Drug & Alcohol Overdose Hospitalization & Death in Orange County

This report provides a summary of the leading causes of substance-related overdoses in Orange County. Compiled in collaboration with the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Division, the report found that the overall rate of drug/alcohol overdose deaths in the County increased by 82% since 2000.

While Orange County has lower drug and alcohol mortality rates compared to the nation and state, notable differences and risk factors were identified for some of our residents. For example, males were nearly two times more likely than females to be hospitalized for and/or die from a drug/alcohol-related incident. Additionally, cities along the coastal and southern regions of Orange County tended to have higher rates of drug/alcohol-related hospitalizations and death than other cities.

Other key findings include:

  • Drug/alcohol overdoses, or poisonings, resulted in over 5,500 hospitalizations and nearly 700 deaths among Orange County residents each year.
  • There were nearly 70,000 hospital bed-days with an average stay length of 4.3 days, which resulted in approximately $430 million in total charges.
  • All Coroner-investigated overdose deaths indicated a majority were accidental (78.6%), with over half involving prescription drugs (51.8%), and 66.8% related to opioid use.
  • Over half of all opioid-related overdoses were due to prescription opioids (56.0%; e.g., OxyContin, Hydrocodone).
  • Coroner-investigated overdose cases demonstrated females were 1.6 times more likely than males to overdose from prescription drugs and the proportion of prescription drug overdoses increased with age group starting with the 35 to 44 year age group (46.1%) to 65 years and older (87.4%).

View 2017 Report

View Drug/Alcohol Morbidity Mortality Story Map

 

The study, done in collaboration with the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Division, found that the overall rate of drug/alcohol overdose deaths in the County increased by 51% between 2000 and 2012. 
Some other key findings of the report include:Drug & Alcohol Overdose Hospitalization & Death in Orange County Report

  • Drug/alcohol overdoses, or poisonings, resulted in over 5,000 hospitalizations and nearly 600 deaths among Orange County residents each year. 
  • More than half (54%) of all such hospitalizations involved drugs, most of which were poisonings due to benzodiazepine tranquilizers (e.g., Xanax, Valium) or opioid substances (e.g., OxyContin, Heroin). 
  • Over one-third (35%) of all overdose deaths in the Orange County were due to using multiple drugs and/or alcohol at the same time.
  • Coroner investigations found that prescription medications were the most frequently used substances, the majority of which involved opioid pain medications (e.g., OxyContin, Hydrocodone).
  • Nearly 8 in 10 overdose deaths were accidental, and nearly half of those unintentional deaths were due to prescription medications.
  • Geographically, cities along the coastal regions of Orange County tended to have higher rates of drug/alcohol-related hospitalizations and death than other cities.
     

View 2014 Report

View Fact Sheet