California and the Opioid Epidemic

In their 2016 report of the status of California’s opioid epidemic, the State of California Department of Public Health released a Strategy to Address Prescription Drug (Opioid) Misuse, Abuse, and Overdose in California. It summarizes the state of the epidemic and the pursuits of the state to fight the disease. In the report the CDPH states that opioid related deaths grew a startling 34% in a three year span from 2006-2009 in California. Even though pharmaceutical opioid related deaths have leveled off in California, there was a notable spike in Heroin related deaths as we moved toward the second half of this decade. This is troubling. Pharmaceutical opioids like Vicodin quickly lead to stronger opioids. One of the most dangerous things about opioids is how quickly tolerance is built. Eventually pharmaceuticals don’t cut it for an addict and they often replace the pills with fentanyl or heroin, two opioids that can quickly lead to death.


Statistics also show an uptick in heroin and opioid pharmaceutical related non fatal overdoses. Pharmaceuticals appear to have strong trending line projecting upward when it comes to emergency room visits. Heroin has a linear trending increase in emergency visits.


California Opioid Dashboard Statistics

One of the ways California fights the opioid epidemic is by demystifying the disease. The following are statistics that can consistently be found on the California Opioid Dashboard


  • 1882 All opioid fatal overdoses
  • 373 Fentanyl fatal overdoses
  • 4281 Non-fatal overdoses – excludes heroin
  • 21787 Opioid prescriptions


California Compared to The Rest of The Country


The opioid epidemic in this country has become front and center in the public’s attention. This is a positive development because as the spotlight shines brighter the federal government as well as state governments are realizing that opioid related deaths are happening at a horrific rate. That people’s lives are ruined by this and that that devastation is spreading throughout our communities. This kind of awareness spikes regulation but more importantly a focus on treatment.


But how does California compare to the rest of the United States in this epidemic?  According to


In 2016 there were over two thousand opioid related fatal overdoses in California, that’s about 4.9 deaths per 100,000 people, whereas the national average of 13.3 per 100,000. California’s numbers tend to be less severe, than the rest of the United States as far as opioid abuse goes, through heroin related deaths are still on the rise in California. We can also see with the information above from California’s Opioid Dashboard that the number of prescriptions for opioids are still quite high and can still lead people down the road from opioids like vicodin to heroin addiction where they will have a considerably higher chance of fatal overdose.

Not only do opioid addictions quickly lead to fatal overdose, but they can also be responsible for Hepatitis C and HIV becoming more prevalent. Any kind of injection drug use will increase the likelihood of spreading disease in this way.


Treatment For Opioid Addiction in California

If someone struggles with addiction to an opioid, it is important to know how quickly opioid builds in tolerance. That kind of tolerance can quickly lead to overdose. In order to avoid this kind of tragic consequence it is vital for the individual to seek treatment immediately.


Aspire Health Network can offer individualized treatment that will focus on who you are and where you’ve come from. There’s a program that is right for your recovery. Contact us today to discover a new path.