalization are  Hispanics at 14%.

Graph from the Orange County Healthcare Agency & Sheriffs-Coroners 2017 Report

Are Drug And Alcohol Poisonings Getting Worse?

In the past 16 years (2000 to 2015)  the death rate from drug and alcohol poisonings has increased by 82%. The death rate of drugs  is fueling an  88% increase with alcohol related overdoses increasing only 76%.

In the years spanning 2013 to 2015 a total of 1368 men and 679 women died of drug and alcohol related poisonings. Non-Hispanic Whites had the most deaths at 1436 with the Hispanic population  with 458 deaths during that same 3 year period.

There are two groups broken down by age that have the highest rates of death. They are those from 55 to 64 with a rate of 51.6 per 100,000 and those from 45 to 54 at a rate of 41.5 per 100,000.

Graph from the Orange County Healthcare Agency & Sheriffs-Coroners 2017 Report

Death Count By Categorized By Substance

  • Prescriptions drug related deaths were at 58.1% from 2013 to 2015.
  • Illegal or technically illicit drugs account for only 23.2% of the deaths from overdose in that same period of time.
  • The mixture of pharmaceutical and illicit drugs along with alcohol claimed 19.4% of the deaths.
  • Alcohol poisoning deaths were at 4.8%.

The statistics show a majority of people dying from drug and alcohol related poisonings are accidental deaths.

  • Accidental deaths account for 78.6%.
  • Intentional deaths accounted for 18.6%. There is no breakdown of intentional deaths so that 78.6%  includes both suicides and murder by overdose.

Accidental vs. Intentional 

Accidental Deaths

  • 43.9% were pharmaceutical drugs.
  • 27.9% were illicit drugs.
  • 22.0% more than one drug was used.
  • 6.2% were related to alcohol.

Intentional Deaths

  • 87.5% were pharmaceutical drugs.
  • 4.3 were illicit drugs.
  • 8.2% more than one drug was used.
  • No deaths were related to alcohol.
Graph from the Orange County Healthcare Agency & Sheriffs-Coroners 2017 Report

From 2013 to 2015 

  •  Opioids deaths lead the way with 675 deaths.
  • Benzodiazepine had 364 deaths.
  • Antidepressants had 275 deaths.
  • Alcohol had 262 deaths.
  • Amphetamines had 242 deaths.
  • Antihistamines had 163 deaths.
  • Cocaine has 23 deaths.
  • Barbiturates had 21 deaths.

A majority of the deaths involving opioids are further broken down. 

  • Prescriptions were 56.0% of the deaths.
  • Both prescription and illicit drugs used were at 26.7% of the deaths.
  • 17.3% of the deaths were related to the use of illicit drugs like Heroine.

 

Non-Hispanic Whites population

  •  56.1% were prescription drugs.
  • 20.2% were illicit drugs.
  • 19.7% mixture of more than one drug.
  • 3.9% from alcohol.

Hispanic population

  • 37.5% were illicit drugs.
  • 30.1% were prescription drugs.
  • 21.3% mixture of more than one drug.
  • 11.0% from alcohol.
Graph from the Orange County Healthcare Agency & Sheriffs-Coroners 2017 Report

Treatment Options For Those With Substance Use Disorder

The first step in a patient becoming free of their addiction is typically a medical residential detox program. 

Once the physical addiction to the drug is gone, the mental part of the addiction can be addressed that should include the root cause of the addiction. The types of treatment each patient receives is determined by a medical professional.

What Types Of Treatments Are Available In Orange County?

The exact type of treatment will be determined after an analysis of the patient is completed that includes their age, sex, the drug of choice and mental condition. The types of treatment options include;

  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Intensive outpatient programs, this is mostly used for younger residents under the age of 18.
  • Outpatient programs.
  • Opioid treatment programs.

In Orange County, some facilities are funded by the county and the state of California where no to little cost is charged for enrolling. The factors determining the cost include;

  • Age of the patient.
  • Income at permanent residence.
  • Drug used.
  • Employment history.
  • Classification of the patient, here pregnant women are first in line followed by intravenous drug users.
  • Help in paying for the costs can be Medicare, Medicaid, local and federal nonprofit organizations.
  • Services available are limited because of the state and county budgets.

There are also numerous private facilities in Orange County. 

  • Patients are admitted using private health insurance and donations from nonprofit organizations.
  • More services available than public facilities because more funds are available. Most of these facilities do not accept Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Patients are admitted using private health insurance and donations from nonprofit organizations.
  • More services available than public facilities because more funds are available. Most of these facilities do not accept Medicare or Medicaid.

The atmosphere at  treatment facilities does vary.

  • Publicly funded facilities are limited in location, types of building, furnishing, and salaries for the staff due to budgetary restraints.
  • Private facilities are generally purpose built buildings to meet the needs of the services being offered with new furniture and better paid staff members.

For those Orange County residents that need help before it is too late, it is available if you want to be free of your addiction. There is no law requiring enrollment into a drug rehab center, but there are punishments by law if you are apprehended using prescription drugs illegally or using illicit drugs. Once enrolled in a rehab facility the health record of your drug use is confidential by law.

 

 

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