From FY1112-FY2122, there were 32,900 admissions to publicly funded substance use disorder treatment programs in Los Angeles County (LAC) that listed prescription opioids as the primary drug problem. In FY2122, 4,246 unique patients accounting for 5,941 primary prescription opioid admissions were served.
The number of primary prescription opioid treatment admissions to LAC publicly funded SUD treatment programs decreased by 36% from FY1617 to FY1819, and then increased by 199% from FY1819 to FY2122 (Figure 1).
Primary prescription opioid admissions were highest among those aged 26-34, then decreased with age (Figure 2).
Starting in FY1819, primary prescription opioid admissions increased through FY2122 for all age groups. The increases were especially pronounced among those aged 18-25 and 26-34, which increased by 720% and by 285%, respectively (Figure 3).
Males accounted for 57% of primary Rx opioid treatment admissions to publicly funded treatment programs from FY1112-FY2122 in LAC (Figures 4-5).
Whites accounted for a majority (54%) of primary prescription opioid admissions, followed by Latinxs (29%), and Blacks (11%) (Figure 6).
From FY1819-FY2122, primary prescription opioid admissions increased by 308% among Latinxs and by 187% among Whites (Figure 7).
From FY1112-FY2122, there were 192,240 admissions to publicly funded substance use disorder treatment programs in LAC that listed heroin as the primary drug problem. In FY2122, 8,634 unique patients accounting for 11,022 primary heroin admissions were served.
Primary heroin treatment admissions increased 24% from FY1112 to FY1617, then decreased 52% from FY1617 to FY2122 (Figure 8).
Primary heroin admissions were highest for those aged 26-34 and 45-54 years (Figure 9).
Primary heroin decreased for all ages starting in FY1617, except for those aged 65+ who continue on an increasing trend (Figure 10).
Males accounted for 70% of primary heroin treatment admissions to publicly funded treatment programs from FY1112-FY2122 (Figure 11).
The gender distribution for primary heroin treatment admissions remained stable over the last decade (Figure 12).
Whites accounted for 48% of primary heroin admissions in LAC, followed by Latinxs (40%), and Blacks (8%) (Figure 13).
Primary heroin admissions have been decreasing since FY1617 for all race/ethnic groups (Figure 14).
Using FDA-approved medications to complement behavioral therapy can be more effective than using either treatment method alone for treating opioid use disorders. However, the availability of MAT has been historically limited by several factors, some of which include a shortage of qualified prescribers, a lack of knowledge about these options by patients and health professionals, cultural resistance to the use of MAT, as well as financial and regulatory challenges.
In California and Los Angeles County, the rate of prescriptions for buprenorphine, a medication that can be used in MAT for opioid use disorders, increased from 2011 to 2013, then plateaued and began to decrease through 2020 before increasing in 2021 (Figure 15).
Primary prescription opioid treatment admissions that were prescribed medications as part of their treatment plan at admission in LAC increased from 73% in FY1112 to 82% in FY1617, decreased to 69% in FY1819, before increasing again to 73% in FY2122 (Figure 16).
Primary heroin treatment admissions that were prescribed medications as part of their treatment plan at admission in LAC increased from 86% in FY1112 to 89% in FY1617, decreased to 72% in FY1819, before increasing again to 81% in FY2122 (Figure 17).
Figures 1-14, 16-17 Los Angeles County Participant Reporting System data. Substance Abuse Prevention and Control, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Figure 15. California Department of Public Health (CDPH). California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard. Accessed from https://skylab.cdph.ca.gov/ODdash/ on November 29, 2022.