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Irvine Drug Abuse: Trends, Statistics, and How to Find Help

Irvine has been called one of the safest cities in California. In fact, in an article published in The Orange County Register, a man who studies crime and lives in Irvine is the butt of jokes, as his colleagues claim that he has nothing to study in his hometown. Crime just isn’t prevalent in the planned community of Irvine as it might be elsewhere in California.

That does not mean Irvine is free of other problems. In reality, Irvine residents are dealing with the very real impact of addictions.

Addiction Problems

For some, the addictions begin with teenage experimentation. They dabble in drugs or alcohol as part of a pattern of teenage curiosity or rebellion, and in time, they find they can no longer control when they use drugs or how much they take when they do take in drugs.

For others, addictions begin due to workplace pressures. They lean on substances to help them cope with their jobs and the struggles they must deal with every day. In time, the drugs become a critical part of life that they have no control over.

No matter how your addiction began, there are treatments available that can help you get control once more. Many of the treatments you need are available right here in Irvine. There are publically funded or charitable programs nearby that can help you get care even if you can’t pay for it, and there are private-pay options that can help you get control too.

Irvine, CA

Where to Find Help in Irvine, California

Many people in the United States know that addictions are prevalent and devastating. People with this knowledge can be moved to help, and sometimes, the best way to help involves donating to help people in need.

Yellowstone Recovery is the recipient of generosity like this. This nonprofit organization accepts donations that can be used to cover treatment costs for those who cannot pay for care. Those who can pay for care, including those who have insurance coverage, are expected to pay for their care to the best of their ability. But charitable funds can be used to cover the other costs.

While some organizations offer care funded by donations, there are others that provide care funded through taxes and governmental agencies. KC Services is an organization that provides addiction care through both sources of funding.

KC Services provides programs for those who have faced law enforcement action due to drug abuse. Most of these programs are offered on an outpatient basis, and they are made to help you understand how addiction works and avoid future run-ins with the law. In addition, the organization offers private counseling to those with addiction, and there are programs available for those who have Medi-Cal insurance. According to the organization’s website, KC Services is dedicated to providing care to communities that are underserved, and it could be a good option for those with addictions and no way to pay for care.

Addictions can cause more than just mental distress. Using drugs can also take a toll on your body, and when you’re not feeling well, it can be hard to focus on your mental health and recovery.

Hurtt Family Health Clinic offers both counseling for addiction as well as medical care for physical problems caused by addiction. The clinic offers outpatient mental health counseling for addiction, and there are family counseling services for those that need to heal relationship issues as well as personal issues. Costs are kept low, but patients are expected to contribute for the services they need.

For those with significant health issues caused by addiction, UCI Health may be a good option. This organization offers a Charity Care program in which emergency and medically necessary care is offered to patients at low or no cost. Those hoping to enroll need to provide proof of income, along with financial statements that demonstrate they have few assets and many liabilities, but once that paperwork is provided, people can get the care they need with no expectation that they will pay those costs back. It is unclear if this organization provides mental health services, but physical care is certainly provided.

In addition to counseling and medical care, people with addictions often benefit from speaking with others that are working through an addiction issue. Orange County Alcoholics Anonymous reports that there are nearly 1,400 meetings in the county every week. Here, people can meet others dealing with addictions, and they can learn more about how addictions work from their peers. There is no cost to attend meetings, and all information is kept confidential. Some people find that attending meetings helps them to feel clear and focused between therapy sessions, and some use meetings as a form of aftercare when formal treatment programs are complete.

This is just a sampling of the organizations that can offer treatment help and recovery support in Irvine at a low cost or for free. There are many more, including private programs.

Irvine CA from the water

Understanding Irvine

Irvine is often associated with good fiscal health. For example, in research cited by The Orange County Register, Irvine was ranked at the top of all other populous cities in the nation, based on debt or surplus per capita. Statistics like this showcase how community leaders work hard to balance the books, so the city has the resources required to keep the community functioning at an optimal level. Some of those resources are used to help with addiction issues, but there is quite a bit of work left to be done.

According to UCI Health, one person in Orange County dies every other day due to an accidental prescription medication overdose. This is remarkably easy to do.

Brain cells become accustomed to the presence of drugs, and the cells stop responding to low amounts of the drug. In order to feel the sensations commonly associated with drugs, people must take larger amounts of the drugs they crave. Chasing that high can mean sedating the body to such a degree that breathing stops, and death can follow.

Getting treatment can help, but for some, it’s difficult to recognize addiction or research treatment programs. For some people, the only treatment they receive is in the corrections system.

Addiction treatments do not have to be voluntary in order to work. A treatment program that helps people to recognize how the addiction began and that offers tools people can use to deal with cravings can help people to get better, whether they want that treatment or not. Even programs given in prison can help. But changes to California’s prison system make getting that care even harder.

According to research done for the Desert Sun, Proposition 47 scaled back mandatory convictions and long prison sentences for drug addiction. In theory, the legislation was designed to offer comprehensive addiction treatment for those who needed it, but that treatment hasn’t materialized. That could result in many people in Irvine with an addiction, a criminal record, and no treatment options available.

recovery sign

How the Community Is Working Together

While some of the news about addictions in Irvine is bleak, there is good cause for optimism. Community leaders are stepping up to try to stop the cycle of addiction before it begins.

The Irvine Police Department uses the DARE program to encourage young people to avoid drugs. Police officers are given 80 hours of special training or more, and then they head into the community to educate students about:

  • Interpersonal communication.
  • Self-esteem.
  • Assertiveness.
  • Anger management.
  • Decision-making processes.
  • Peer pressure.
  • Alternatives to substance abuse.

This program encourages young people to avoid early drug use, and that could lead to lower addiction levels in time.

The Orange County Collaborative on Prescription Drug Abuse is working to help reduce the amount of prescription medications available to those who want to abuse them. The organization educates hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers about safe prescribing practices, and they inform people in the community about how to dispose of drugs safely.

With a program like this in place, it could be harder for someone with an addiction to both find and access substances to abuse. They would not be able to sort through a medicine cabinet of a friend or neighbor and find drugs to score. They also wouldn’t be able to jump from doctor to doctor in order to get a prescription for the drugs they crave. The supply could be locked down, and that could lead to higher recovery rates.

We Can Help

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we believe in Irvine. We know that addictions can be effectively treated, as we help families to recover every single day in our facility in Costa Mesa. We offer both inpatient and outpatient care for addiction, and our aftercare approach ensures that you have the tools you need to maintain sobriety when formal treatment is through.

We can help you find the recovery you’ve been looking for, and calling is the first step. Contact us to find out more about how we can help and what we can do for you.


Is Irvine Becoming Less Safe as the City Grows? Here’s What the Data Show. (April 2017). The Orange County Register.

About Yellowstone Recovery. Yellowstone Recovery.

Substance Abuse. KC Services.

About. KC Services.

Behavioral Health and Counseling. Hurtt Family Health Clinic.

Financial Assistance and Charity Care. UCI Health.

Orange County Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous.

Irvine is Ranked the No. 1 City in the Nation for Good Fiscal Health, Report Says. (January 2018). The Orange County Register.

Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise in Orange County. (March 2016). UCI Health.

Two Years After Prop 47, Addicts Walk Free With Nowhere to Go. (December 2016). Desert Sun.

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). Irvine Police Department.

About Us. Orange County Collaborative on Prescription Drug Abuse.

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