The Landscape of Drug Abuse in Huntington Beach: Statistics and More
It isn’t easy to ask for help. Residents of Huntington Beach who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse may feel a sense of shame about their situation. That shame may prevent them from reaching out for the help they need.
Addiction is not a choice. It’s a relapsing disease that requires treatment. We wouldn’t feel a sense of shame about regularly seeing a doctor to manage arthritis or kidney disease, and we shouldn’t feel shame about getting addiction treatment when it’s needed.
Nonprofit and Low-Cost Options in Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach is home to many treatment programs that can help people to overcome addictions to drugs and alcohol. Some of these programs even offer treatment to those who cannot pay for care.
Comprehensive addiction care can come with a hefty price tag, especially for those who do not have deep savings accounts or generous insurance coverage to rely on. But even those who might struggle to pay for traditional addiction care can get the help they need in Huntington Beach, as there are several nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies that are designed to help those in need.
- Los Angeles Christian Health Centers: This organization is located just a few miles outside of Huntington Beach. Los Angeles Christian Health Centers offers mental health services and social services to those in need in the Los Angeles area. They provide counselors who can assess the severity of an addiction and design treatment programs that can help. The group can provide counseling along with medical care to address the physical damage caused by addiction.
- American Indian Health and Services: Those of Native American heritage can get help in nearby Santa Barbara through the American Indian Health and Services organization. This group provides behavioral health care for those in need, including both individual and group counseling. If people need more intense care and the group isn’t able to meet that need, professionals can offer referrals to other organizations as needed.
- Adult and Older Adult Behavioral Health: Orange County also offers programs to residents in need through the Adult and Older Adult Behavioral Health (AOABH) program. This organization offers: Addiction assessments and evaluations, Individual therapy, Group therapy, Medication management, Referrals, Crisis intervention, Residential care
It is an appropriate level of care for those with mental illnesses complicated by addiction, as well as those with conventional addictions that have no mental health component. As a county-funded program, some of the cost of care is covered by taxpayer dollars.
Referrals and Support
Since there are so many treatment options available, it can be difficult for people to understand where to start the search and what should happen next.
The OC Links program, provided by the Orange County Health Care Agency can help. Here, people can call a hotline and get a referral to behavioral health programs run through the agency. There is no cost to call, and those who do will be connected with trained navigators that can help.
As part of a comprehensive plan to address addiction, people may choose to go to meetings that follow the Alcoholics Anonymous model. According to Orange County Alcoholics Anonymous, there are many meetings held within Huntington Beach every day. There are specialized meetings for those who speak Spanish, for young people, for those in the gay community, and more. Often, these meetings are held in HOW Hall, which is located in the heart of Huntington Beach. HOW Hall exists, according to the organization’s website, to provide a safe space for 12-step meetings. It could become your home away from home as you fight addiction.
Opioid Abuse in Huntington Beach
The community of Huntington Beach is commonly known as “Surf City.” According to the California Travel and Tourism Commission, surfing sets the tone in the community, all year long.
A community based on surfing can seem incredibly idyllic, but Huntington Beach is not immune to problems caused by substance abuse. According to The Frisky, there have been about 1,500 cases of opioid overdoses in the area since 2001. In the majority of cases, they happened to young adults or teenagers.
Opioids can be surprisingly strong, and their power can quickly overwhelm the vital portions of the brain that control heart rate and breathing. Those who take opioid doses that are too large can grow so sedated that they slide into a coma-like state and die.
As a result, communities like Huntington Beach have begun cracking down on both the illicit use and the sale of opioids. Being caught with the medications without a prescription for the use could lead to convictions and time in jail. Those who want to avoid a jail term must sometimes go to extreme measures in order to avoid conviction.
That may be what happened in Huntington Beach in 2018, when a large batch of pills was dumped in a park popular with birds. According to WVTM 13, the birds in the park began to eat these drugs, and two of these birds required medical care in order to recover. It’s quite possible that the people who dumped the pills could have sold them, but the person didn’t want to be caught with so many pills, so dumping them seemed a wiser course.
A Community Effort
The Orange County Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board is looking for ways to educate the community about the risks of drug use, and the group hopes to offer programs that can reduce the amount of drugs that enter the community. This organization could help to curb drug abuse, as it may make drugs a little harder to find.
Huntington Beach is working to heal from the damage of widespread addiction. Through community efforts to reduce the availability of prescription drugs to better regulation of treatment providers and sober living homes, the community is aiming to reduce rates of addiction and overdose within its borders.