Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse: Opiates

What California Cities are the Hardest-Hit by Opioid Deaths?

Without question, drug overdose death in the United States is on the rise. Unfortunately, California has been one of the hardest hit in terms of opioid involved overdose deaths.

Between 2020 and 2021, the California Department of Health Care (DHCS) reported a 70 percent increase in overdose deaths among California residents. Further, the majority of these residents died after overdosing on opioid drugs. This tragic trend with the opioid epidemic in CA and the entire country reflects what has been called the “worst public health crisis in American history” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC.

Overdose Deaths United States vs Overdose Deaths California

According to vital statistics, drug overdose death associated with all opioids hit more than 68,000 in 2020. This is a death rate of 20.8 per 100,000 residents. In California in 2020, more than 5,500 residents died from overdose deaths involving opioids of all types. This is a death rate of 14 residents per 100,000. While the death rate for opioid involved overdose deaths in the full state is slightly below the national average, some areas have been hit much harder than others. Furthermore, a lack of adequate or accessible treatment is lacking in many areas.

California Cities with the Highest Opioid Deaths Reported

Pinpointing exactly which parts of the state are experiencing the highest overdose deaths involving opioids helps authorities decide where to concentrate prevention and treatment efforts and allocate limited state resources. Therefore, many cities have created a reporting system to keep closer tabs on the opioid epidemic in their geographic locations.

Here are the 21 cities/zip codes in California that suffered the worst rates of fatal opioid poisoning:

(per 100,000 residents)

  1. 95550 (Korbel, Humboldt County): 545.84, population 147
  2. 96117 (Litchfield, Lassen County): 212.76, pop. 195
  3. 95565 (Scotia, Humboldt County): 161.48, pop. 850
  4. 95968 (Palermo, Butte County): 158.85, pop. 5382
  5. 91962 (Pine Valley, San Diego County): 142.98, pop. 1510
  6. 96044 (Hornbrook, Siskiyou County): 127.84, pop. 248
  7. 95979 (Lodoga, Colusa County): 112.28, pop. 197
  8. 95468 (Point Area, Mendocino County): 110.75, pop. 449
  9. 95310 (Columbia, Tuolumne County): 107.29, pop. 2297
  10. 92059 (Pala, San Diego County): 92.26, pop. 1820
  11. 96128 (Standish, Lassen County): 84.95, pop. 758
  12. 96062 (Millville, Shasta County): 84.63, pop. 727
  13. 95464 (Laytonville, Mendocino County): 83.04, pop. 1227
  14. 95977 (Smartville, Yuba County): 81.42, pop. 177
  15. 95528 (Carlotta, Humboldt County): 77.37, pop. 1273
  16. 95415 (Boonville, Mendocino County): 76.2, pop. 1035
  17. 95501 (Eureka, Humboldt County): 73.32, pop. 27,226
  18. 92661 (Newport Beach, Orange County): 72.89, pop. 86,688
  19. 95685 (Sutter Creek, Amador County):68.56, pop. 2501
  20. 95469 (Potter Valley, Mendocino County): 65.3, pop. 646
  21. 93240 (Bakersfield, Kern County): 65.21, pop. 365,000

While most of these towns are in the North, Central and Southern California also have zip codes with opioid overdose death rates that have reached crisis levels. This highlights the fact that opioid abuse in California is not just a geographic problem, it is an availability problem. That conclusion is supported by the number of small communities that are being impacted.

A Scarcity of Opioid Treatment Options

Access to treatment could be driving the opioid overdose crisis in CA. For example, most experts in the addiction recovery field agree that Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) provides individuals struggling with prescription opioids with their best chance at successfully and safely recovering their long-term sobriety. MAT is a strategy utilizing both psychosocial counseling and FDA-approved medications to combat substance withdrawal and cravings. Unfortunately, however, MAT simply isn’t a realistic option in some areas.

In Korbel, for instance, where the opioid death rate is the highest in the state, there are no MAT facilities nearby. In fact, the closest rehab program offering MAT is over 150 miles away, which means a THREE-HOUR one-way commute for those seeking treatment. This single example underscores the need for expanded treatment options all over the state.

Break Free from Prescription Drug or Illicit Drug Addiction with Our Help

Chapman House drug rehab in Orange County is a highly trusted resource for addiction recovery. Since 1978, Chapman House has provided premier, evidence-based treatment for addictive and co-occurring mental disorders. If you or someone you care about is dependent on or addicted to opioid painkillers or illicit drugs, the expert staff at Chapman House can help. Reach out to find out more about our programs.



Most Popular Articles

More Articles