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Questions about substance use in California

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Most states in the country are struggling with high rates of a substance use disorder, and California is no exception. People with an addiction to a particular substance may commit illegal acts to satisfy their needs.

While substance use disorder is common across the country, some types of drugs are more prevalent in certain regions than others.

How common is substance use disorder in California?

According to the California Health Care Foundation, approximately 8.5% of Californians over the age of 12 experiences dependence on one or more mind-altering substances. That amounts to over 2 million people altogether. When broken down by substance, 0.6% of people have an addiction to pain medication while 3.3% use illicit drugs. When broken down by age group, substance use disorder is most prevalent among adults ages 18 to 25, affecting 15% of that age demographic.

What are the most abused drugs?

According to California Behavioral Health, the most commonly abused drugs in the state are as follows:

  • Marijuana
  • Opioid pain medications
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin

As of 2018, marijuana is legal for recreational use in California but remains illegal at the federal level. Cocaine is a stimulant drug valued by people who lead fast-paced personal or professional lives for increasing energy. Both come to California from Mexico by way of drug trafficking.

There is a link between addiction to opioid pain medication and heroin use. Many heroin users first became addicted to prescription pain medication obtained from a physician for a legitimate medical complaint. Once the prescriptions run out, they turn to heroin, which has no accepted medical uses but is cheaper and easier to obtain.