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OC Health Care Agency Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 18, 2014

Contact: Deanne Thompson,, 714-834-2178

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Works in Orange County

(Santa Ana) – A new report from the Orange County Health Care Agency found that adult clients of the County’s drug and alcohol treatment programs experienced significant reduction in drug use, improved health, and social functioning; increased employment rates; and a reduction in arrest, incarceration and reliance on medical services. The report examines the treatment outcomes for over 11,000 clients of Behavioral Health – Substance Use Disorder services between 2011 and 2013.

“We know that treatment works and can reduce drug/alcohol misuse and dependence,” said Mary Hale, County Health Behavioral Health Officer. “In addition to reduced drug and alcohol use, our clients also reported improvements in other areas of their lives such as decreased arrests and increased employment – becoming more productive members of our community.”

Drugs of choice shifted across the adult lifespan. While heroin addiction was the second most common reason for seeking treatment in young adulthood, alcohol abuse became a more common problem requiring treatment later in adulthood (after age 35). Marijuana was the primary drug of choice for most (63%) teenage clients entering treatment. For adults, the primary drugs of choice were methamphetamine (44% of admissions), heroin (20%), alcohol (18%), and marijuana (13%).

The County’s Substance Use Disorder programs work to help improve the lives of individuals and families experiencing problems related to alcohol and substance use. Most clients were men (63%), non-Hispanic white (55%) or Hispanic (36%), and were between the ages of 18 and 45 years old (76%).

In addition to a 53% reduction in drug use, adult clients also showed marked improvements in health and social functioning:
•65% fewer arrested and 74% reduction in incarcerations
•107% increase in employment
•32% reduction in ER visits and 42% reduction in hospitalizations
•52% reduction in serious family conflicts
•59% fewer clients living with an alcohol or other drug user
•32% increase in use of social support recovery services

Teen clients also showed notable reductions in drug use, and improvements in health and social functioning. These client outcomes show that treatment not only results in decreases in drug use and criminal involvement, but also improvements in all life domains of those served by these programs.

The Health Care Agency offers several different public education, treatment and counseling services aimed at reducing the misuse and abuse of drugs and alcohol among Orange County residents. If you or someone you know needs help please call 855-OC-Links (855-625-4657) or visit:

The report used data from the 2011-2013 California Outcomes Measurement System for county residents. A summary of the report and fact sheet are available online at:

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By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

One thought on “Drug and alcohol abuse treatment works in Orange County”
  1. This is good news!

    As you know, my Son was picked up for narcotics possession here in Orange Park Acre’s Earlier this year.

    Lucky for us, our good friend is a criminal defense attorney (he represents REA BAD GUYS, Like La Eme), so were working on a diversion program.

    We can’t understand it, we give our kids EVERYTHING, they don’t work, they go to the finst schools we buy them cars and let them show off to or friends who live in Santa Ana, yet mi eijo get’s picked up with four ounces of RAW CRANK!

    Hopefully he gets the help he needs.

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