Substance Abuse in California


substance use in California

California is known for its glamour, party scenes, and seemingly magical feel. People often flock to the state in an attempt to make it big and chase their dreams. However, many individuals do not realize the cost it can take to make it to the top. Others have trouble dealing with the high price of living or finding their footing in the Golden State. Unfortunately, many individuals in California turn to drugs and alcohol for various factors, including social, psychological, and environmental reasons. By understanding these factors and statistics, substance abuse in California can be better understood, and those struggling can find the help they need. Don’t lose hope; help is available today.

Examining the Numbers

The most recent numbers published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse come from 2018, where just over 67,000 people died as a result of a drug overdose. The majority of overdose deaths involved opioids, with 70% of overdose deaths involving this class of drugs. Of the age groups studied, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health found that as of March 2019, young adults ages 18-25 are most at risk of substance use disorders (SUDs). While these numbers can be frightening, this is not recent news. Substance abuse in California goes back many years. 

In fact, between 2009-2010, over 60,500 people struggled with drug abuse in Los Angeles pertaining to a wide range of substances such as heroin, marijuana, alcohol, meth, and cocaine/crack. Again, the majority of these individuals were young adults. In 2013, the most common drugs associated with admission into rehab facilities in Los Angeles County included marijuana (27%), alcohol (22%), heroin (20%), and methamphetamine (19%).

Today, a significant factor that plays into the development of addiction is the opioid crisis. Due to California being the most populated state in the country, the crisis runs rampant throughout. Both synthetic opioids and street opioids such as heroin are the culprits of numerous overdoses and deaths. With the number of fatalities on the rise, it is crucial to understand why people are developing addictions to not only opioids but other drugs as well and find them the help they need.

Reasons For Drug Abuse in California

Due to negative stereotypes and stigmas surrounding addiction, many individuals often picture someone on the margins of society, unable to keep a job or a house, using drugs and alcohol to cope. However, addiction does not discriminate and can impact anyone from a variety of backgrounds. In California, most of those who struggle with substance abuse are productive members of society, including parents, bankers, C-suite executives, actors, and more. These people may not look like the stereotypical image of addiction, but they often fall victim to the common reasons that typically cause addiction.

The Opioid Crisis

Concerning opioids and the opioid crisis, many individuals that have been prescribed an opioid-based medication for a medical reason can still find themselves in the throes of addiction. Opioids are highly addictive — even prescription medications leading to a whirlwind of negative impacts on the person’s life. 

Fame and Stardom

It is no secret that those chasing dreams of becoming famous often flock to Hollywood for a chance at stardom. While this can seem like a magical lifestyle, it is often hidden behind curtains of stress, parties fueled by drugs and alcohol, and amounting pressures to be a certain way. Trying to keep up with this lifestyle can leave people caught in a cycle of addiction that negatively impacts their entire life.

The Issue of Poverty

Of one the most pervasive problems that contribute to addiction in California is poverty. The state has the highest population in the country and has a large majority of its population living on the streets. Mental health and addiction treatment resources are often inaccessible despite private and government-run programs. Many individuals are often criminalized rather than given help, resulting in a deadly cycle of poverty, addiction, and incarceration through generations.

Coping With Stress

Stress is one of the most significant factors in the development of addiction within the state of California. The state has high costs of living, a number of high-stakes jobs, tourism, densely populated areas, and more that can push anyone to their breaking point. Those that work multiple jobs and can still barely pay their rent often turn to illicit substances to escape their current situation. Treatment is the best way to help these individuals find sobriety and find help for stress.

Available Treatment Options

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, California has enforced several restrictions and preventative measures to help protect its citizens from the virus. While many treatment facilities are open and can help individuals overcome addiction, many people are hesitant about going to treatment because of the world’s current state. If an in-person treatment program isn’t right for you at the moment, perhaps a virtual recovery platform could be your best option. 

Programs such as the Lakehouse Recovery Center are completely virtual to give individuals an online option to traditional addiction treatment. You will still receive a variety of treatment modalities as you would at an in-person facility, such as individual and group therapy, stress management, medication management, case management, health and wellness workshops, and more. Lakehouse provides the treatment you need without having to leave your home. 


California is often associated with sunshine, fame, and its many tourist destinations. However, a darker side of the state that is often avoided in conversation is substance abuse. A large majority of the state’s population struggles with substance abuse due to various social, environmental, and psychological factors. Lakehouse Recovery Center wants to change the way treatment is approached, especially in the uncertain times of COVID-19. We offer a 100% virtual recovery platform to reach individuals all over California to provide top-quality treatment and recovery services. Utilizing a variety of treatment modalities, we address each client’s individual needs just as would be done at an in-person facility. From holistic wellness services to individual and group therapy, you can be sure to find the healing you need at Lakehouse Recovery. Call us today to learn more and start your recovery journey at (877) 762-3707. Get online and take hold of your life now.