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Drug Abuse Trends in Ontario, CA

Ontario, California, in the southwestern portion of San Bernardino County, is home to 163,924 residents. The city forms both the western part of the Inland Empire metro and the eastern suburbs of the Greater Los Angeles area. Subsequently, a majority of Ontario’s substance abuse issues stem from these populations. Narcotics units and traffic police consistently confiscate large amounts of illicit drugs (typically cocaine, meth, and heroin). However, alcohol abuse and drunk driving remain major issues for the area.

From 2013 to 2014, addiction treatment admissions to San Bernardino County facilities increased by 10% – alcohol admissions had the greatest single increase at 29%.

The county saw 10% more traffic accidents involving alcohol between 2013 and 2014. During the same time, statewide alcohol-involved accidents fell by 1%. The rate of alcohol-related deaths also continued to increase while drug-related ones declined. Between 2010 and 2015, deaths caused by chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (commonly linked to alcohol abuse) rose, surpassing state rates.

Prescription Opioids and Heroin Abuse in Ontario

Though California’s rate of opioid addiction and overdose death are nearly a third of nationwide rates, heroin-related emergency room visits have doubled or tripled in some areas since 2010. In 2017, almost 22 million opioid prescriptions were written in the state, with 1.4 million in San Bernardino County. There were also 2,196 opioid overdose deaths and 429 fentanyl-related deaths. Heroin-related emergency room visits climbed among the overall population but was led by a surge among people aged 30 to 39 from 2014 to 2015. The annual crude mortality rate for the county has increased 35% since 2015.

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Substance Abuse Statistics for Ontario



San Bernardino County treatment admission for meth abuse increased by 26% between 2010 and 2015.


opioid-related ER visits

In 2017 in California, opioid overdose (excluding heroin) contributed to 4,281 emergency room visits.



Of all serious traffic collisions in San Bernardino County, 12% involved alcohol.

Addiction Treatment in Ontario

Ontario, like many California cities, has taken a few important steps to make addiction treatment accessible for its residents. In 2018, Governor Brown signed multiple bills into law, a majority aimed at regulating the addiction treatment industry in the state. SB 823 requires all licensed rehabs to implement the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s treatment requirements as a minimum standard of care. This will allow more people entering detox and rehab the opportunity to take addiction treatment medicine (like buprenorphine) to manage their symptoms of withdrawal or drug cravings.

Studies show that opioid addiction treatment medication yields a success rate between 60% and 90%.

San Bernardino County also provides “a full range of substance use disorder treatment services” to residents regardless of background. However, priority admission to treatment will be given to pregnant women, people who inject drugs, and those in need of treatment. Services are available through county clinics and contracted organizations.

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Detox should be done under managed care to reduce withdrawal symptoms and increase comfortability and the chances of a successful recovery. To learn more about your options for detox and drug or alcohol rehab, contact a treatment provider today.

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