The City of Austin is both capital and fourth largest city in Texas. Forbes magazine detailed that Austin was the fastest growing city in America in 2016. Located in central Texas, Austin is the county seat of Travis County, and has an outlying population over two million. Unfortunately with larger populations can come heavy crime and because it’s located just over 11 hours from the Mexican border, drugs regularly make their way into Austin. Drugs like heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine have caused serious addiction problems in Texas. Legal prescription drugs and alcohol have been known to cause problems as well—not just with addiction, but also with serious crime.
Mexico ranks high for the production of and trafficking of heroin and is also responsible for moving cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines into the United States. Texas makes up for 66 percent of the U.S. border with Mexico; which as a whole, is an estimated 1,954 miles long. As a result of the extended border, Texas suffers the impact from these illicit drugs, as do many of its cities.
This distribution is so concentrated that Austin is considered part of a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). In other words, this is a federally-designated area considered to be a major drug trafficking zone. The Austin HIDTA Task Force (Austin’s very own task force) has been responsible for busting drug operations including cocaine and methamphetamine. In 2011 13 high-level Texas Syndicate members (with ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations) were arrested in the Austin area for cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
Opioid Epidemic In Austin
Prescription opioids were responsible for “more than 183,000 deaths” in the U.S. from 1999 to 2015 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Opioids aren’t the only problem in Austin, although Dilaudid is the most common prescription found in the streets, as reported by DSHS. Also according to DSHS, benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium are also widely popular in Austin, especially in the club scene.
Marijuana And Synthetic Cannabinoids In Austin
Marijuana use occurs cross-culturally, but younger populations are more likely to use the drug. In Austin, marijuana comes predominantly from Mexico. There are also grow operations around the state and as it stands it has not been decriminalized in Texas, but it’s in the works. Some of the common traits for a frequent marijuana user is a lowered drive for success. Marijuana can be smoked in raw form although it’s primary drug tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be extracted from the plant (flower, bud, leaves or stems) to make hash or “wax.” Both hash and wax are more potent than smoking the drug by itself. Marijuana can also be baked into food.
As far as synthetic cannabinoids are concerned, K2 and spice have become an issue in the Austin area. Both with growing popularity in 2016, according to The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. Reports suggests that these drugs may also be laced into embalming fluid. In 2016, K2 was responsible for sending over 50 individuals to the hospital due to poisoning. At the time this equated to almost three percent of the total poisoning cases for the nation.
HIV From Injected Drug Abuse
The Texas Department of Health’s HIV/STD Surveillance Program’s most recent report chronicles instances of transmissible diseases. The most recent findings available were from 2015 when Travis County had 288 cases of HIV, ranking number four in the state. These findings further outline that in adults, injection-related HIV cases are responsible for nearly 3.4 percent of these cases. Which means that in Travis County nearly ten individuals contracted HIV from injecting drugs. This number may seem low but it’s important to remember that HIV can be transmitted from various forms of drug abuse like heroin; where even small numbers can pose a threat to the large population of drug users.
Drug-Related Death Tolls In Austin
Death from drug abuse has hit Austin and Travis County hard. The most recent edition of Chronic Disease in Travis County states that alcohol deaths were second on the list of preventable and accidental causes of death in 2013. This number (of 278 individuals) was nearly quadruple that of motor vehicle accidents. The combined deaths linked to crack, heroin and cocaine (totaling 35 individuals) were only one less than all homicides within this county.
The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Annual Report published findings which, to a certain extent, highlight the prevalence and impact of certain drug-related deaths. While these findings only represent deaths that resulted in an autopsy, and not every death within the county, the results still inform us of the problem at hand.
Traffic Fatalities Linked To Substance Abuse
As previously noted, alcohol abuse is a huge problem in Travis County and the City of Austin. This report touches on this, arguing that significant blood alcohol content (BAC) was present in 38 percent of all autopsied traffic fatalities.
Substance abuse affects not only those who use, but can also affect everyone in the life of a user. These individuals include loved ones and even complete strangers (such as pedestrians). In addition to alcohol, in these fatalities, the drugs most commonly present with alcohol were:
More About Drug-Related Deaths In Austin
Any drug— whether alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription medications—has the potential to change the way your body and brain functions. These adverse effects can disrupt your physical, mental, emotional and social health. Substance abuse can cause:
These only represent a small percentage of the ways substance abuse can negatively impact a person’s life. Sometimes the best way to avoid these issues or to prevent further damage is to seek treatment.
The Treehouse is nestled within a serene landscape only about three hours and 45 minutes away from Austin—or a 55 minute plane ride. Our staff is standing-by to deliver research-proven care to the residents and families of Austin in need of effective and compassionate addiction treatment.
During treatment our clients are invigorated by a beautiful and peaceful natural setting which perfectly complements our holistic drug rehabilitation. Our expert staff can help a person overcome addiction by using the following methods:
Here at The Treehouse we want you to enjoy the quality of life that Austin has to offer. We understand that the journey to recovery isn’t easy but we want to help make your journey as manageable as possible. In an individualized treatment program, our highly-trained and compassionate staff can help you design your plan of action and make it a reality. Embrace a drug-free life and contact us today.