Escalon is located in California’s Central Valley. It is an attractive city of 7,065 persons in a productive area of San Joaquin County. The city is surrounded on all sides by scenic agricultural land and open spaces. Escalon continues to foster its goal of maintaining a vibrant and diversified community. The City’s mission statement of “Taking pride in our community through quality service” is apparent through the aggressive policies adopted to preserve a family atmosphere and high quality of life. Escalon boasts a low crime rate, an award-winning school district, quality residential homes and a quaint, 1920’s era downtown.

Escalon is geographically located on Highway 120 in between the San Francisco Bay area and the historic Mother Lode leading to Yosemite National Park. Just minutes from Stockton, Modesto, and Manteca, Escalon offers a central location with direct access to all modes of transportation.

Escalon has a large agricultural industry which is based on the fertile farmland surrounding the city. DeRuosi Nut, one of the largest and most reputable walnut processing plants in the world, lies in the heart of Escalon, accounting for its great deal of agricultural urban living. Escalon is always growing its agriculture in new ways.

San Joaquin County was one of the original United States counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. The county was named for the San Joaquin River which runs through it. In the early 19th century Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga, commanding an expedition in the lower great California Central Valley, gave the name of San Joaquin to the river, which springs from the southern Sierra Nevada. San Joaquin County is the site of the San Joaquin Valley’s first permanent residence.

Between 1843 and 1846, during the era when California was a province of independent Mexico, five Mexican land grants were made in what became San Joaquin County: Campo de los Franceses, Pescadero (Grimes), Pescadero (Pico), Sanjon de los Moquelumnes and Thompson. It was developed for ranching and agriculture. It attracted more miners and settlers at the time of the California Gold Rush.

Heroin Hitting Escalon

California has been at the forefront of a recent surge in heroin addiction, and Escalon is not immune.

Heroin-related deaths jumped 39 percent from 2012 to 2013, and the longer-term trends are equally disturbing: from 2002 to 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During a standard stop for a speeding infraction recently, the California Highway Patrol pulled over a rig that was found to contain 100 kilograms of “pharmaceutical grade” heroin.

The size of the California highway bust highlights how the Golden State is ground zero for America’s accelerating opiate epidemic that was launched by the wide availability of prescription hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine medication.

Death from opiate use is now the number three largest cause of accidental death in the United States, following motor vehicle accidents and poisoning. In 2014, more than 28,000 people died from opioid overdose, with 14,000 of those deaths involving prescription opioids.

A natural progression from the epidemic misuse of opiate prescription medication is the spiraling increase in addiction and overdoses from heroin, which is less expensive and widely available as a street drug. Heroin deaths have increased steadily by 67 percent since 2006.

Despite the opiate epidemic, California felony arrests for Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs were reduced by 68.2 percent and 73.6 percent respectively in California between 2014 and 2015, according to data released by the Attorney General’s office.

Officials in Mexico and the United States say Mexico’s opium production rose an estimated 50 percent in 2014, thanks in part to “a voracious American appetite” for heroin. It is all part of a global surge. Overall global poppy cultivation hit its highest level since the 1930s, a United Nations report found, suggesting that today’s heroin epidemic will continue.

Addressing the Issues

Clearly, education alone has proven insufficient to stem the tide of addiction. Small towns can be especially vulnerable, even more so when they fall along the highway transporting illegal drugs from Mexico to the rest of the country.

President Obama recently announced a huge spending initiative to address this epidemic, the intention being to provide assistance to those who need help to overcome addiction. Fortunately, there are reputable treatment centers in California that are well equipped to help overcome the scourge that is addiction. Ongoing research and discoveries have helped to make addiction treatment more effective than ever before, and those who find themselves needing help to overcome substance abuse now have many options, increasing their chances of finding a system that works best for them. It can happen that someone seeks addiction treatment and ends up with results that are less than what was hoped for. Today, there is a far wider range of options available that bring renewed hope for a drug-free life.