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Alcohol Use in California: Its Impact on Families and Society

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Home Addiction Alcohol Use in California: Its Impact on Families and Society

Alcohol use in California is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Alcohol use is also responsible for high rates of crime and the associated costs. Millions of families suffer the death of a loved one due to alcohol-related accidents or health issues. However, despite the increasing number of deaths and ruined lives, alcohol remains widely accessible.

As one of the most densely populated areas of California, Los Angeles County has more than its share of alcohol-related issues.  Here are some surprising facts to help you better understand the alcohol crisis in LA County.

Alcohol-Related Deaths in California Continue to Rise

It’s hard to determine whether people are drinking more, or if there are simply more people drinking.  Either way, alcohol-related deaths in California are on the rise.  According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), alcohol-related deaths rose 20% a year from 2019 to 2021.

In 2021, about 19,335  people died from alcohol-related causes. The main causes of alcohol-related deaths for males include liver disease, other poisonings, and vehicle accidents.  For females, the three top causes of alcohol-related death are liver disease, hypertension, and other poisoning.  Another poisoning refers to the presence of another substance in addition to a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC). 

Costs of Alcohol Abuse in Los Angeles County

Here in Southern California, the rate of alcohol-related problems is higher than average, especially in Los Angeles County.  As a result, the cost of alcohol abuse in Los Angeles County is around $11 billion annually.

An estimated $4 billion of that $11 billion goes to funding alcohol-related crime, traffic offenses, and other related costs.

Alcohol use in California leads to increases in the following:

  • Violent crime
  • ER visits
  • Hospitalizations
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Deaths

Of the 40,669 vehicle crashes that caused injury or death in LA County last year, 6,414 involved alcohol.  More than 2,500 deaths are caused by alcohol in the county each year.

Underage Alcohol Use in California Is Significant

Teen alcohol use is a significant problem in LA County.  Statistics from the County of Los Angeles Public Health show one in seven underage drinkers started drinking before age 13.  

Underage drinking in CA is a serious problem.  In LA County alone, there are thousands of establishments where alcohol is sold.  It’s easy for determined adolescents to find a source of alcohol and spend the weekend binge drinking.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with one weekend of drinking.  The behavior often leads to lifelong alcohol or substance abuse problems.

Teens surveyed about their alcohol use admit that they got the alcohol from their home or a friend’s home.   The survey also shows that about 33% of high school seniors admitted to drinking alcohol within the past 30 days.  

LA County Alcohol Abuse Prevention Measures 

Alcohol abuse in California has reached an unprecedented level. In areas with a high density of alcohol outlets, rates of crime, vehicle accidents, and alcohol-related hospitalizations are higher.  

As part of the approach to reducing alcohol-related harms, public health officers want to limit the density of alcohol outlets.  In Los Angeles County there are about 16 alcohol outlets per 10,000 people.  That works out to about four outlets per square mile.  

They also plan to assist communities in creating strategies for reducing alcohol consumption. The strategies include:

  • Reducing or stopping alcohol sales to minors
  • Expanding education and awareness to youth on the dangers of alcohol.
  • Taking steps to reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising.
  • Limiting the density of alcohol outlets.
  • Increasing alcohol taxes to reduce over-consumption.
  • Screening and behavioral counseling.

Fortunately, alcohol abuse can be treated successfully.  However, many people who need treatment don’t get it.  In light of this, treatment providers and policymakers in LA County are working together to expand the options.  Also, healthcare providers are encouraged to follow up with patients who need alcohol treatment to ensure they received it.  

Public perception of drinking contributes to the widespread problems of alcohol use.  Because alcohol is legal and an acceptable form of socializing, it’s easy to overindulge.  Of course, some people can limit their alcohol intake, while others can’t seem to get enough.  In the end, it can ruin a person’s life.

Alcohol Treatment at Design for Change in LA County, California

At Design for Change, we want to do our part in addressing alcohol use in California.  We provide a unique, evidence-based approach to treating alcohol addiction.  Our program includes a range of therapies and options that can be customized for each client’s specific circumstances.

Our goal is to help a person understand why they abuse alcohol so they can avoid it in the future.  They learn effective strategies for managing triggers and gain the confidence and skills needed to maintain long-term sobriety.

Get in touch with Design for Change in Lancaster, CA if you’d like to learn more about the treatment options we offer.  You can contact us by phone, email, or online.  We will be happy to help you choose a treatment plan that is right for your needs.


Alcohol Use in California: Its Impact on Families and Society