Public Health Topics
Substance Use & Abuse

Beach Cities Health District has identified substance use prevention for youth, and substance abuse prevention for adults and older adults, as health priorities in 2019-22. 

Unintentional drug overdose is the second-leading cause of premature death in Los Angeles County. In 2019, 88% of overdose deaths in the United States were unintentional (CDC, 2020).

Red Ribbon Week
Beach Cities Health District and the Beach Cities Partnership for Youth Coalition are raising awareness about prevention of youth substance use during Substance Abuse Prevention Month in October and Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 23-31. Learn More

Substance Use Quick Facts - Youth

  • According to the California Health Kids Survey, students in the Beach Cities report high rates of alcohol and drug usage.
  • Self-report of current alcohol or drug use doubles between 9th grade to 11th grade among Beach Cities adolescents, which is significantly higher than the Los Angeles Unified School District and state-level trends.
  • By 11th grade, more than 20% of students report using alcohol or drugs in the past 30 days.

Resources for Parents

  • South Bay Families Connected: Supporting parents in their efforts to help their kids reach their full potential and live healthy, fulfilled lives. South Bay Families Connected offers parents free resources, education and opportunities to connect.
  • Prevention Community Council: A consortium of beach city community stakeholders working together to reduce drinking and illicit drug use by teens.
  • First Step: Torrance Memorial's Thelma McMillen Center offers a free, four-week early prevention program for teens and their parents.
  • STOP Underage Drinking: National Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD) including comprehensive research and resources on prevention.
  • Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: National organization working to reduce substance abuse among adolescents by supporting families and engaging with teens.
  • Freedom4U: Freedom4U helps identify, develop and release the potential of youth into their life purpose by offering peer-driven healthy activities such as creative arts, life skills, service projects and leadership opportunities to youth in the South Bay/Harbor Area of L.A.

Substance Use Quick Facts - Adults

  • Heavy drinking is typically defined as having 15 or more drinks per week for men and 8 or more drinks per week for women.
  • In the Beach Cities, 9.3% of adults report having 15 or more drinks per week, and this is especially prominent among young adults ages 18 to 29, with 16.7% of young adults reporting having 15 or more drinks per week.
  • Compared to the Los Angeles County rate of 3.5% of heavy drinking, the Beach Cities alcohol consumption rates are alarmingly high.
  • Similarly, more than 13% of Beach Cities adults use drugs or medication almost every day to help them relax or affect their mood. While this number is lower than the state and national rates, young adults ages 18-29 again outpace national averages, with 23% report using drugs or medication to help them relax.

Other Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Resources

Data Sources: Gallup National Health and Well-being Index (WBI); Los Angeles County Health Survey; California Healthy Kids Survey; Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Preventing Youth Alcohol Use
Talk to Your Kids About Vaping
Opioids & Prescription Drugs
Tobacco Information and Cessation Resources