Drug addiction in Los Angeles has often been called an urban problem, one that affects people in cities more than elsewhere in the country. However, recent statistics are showing that this trend, even if it did hold true in the past, most definitely doesn’t hold up today. With drugs like methamphetamine, opiates and prescription stimulants hitting the streets, fields and suburbs en masse, drug addiction isn’t just an urban problem anymore.
However, for Los Angeles, the images of drugs and cartel violence are hard to shake. But are they true?
Drug Addiction In Los Angeles
Drug addiction in Los Angeles isn’t extraordinary in any way – but it is well-covered. Being home to Hollywood, and given the tendency for affluence, fame and addiction to all go together, some people have a misconception that the streets of LA are lined with drug dealers getting rich off the entertainment industry.
But the drug addiction in Los Angeles isn’t comparable to some of the country’s most affected cities. In fact, the problem worsens up north, in places like Vermont, and the country’s capital at Washington, DC.
Ultimately, living in a big city like LA still carries its risks, but it is just as bad in other parts of the country.
Cities Struggle With Addiction (But Not As Much As You’d Think)
While the history of drug addiction in Los Angeles is comparatively well-known versus other cities throughout the United States, it’s far from being the country’s major drug metropolis. Beyond that, the truth is that drug use isn’t just an urban problem, or even just a rural problem – it’s a problem across the US, in street corners, suburb backyards and countryside farms alike. There may be a lot of drug addiction in Los Angeles, and it is a problem, but it’s a nation wide issue as well.
While addiction affects races and classes differently for a myriad of issues, in the bottom line it affects everyone. It’s a national issue, one that affects every demographic, and highlights the hidden anxieties in living in 21st century America. Among low income households, the anxiety and fear of living paycheck to paycheck, some months on no paycheck, creates an immense amount of stress.
For more affluent kids, being an heir or part of a rich family makes finding purpose difficult. Some struggle with being themselves, unable to overcome the shadow of their parents. Mix that with affluence, a large disposable income, and competitive upper-class schools, and many “spoiled brats” become the perfect target for talented drug dealers with quality product. In fact, America’s suburbia is an even bigger, fast growing market for the underground drug industry than any other demographic. No one abuses as many drugs as hard as upper-class kids.
In rural America, what used to be an insulator against urban societal problems has become a disadvantage, as pockets of poverty, lack of education and poor upwards mobility leads to many on the countryside struggling with life, and turning to drugs as part of a wide range of coping mechanisms.
With the drug market expanding through supplies from China – especially with extremely dangerous and unbelievably potent synthetic drugs like carfentanil, fentanyl, “bath salts” and synthetic cannabinoids – it’s easier than ever to cook up an amateur batch of drugs in a makeshift lab, even if said drugs lead to overdose. Supply is a big factor in LA, a large metropolis sitting geographically close to major drug export countries.
How Communities Can Come Together (And Stay Together) Against Addiction
Drug addiction is a nationwide issue, one that cannot just be tackled by sending men and boys of color to prison, or by cracking down on the symptoms of a greater problem. The war on drugs is a lacking approach to the country’s drug scourge, a problem that has roots in many other issues and can only be addressed through a more thorough diagnosis of our systems.
But until policy begins to bring changes like that into effect, the biggest and most important focus for each of us individually is seeking to bring change to our own communities. It starts at home, and in our very neighborhoods. Help one another out – don’t turn a blind eye towards someone struggling with addiction, or assume that their situation is one they deserve. Support and Los Angeles drug and alcohol rehab can go a long way towards helping someone recover – and education can go a long way towards preventing addiction. Drug addiction is not something for just Los Angeles to solve, but something the entire nation needs to come together on.