Texas, like much of the rest of the United States, is greatly affected by drug and alcohol addiction. Why? In part, Texas is much bigger than other states, with a population similar to that of Australia. The state also shares a border with Mexico, making it a target area for the sale and distribution of illicit drugs.
Heavily populated areas can translate to heavy substance abuse and drug crimes; however, there are a lot of addiction treatment programs in Texas to guide people to a successful lifelong recovery. We know that it can be tough to have a positive outlook when you’re dealing with an addiction, but there is hope.
What Is Addiction?
Have you ever known someone who’s the most likable person until they get a couple drinks in them? Then when confronted about their drinking, they agree and tell you they’re going to quit, but you have a gut feeling that they aren’t. Please don’t give up on them, they need more help than you think. Who knows? Maybe you’re that person and nobody can understand why you don’t quit–especially once your life spins out of control. Maybe you’ve lost your job or your spouse, maybe you’ve even been to jail a couple times because of your drinking or drugging.
Sometimes, for a person in the throes of addiction, quitting isn’t just a simple act or change of behavior and even if that person is full of good intentions, what they suffer from is a phenomenon of craving, or obsession with a drug. “In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so” (NIDA). A person suffering from addiction may:
- spend a lot of time alone.
- Lose interest in their favorite things.
- Poor hygiene—for instance, not bathe, change clothes, or brush their teeth.
- Feel exhausted and sad.
- Be very energetic, talk fast, or say things that don’t make sense.
- Be nervous or cranky (in a bad mood).
- Quickly change between feeling bad and feeling good.
- Sleep at strange hours.
- Miss important appointments.
- Have problems at work.
- Eat more or much less than usual.
Substance Abuse Treatment In Texas
There are various forms of substance abuse treatment which can include:
- Short-Term Residential Treatment
- Long-Term Residential Treatment
- Outpatient Treatment
- Individualized Drug Counseling
- Group Counseling
- Criminal Justice Treatment
Typically, treatment will start with detoxification and can sometimes lead to some form of medicine based treatment. Relapse prevention and involvement in twelve-step guided programs can also be helpful for long-term sobriety.
Drug Trafficking In Texas
Texas is well-known for its sports teams, its barbecue, its belt buckles and its landmass; Texas is the All-American state. Unfortunately, “The Lone Star State” is also a target for a large percentage of drugs smuggled into the United States. “The Texas-Mexico border makes up 1,254 miles of the 1,900-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border” (Texas Tribune). With this in mind, think of the thousands of people who get caught smuggling drugs in Texas, or worse, think about the people who don’t get caught.
It’s true, according to the United States Sentencing Commission, of 22,215 criminal cases of drug trafficking, 2,866 involved Texas (Western District of Texas and Southern District of Texas). In 2013, Texas was ranked both first and third for Top Five Districts Drug Trafficking Offenders (Southern District of California was ranked second with 1,426). In 2009 the Texas and Mexican border was a destination for a vast majority of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana smuggled into the United States, excluding MDMA (U.S. Department of Justice).
Texas Imprisonment For Drug Crimes
Texas is home to a wide variety of mental health problems including substance use disorders, addiction and alcoholism. Right on the border of Mexico, Texas is one of the first U.S. states to receive the illicit drugs being smuggled onto U.S. soil. Due to this, hundreds of thousands are being packed into Texas federal penitentiaries and as of December 2015, the Texas prison population was 163,909 people. The number of new drug users and people suffering from addiction is growing exponentially each year, and about 46.6 percent of inmates are incarcerated in the United States for a drug related crime.
The Texas Heroin Epidemic
Heroin was noticed as a major issue in Texas in the mid-2000s, but once the ball was rolling, there were few ways to stop it besides spreading awareness and cracking down on drug trafficking. Epidemics don’t come with much warning, and just like heroin addiction, it starts small and then becomes uncontrollable. Heroin addiction is a serious issue in Texas and sometimes professional treatment is the only way to alleviate the problem.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug, and because of its availability it’s even harder to quit. A lot of people live in the mentality that they’re going to quit using after the stash is gone, or after they move to a different town, but this often leads to another dose and then a dose after that. Sometimes all it takes a simple phone call, or letting someone else know that you need help. Let’s face it addiction to heroin is by no stretch of the imagination easy and recovery from it isn’t going to be easy either, but it can be accomplished when you have a loving and supportive team.
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There are two main types of heroin in Texas, Mexican black tar heroin and powdered brown. According to the NIDA, “smoking black tar heroin is very rare in Texas, because the chemical composition tends to flare and burn rather than smolder.” The same source goes on to say that Texans who inhale heroin sought treatment after an average of 8 years compared to the 12-year average of those injecting the drug. This goes to show that snorting Heroin is still dangerous and addictive. The difference is that once a person turns to injecting the drug, they open up a new risk of contracting diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C.
According to a statistics from the NIDA, in 1999, of the 218 people who called the Poison Control Center for heroin 11.4 percent were admitted into treatment. By 2013, the number of calls to the PCC had grown to 307 and the number admitted to treatment to 13.4 percent. Unfortunately, the number of heroin deaths in Texas also increased from 111 in 1999 to 319 in 2013. The death toll in Texas from 1999 to 2013 was 3,628.
Texas Cocaine And Crack Addiction
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant which can lead to manic behavior, heart failure, overdose and death. It typically comes in a white powder form, but it can also come in an off-white rock substance known as crack. Cocaine and crack addiction can take control of the user’s life and cause them to do tragic and unlawful things. Cocaine is expensive, and a gram can cost up to 100 dollars, but the biggest cost of the drug is life. Texas “deaths involving cocaine increased from 321 in 1999 to 778 in 2006, before dropping to 411 in 2013” (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
Cocaine can be snorted, injected, or smoked (as either crack or powder). In 1998, 4 percent of students in grades 7-12 reported having used cocaine, but that number increased to 9.4 percent by 2011. Medical intervention, detox and rehab treatment are often necessary for recovery from cocaine addiction.
Texas And Meth Abuse
Methamphetamine (Meth) can be smoked, injected, snorted or taken as a suppository, although smoking the drug is the most common form of use. Meth is smuggled into the United States as a liquid, and then turned into what is known as “ice,” which is a common slang term for meth. “Methamphetamine and amphetamine admissions to treatment programs (in Texas) increased from 3 percent of all admissions in 1995 to 13 percent in 2005, dropped to 8 percent in 2009, and then rose to 13 percent of admissions in 2013” (NIDA). From the same source, 59 percent of people who sought treatment were female (which isn’t typical of most drug categories).
Methamphetamine users are also more likely to be homeless or not employed full time. Meth addiction can often lead to meth mites, or a belief that there are bugs crawling underneath the skin, oftentimes use of meth can lead to overdose and death. Three-hundred forty-nine people died from psychostimulants, including methamphetamine and amphetamines in 2013.
Texas And Marijuana Abuse
Marijuana is often referred to as the “gateway drug” because it’s the first drug many people have access to. Unlike heroin, meth, and cocaine, marijuana doesn’t come with as serious of a stigma. The issue here is that a drug is a drug, and once a person becomes addicted to the high that it produces, they are more likely to try something more potent. In 2011, 41 percent of Texas high school students had smoked marijuana. Granted, this doesn’t always lead to other drug addictions, but marijuana addiction alone is behavior altering. In 2013, 23 percent of people going into treatment were seeking help for a marijuana addiction, this is a dramatic increase from 8 percent in 1995.
Marijuana potency has increased with medical grade marijuana on the rise from 20 to even 10 years ago. The ways to use the drug have also somewhat changed and nowadays, a person can “dab,” eat, or smoke the drug. Some even prefer to take marijuana in a pill; and synthetic marijuana has become a cause for concern in Texas as well. One of the recent problems with marijuana is that it’s rapidly becoming decriminalized in the United States, therefore becoming addicted to it seems even more likely.
There has also been a major decrease in DEA shipment seizures in the United States–in 2012, the DEA obtained 780,087 kilograms of cannabis in Texas which was down from 1,080,426 kilograms in 2011. The decrease in shipment seizures could very well be a result of more “homegrown” stuff, or larger grow operations on U.S. soil.
Texas And Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drugs are taking the nation by storm, whether they are prescribed or purchased on the street, they can be used to alleviate symptoms from pain all the way to depression. The problem with prescription drugs arises when a person becomes addicted and can’t stop using them, oftentimes using them for purposes other than the intended use. Prescription drugs have a wide variety of uses, but just for the simplicity of it we’ll stick to benzodiazepines and opioids.
Benzodiazepines are commonly referred to as “benzos” and can be used to treat a wide variety of anxiety disorders and depression. Benzos like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Rohypnol (which is not legal in the United States) were responsible for 55 Texas deaths in 1999, and 254 in 2013.
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Opioids are a type highly addictive painkillers, in the same family as heroin, and are highly addictive. When a person stops using them after a prolonged period, they are likely to have serious withdrawal symptoms which can be so intense that they relapse. In 2011, 22 percent of Texas high school students reported taking prescription painkillers to “get high.”
Texas Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism
Drunk driving is generally a result of a greater problem known as alcohol abuse and in “2012, 58 percent of Texas secondary school students in grades 7–12 had ever used alcohol” (NIDA). Among adolescents, the most prevalent problem is binge drinking, which is defined as having 5 or more drinks at a time. Binge drinking doesn’t always lead to alcoholism, but it certainly is a good start. It can also create a medical emergency or even lead to death from alcohol poisoning. Your mind doesn’t have to be completely lost to an alcohol use disorder and sometimes guidance to a new spiritual life can be the answer you’re looking for.
Drunk Driving Is Also A Serious Issue In Texas
Illicit drugs aren’t the only concern of Texas, alcohol is also a major problem. In a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.9 percent of people nationwide reported driving after drinking too much, though that number was slightly higher in Texas at 2.1 percent. The report goes on to say that, “about one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver.” As is true in a lot of states drunk driving is a serious issue in Texas, and 13,138 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in Texas from 2003 to 2012.
In a driving under the influence (DUI) poll by CBS News, Texas was ranked a modest eleventh place with 605 out of 1,000 people who admitted to drinking and driving (North Dakota was ranked first with 988 out of 1,000 people who admitted to driving drunk). The legal limit to operate a vehicle after drinking in Texas (as well as the rest of the United States) is .08% Blood Alcohol Content, and there is a zero tolerance law in place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (according to the CDC) for all minors under 21 years of age.
The Road To Recovery – Addiction Treatment In Texas
The first step to recovery is to admit there is a problem, but sometimes narrowing down the search results can be a task on its own. Before choosing the right treatment facility, it helps to define your needs, and by doing so, you’ll be able to come up with a more definite approach to drug and alcohol treatment. Treatment is more available that you might think and even if you can’t afford it “out-of-pocket,” there are government grants, insurance coverage, sliding fees, and loans available. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 16.4 percent of the Texas state budget is spent on addiction and substance abuse.
At Vertava Health of Texas, you’ll be given an opportunity to open your mind to the possibilities of an addiction-free lifestyle. Freedom from the outside world for 30 to 90 days work as your ally as you experience recovery and a substance free life. If you or a person you love is dealing with an addiction, there is hope. Get help now by reaching out to one of our caring professionals. Living a sober life is always better than struggling with an addiction, or dying with an addiction. It takes healing of the mind to beat addiction.