Alcohol and other drug abuse is a major factor in chronic disease, infectious disease, hospital emergency room visits, newborn health problems, violence and auto fatalities. According to a September 2006 report from the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, in 2004 it was estimated that of all Californians aged 12 years and older:
- 18.5 million persons used alcohol in the prior month
- 7.5 million persons were binge drinkers (drinking five+ drinks on 1 occasion during the prior month)
- 3.3 million persons used illicit drugs in the prior month
In California, the estimated 2005 cost of alcohol and other drug abuse to society was over $44 billion. This estimate takes into consideration loss of productivity, health care costs, prevention and treatment costs, criminal justice costs and losses due to crime.
Pacifica is not immune to substance abuse, especially among teenagers and young adults. A drunk-driving tragedy which took the lives of two young adults in early 2005 has served as a catalyst for increased community awareness of the problem of substance availability to minors. Several programs have been created in response, including the Partnership for a Safe and Healthy Pacifica and the Pacifica Police Department's COAST program, which educates merchants on alcohol sales to minors and conducts undercover sting operations at local businesses.
For more details on drug and alcohol abuse, consult the California Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center.
Additionally, the below fact sheets on the most commonly abused substances can be downloaded and printed.