Medical and societal research has given us more information than ever regarding the dangers that illicit drugs pose in our lives. More money and resources are being expended on education programs than ever before. However, an apparent disconnect exists between the passage of that information and the understanding of it by the general public. One need only look at the rise of drug addiction and, subsequent to that, drug overdose cases in Orange County to confirm that.
Orange County’s Alarming Drug Statistics
Overall, 34% of the county’s over 2.3 million adult residents reported having used some form of illicit drug. An additional 6% admitted to abusing prescription medications.
The most frightening aspect of these numbers is that they inevitably contribute to another harrowing statistic: the number of drug overdoses.
According to the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Division, over 5,000 residents require hospitalization for overdoses every year. An additional 600 people die as result of them. This represents an increase of 51% of drug-related fatalities since the year 2000.
The Unknown Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse
Sadly, 80% of these overdose deaths are believed to have been unintentional. Of these accidental deaths, more than half were due to the abuse of prescription medications. This points to a potentially alarming lack of knowledge on the part of county residents regarding the unauthorized use of medications. The assumption that simply because medications are prescribed by a doctor means that they don’t present just as great danger as illicit drugs is, in keeping with the county’s overdosing trends, dead wrong. It’s important the people know that benzodiazepine tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax along with opioids such as OxyContin can pose even greater risks than substances such as cocaine and heroin, given how easily they can be acquired.
With drug addiction numbers on the rise in Orange County, early intervention for those residents already starting down this path is vital to prevent them from joining the growing group of accidental drug overdose victims. Aggressive treatment through rapid detoxification can help set one firmly on the road to overcoming the challenge of addiction.