Deaths due to alcohol and drugs are on the rise in Orange County according to a new report. Overdoses have increased by 80% since the year 2000.
County reports show that drug overdoses have killed 1,769 Orange County residents over the last five years. In 2016 alone, more than 400 fatal drug overdoses were reported. More than two-thirds of those, involved opioids including commonly prescribed painkillers such as Percocet, OxyContin and Vicodin. Cities along the coast and south Orange County have the highest rates of hospitalizations and overdoses.
The latest figures show how much of a problem opioid abuse has become for Orange County residents and the rest of the United States.
As doctors and pharmacies have tightened requirements for those medications, addicts often turn to other options to satisfy their high including heroin and Fentanyl, a potent opioid that can be anywhere from 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Health officials say Orange County has a lower drug mortality rate than the rest of the country.