overdose deaths in California

California and It’s Overdose Crisis

Overdose deaths from drugs and even alcohol poisoning is a threat that many addicts in California face every single day. Like addiction itself, overdosing can affect more than just the drug user. Entire families and social circles can be devastated from one night of binging certain drugs. The rise of synthetic and more dangerous substances like fentanyl have only added to the prevalence of dangerous drugs in our streets. With medical help and a collective effort to curb drug use across the nation, addicts can find the resources they need to live and thrive in a sober lifestyle.

Many people in California have had to experience the loss of a loved one due to overdose deaths. Just a few year ago in 2018, there were 67,367 drug overdose deaths reported nationally. Specifically, opioids were responsible for 70% of all drug overdose deaths that year. These lives can be saved by getting addicts in touch with important services that can help.

Overdose in California Throughout History

Drug in general, especially opioids, have increased in usage and overdose deaths over the years. Between 1997 and 2018, nearly 450,000 people lost their lives to drug overdose involving opioids. At first, this was a result of more and more opioids being prescribed by doctors in the 1990s. For about ten years, the addiction and overdose rates seemed relatively stable, but then heroin overdose deaths suddenly skyrocketed around 2010. On top of that, a few years later in 2013, synthetic opioids like fentanyl began to show up in overdose deaths in California.

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The landscape of drugs on the black market is constantly changing. Most overdoses feature some combination of heroin, cocaine, counterfeit pills, and synthetic opioids. There is still room for positivity. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of deaths resulting from prescription opioids decreased by 4.6% and those involving heroin dropped by 4.7%. The situation is getting better in some ways, so assistance is not far away.

This progress is due to the prescription drug reform in the medical and political fields. It’s now harder for doctors to abuse their ability to prescribe opioids. In addition, drug treatment programs have seen an increase in support, so addiction treatment is a growing solution to a drug overdose epidemic.

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How Overdoses Affect California

Overdose is something that can happen to many addicts suddenly and without warning. Many drug users get clean and then overdose when they decide to reuse the same large amount of drugs as before. In order to help everyone prevent drug overdose, it’s important to be able to understand and identify the signs of it.


Most people who are addicted to drugs never intended on being regular users. For example, many people first choose to use a drug in order to have a fun time or because of peer pressure. When feelings of sickness appear if the drugs aren’t taken, the addiction begins to start. The highly addictive nature of some substances makes the transition from first-time user to addict very quick. Once there is a psychological and physical addiction in the person, then a rehab center is the likely next step.

When the amount of drugs being ingested by the user is greater than the body can process at once, overdose begins to take place. Depending on the substance in question, overdose can lead to all sorts of harmful symptoms. Difficulty breathing, irregular heart conditions, stroke, and loss of consciousness are ways that various types of drugs can hurt the body. Knowing what overdosing is helps many understand the challenges they face, but knowing what to do when presented with an overdose is another important matter.


Different drugs will have different symptoms of overdose, but most will be easy to spot. The first course of action should always be to call 911 for immediate medical help. However, it can help to know which drugs present certain side effects. The symptoms of overdose on the following drugs are:

  • Hallucinogens – agitation, paranoia, and psych
  • Opioids – decreased consciousness, difficulty breathing, and sometimes smaller pupils or bluish skin
  • Stimulants – hypertension, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, seizures, or other cardiovascular emergencies
  • Depressants – heavy breathing, weak pulse, clammy skin, or possibly a coma
  • Inhalants – loss of consciousness, irregular heartbeat, and loss of body control

A potential overdose is something that no one should have to deal with. By recognizing what the signs are, you could help save a life and get that person on the road to a recovered life. While almost all drug and alcohol addicts are at a risk of overdosing, those who use syringes and needles to administer drugs are at a particular risk and should always be aware of the symptoms.

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Get Treated and Prevent Overdose

Drug addiction resulting from synthetic opioids, heroin, and meth are on rise in California and throughout the United States in general. Alongside this, the risk of overdose is a heavy burden on the shoulder of drug addicts all over this country. What we can do for the at-risk members of our community is to do our part in raising awareness of rehab centers in the area. Getting addicts to the dire medical treatment they need is the best way to prevent an overdose from ever happening. High profile cases like Major League Baseball pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who succumbed to a fentanyl overdose in 2019, have put the spotlight on drug addiction as a growing predicament.

Through drug placement programs and new systems for monitoring prescription medication, excellent work has been done to help combat drug addiction and overdose deaths in California. There are countless options for getting rehab care in California.

All it takes to get connected to one quality rehab center is a quick phone call. Reach out to an addiction professional that can answer all of your questions. Give us call at 402-268-9960 and point your life in a new direction with addiction treatment


The comprehensive response from the California government in regards to drug overdose has helped make progress. While fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are increasing in their ease of access on the streets, the overall rates of addiction and death from opioids has decreased. This is due to the hard work of many activists and policymakers throughout the state of California.

Drug overdose is something that can destroy lives, but there are treatment solutions to get away from it. Whatever services you need, let us help you find them.