Sun. May 26th, 2024


The Hollywood Hills are most definitely a brilliant spectacle, forever transfixed in the limelight of American culture. 


This is the center for film, for art, for culture, and for so many other things that not just the rest of America, but also the world, hold dear. 


But here’s the thing. 


There’s also a dark side to LA. 


There’s a dark side to all of the ‘shining’ and ‘glittering’ that Hollywood is known for on the silver screen. 


Substance abuse, addiction, homelessness, and mental illness are just a few of the plagues that torment this modern-day art utopia. 


The Two Faces Of Los Angeles

See, Los Angeles has two faces. 


There’s the friendly, glittering, shining face that you see in the media and in the tourist districts. 


You also see this in the cultural centers, and in the ‘rich’ parts of the city. 


But there’s also another side that a lot of people don’t know about. 


In this video, the YouTuber Drive With me takes viewers on a tour of LA. 


Here’s how he describes this interesting experience:


“Today, I’m going to drive you through the light and dark side of Los Angeles.” 


He also mentions how downtown Los Angeles switches from being a ‘light’ city to a ‘dark’ city in the span of just a single city block!


One moment, you’re driving through the area, seeing beautiful buildings and rich people driving nice cars. Then, the next minute, you see people literally sleeping on the streets! 


It’s incredible to behold. And a lot of people don’t realize exactly how stark of a contrast this is. 


As he approaches this area, he describes it like this:


“Ok guys. Slowly, I’m going to show you the dark side of downtown Los Angeles. It may shock you. But this is how this world is working. One block, people are partying, touring everywhere, and eating in restaurants. And in just one other block, that’s the dark side… this is the reality of our world today, and the reality of Los Angeles.”


Of course, as he drives, the abrupt change is apparent. 


It goes from being a bustling, fun nightlight center to being a city that seems dredged in poverty and squalor. 


Garbage litters the sides of the street. There are people sleeping in tents. There are literally rows of tents lining the sides of the streets, with trash piling up around them. 


Broken-down apartment buildings, abandoned commercial structures, and homeless camps abound in this dark section of the city. 


This is, in fact, why they call it the dark side of LA. 


Drug Use In LA County

One major issue that plagues Los Angeles is drug use. 


According to Evolve Treatment Centers, methamphetamine is the most pressing substance of concern in LA county nowadays. 


They say that almost half of everyone who dies of a toxic substance in LA County tests positive for meth. 


Meth also accounts for almost 33% of treatment admissions in the state. 


Of course, following close behind methamphetamine is a dangerous prescription opioid and heroin problem. 


According to statistics, 13.1% of all calls about illicit substances were related to prescription opioid use. Fentanyl use has also increased in LA County, which is another very concerning opioid that’s been seen in greater quantities on the streets in recent years. 


It’s also true that 8,400 LA Country residents sought treatment for heroin abuse in 2018. 


Is LA The Worst Place For Drugs In The United States?

Surprisingly, despite its bad reputation, Los Angeles isn’t the worst place for drug problems in the United States. 


For example: 


The opioid crisis sees higher addiction rates in states like Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Alabama. 


Alcohol abuse is also worse in other places, with states like Washington D.C., New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Delaware being marginally worse than California and Los Angeles. 



There you have it. 


A small look into the dark side of LA, and what it means for those who live there. 


Of course, you can only learn so much about it from an article. 


If you truly want to experience it, you may want to pay LA a visit. 


But be careful if you do travel to the dark side of the city. It isn’t altogether the ‘safest’ of places. 


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