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  • Writer's pictureTyler Zuccarelli

Drug Addiction Statistics In LA That Will Surprise You

This blog will discuss some statistics that will surprise you regarding alcohol, methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, opioids, and heroin abuse and usage in Los Angeles County.

Statistics on Alcohol

  • 1-3 adults reported binge drinking, 4 or more alcoholic beverages for women and 5 or more alcoholic beverages for men, at least once a day in the past 30 days.

  • In 2020, there were 17,823 DUI arrests in LAC (Los Angeles County). Among the DUI arrests, the largest demographic groups were males, which accounted for 80% of the arrests.

  • From 2010-2020 in LAC, there were a total of 126,012 motor vehicle collisions that involved alcohol, resulting in 72,980 injuries and 2,300 fatalities.

  • 10% of all motor vehicle injuries in LAC from 2010-2020 involved alcohol alone.

  • Of all motor vehicle fatalities in LAC from 2010-2020, 43% involved either alcohol or drugs.

  • According to Sacks et al., the total cost of excessive alcohol consumption in LAC in 2020 was $11.4 Billion.

  • The total cost for healthcare-related treatment for alcohol-attributable conditions was $1.3 Billion.

  • Alcohol-related costs are due to premature mortality and impaired productivity at work and home. While institutionalized, working-related absenteeism, crime victims from incarceration, and reduced productivity related to fetal alcohol syndrome account for $8.2 Billion for LAC in 2020.

Statistics on Methamphetamine and Fentanyl

  • In 2021, methamphetamine and fentanyl were the most common drug types listed as the cause of death in accidental drug overdoses in LAC. Accounting for over 50% of all alcohol and other drug overdose deaths.

  • While methamphetamine significantly contributes to accidental drug overdoses, there are also unique risks associated with one-time fentanyl exposure. Interventions such as naloxone are available to address fentanyl overdoses that do not exist for methamphetamine. This explains the unique focus on and need to understand the fentanyl crisis amid broader drug overdose concerns to reduce the impact of fentanyl in our communities.

  • Accidental fentanyl overdose deaths increased by 1,280%, from 109 in 2016 to 1,504 in 2021.

  • Fentanyl overdoses are a significant and growing public health problem across the United States and LAC, across sociodemographic groups and geographic areas. The increases among youth and the widening inequities between under-resourced and more affluent groups underscore the need to target prevention efforts to those at the highest risk to decrease fentanyl overdoses and advance health equity in LAC.

  • Fentanyl is a significant and growing public health problem across the nation and in LAC, across nearly all sociodemographic groups and geographic areas.

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. Pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl can be effective in treating severe pain when taken as prescribed. However, misuse, known or unknown consumption of illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) can lead to addiction and overdose.

  • According to the CDC, Fentanyl is responsible for most fatal overdoses, accounting for 62% of all overdose deaths in 2020.

  • In 2021, law enforcement seized enough fentanyl, mainly counterfeit pills, to provide a lethal dose to every American.

  • An estimated 2 out of every 5 counterfeit pills with fentanyl contains a deadly amount. IMF can come in various bright colors, shapes, and sizes to appeal to and drive addiction among youth and young adults, often targeted through social media platforms.

  • According to death certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths in LAC listed drug overdose as the underlying reason for death, with meth poisoning as the cause increasing by 1,185% from 81 in 2010 to 1,041 in 2020.

  • The percentage of all underlying drug overdose deaths that listed meth poisoning as a cause of death increased from 12% in 2010 to 52% in 2020.

  • As of 2020, more than one-third, or 39%, of meth overdose deaths co-occurred with synthetic opioids, which may include illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

  • Meth overdose deaths have steadily increased since 2010 and remain high. Specifically, meth overdose deaths, not including opioids, increased by 45% from 412 deaths in 2019 to 597 deaths in 2020.

  • Meth surpassed heroin and became the most commonly reported drug problem at admission to LAC's publicly funded SUD treatment programs. It accounts for nearly 30% of all treatment admissions in LAC.

Opioid and Heroin Statistics

  • In the US in 2020, 9.3 million, or 3.3% of individuals aged 12 or older misused/abused prescription pain relievers in the past year, making it the second most abused illicit drug, only after marijuana.

  • Among those who took prescription pain relievers in the past year, nearly 1 in 8 reported misusing them.

  • 47% had obtained prescribed pain relievers from their friends or relatives; 44% were prescribed Rx pain relievers from one (42%) or more than one (1%) doctor or stole from health care providers (1%); 6% bought from a drug dealer or other strangers, and 3% by other sources.

  • Counterfeit pills have been found in all 50 states and have been dramatically increasing in the US.

  • Counterfeit Rx opioids are easily accessible, even among the youth, as many are sold on social media and eCommerce platforms.

  • The DEA seized more than 20 million counterfeit pills in 2021.

  • From 2010-2020, over 400 opioid prescriptions were filled per 1,000 residents in LAC each year on average.

  • At the peak in 2014, there were enough opioids prescribed to supply a bottle of opioids to over half of all adults in LAC.

  • Although rates remain high, opioid prescriptions filled at pharmacies have declined with the increased use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) and safer prescribing practices.

  • Despite a decline in recent years, heroin is still the second most reported drug problem.

  • As fentanyl is increasingly mixed with heroin in the US, heroin overdose-related deaths increasingly involve synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl.

Summing It Up

As you can see from these statistics, the LAC drug epidemic is not going anywhere. While small strides have been made, there is still a long way to go. Places like LA Valley Recovery were created out of this epidemic and are here to support you or your loved ones struggling with drug addiction.

Contact us today for more information on our treatment programs.

Email us at or call us at 844-777-5287.


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