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Drug Abuse Trends in Fresno, California

Fresno sits in the center of the San Joaquin Valley and is an agricultural hub for the state of California. Its mostly rural landscape makes it ideal for concealing clandestine drug labs and substance abuse. Once known as “The City Addicted to Crystal Meth,” Fresno has one of the highest rates for meth abuse in the country. Fresno County’s Department of Behavioral Health states that 29% of its residents abuse meth, while 25% abuse marijuana, 18% abuse heroin or other opiates, and 1.5% abuse cocaine/crack.

Such high rates of illicit substance abuse have contributed to high levels of crime, poverty, disease transmission, and child abuse in Fresno. It also has three times the national average of intravenous drug users, and those numbers continue to increase—17% more in 2015 than the previous year. In addition to violent crimes, those suffering a meth addiction can enter a “meth rage” and become a serious danger to themselves and those around them. The effects of meth may last up to 50 times longer than cocaine and can lead to paranoia and impaired cognitive ability. Chronic abuse of the harsh chemicals in meth may result in psychosis, wherein addiction sufferers hear voices and experience hallucinations.

After California enacted the Combat Methamphetamine Act in 2005, the sale of some cold medications containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine became regulated. This slowed the ability of many meth labs to produce large quantities of the drug. However, in the following years, Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) began importing meth through the US-Mexico border. From 2009 to 2010, methamphetamine busts in the Valley more than tripled. Today, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) believes that large tracts of farmland with isolated outbuildings still pose a substantial threat. According to the DEA, at least 80% of America’s meth reportedly comes from Fresno and surrounding areas of the Valley.

Addiction and Drug Abuse Statistics for Fresno


In 2014, there were 750 opioid prescriptions for every 1,000 Fresno County residents.


In 2014, 9% of Fresno high school students reported lifetime prescription painkiller use.


Among hospital admissions of residents over 55, heroin is the reported primary drug of choice.

The Rise of Opioid Abuse in Fresno

As the number of prescription painkillers being used in the US increased, the abuse of opioids and heroin has increased in the Valley as well. Especially common in Fresno is the abuse of fentanyl—a synthetic opioid and crossover drug for many heroin users. Prescription versions of fentanyl are powerful painkillers given to cancer patients and the terminally ill, while a street version is even more potent. Fentanyl is 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin; mere contact with skin can cause a fatal overdose.

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Addiction Treatment Services in Fresno

The County of Fresno Department of Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorders monitors the region’s treatment programs through careful accreditation and funding. Fresno focuses its addiction rehabilitation efforts on prevention, intervention, and treatment services, giving residents multiple opportunities to seek recovery within their area. Approximately 20 organizations offer substance use treatment services with a capacity of 3,800 individuals.

Public recovery services are available to everyone, with funding in place to secure treatment regardless of income. Though private treatment centers may be a better option for others. These centers may offer additional therapy methods and a wide array of amenities that can increase the comfortability of the treatment process.

If you or a loved one are battling addiction, there is hope. Contact a treatment provider today to discuss available treatment options.

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Government Programs

Find local government programs that promote sober living and will help you find peace in your day to day life.

Name Location Phone
Central California Narcotics Anonymous P.O. Box 27768
Fresno, CA 93729

College Programs

Health Services

Fresno Pacific University

1717 S. Chestnut Ave.
Fresno, CA 93702

Student Health and Counseling Center

California State University-Fresno

5044 N. Barton Avenue M/S HC 81
Fresno, CA 93740

AA and NA Meetings in Fresno

Name Address Fellowship Hours
Greater Fresno Area Intergroup Association 1755 N Gateway Blvd. Ste 102, Fresno, CA 93727 Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Monday: 10:30 am - 4:00 pm, Tuesday: 10:30 am - 4:00 pm, Wednesday: 10:30 am - 4:00 pm, Thursday: 10:30 am - 4:00 pm, Friday: 10:30 am - 4:00 pm, Saturday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

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