Fort Worth, or “Cowtown” to those who really know it, is a large Texas city that’s rich in Western heritage. It’s home to international art institutions like the Kimbell Art Museum, and also home to hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, Fort Worth is “ranked the nation’s fastest growing cities with a population of more than 500,000 people—the 16th largest city in the country” (City of Fort Worth). As of the 2010 Census, the population of Fort Worth had reached more than 741,000, which is just a little more than the population of Alaska. Unfortunately, with the growth of Fort Worth, has also come problems with drug trafficking, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as addiction.
Problems With Illicit Drugs In Fort Worth
Fort Worth is also not far from the border with Mexico, making it a prime target for drug trafficking organizations. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that drugs enter the state through several cities in Mexico and places along the border, then are transported north to Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston. The heavy presence of illicit drugs adds to the problem of drug and alcohol addiction in Fort Worth. Illicit drugs aren’t the only problem in Texas and according to NIDA, alcohol is the “primary drug of abuse.”
Drug Trafficking In Fort Worth
Despite the booming economy in Fort Worth, behind the curtains of daily life, it faces the hardships of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. The excessive drug trafficking makes substances like heroin, methamphetamine, amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine readily available. With this scope of influence, abuse and addiction may be difficult for some to avoid. Hundreds of thousands of people in the Fort Worth area are affected by illicit drug use every day.
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Fort Worth Statistics And Facts
As of 2014, Fort Worth consisted of 40.9 percent Caucasian, 34.2 percent Hispanic, 18.7 percent African-American, and 6.2 percent other races. Hispanic races account for the second largest percent of people in Texas—according to past decades of research, abuse of drugs and alcohol is high among this demographic. The Partnership at Drugfree.org found that “Hispanic teens are more likely to abuse drugs than other teens.”
The household median income was $52,492 in 2014, which was relatively lower than the median income for Texas at $52,576 and the rest of the United States at $53,482. As of 2015, 66.8 percent of people 16 and older were employed, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. This was higher than the national average, at the time, of 62.5.
The Impact of Addiction In Fort Worth
The SAMHSA reported that from 2005 to 2010, 641,000 people ages 12 and older had used illicit drugs in the past year in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metro Statistical Area (MSA). Approximately 400,000 people 12 and older, or 8.2 percent of the area, had a substance use disorder or addiction to an illicit drug. These rates of drug use are similar to the entire state of Texas, and only slightly lower than the rate for The United States as a whole.
Drug And Alcohol Abuse Patterns In Fort Worth
In 2010, 641,000 people sought treatment for substance abuse and addiction in Fort Worth combined with the surrounding areas of Dallas and Arlington. But realistically, only about 10 percent of people suffering with addiction get the treatment they need. The following are some of the most commonly abused substances, and their patterns of abuse, in Fort Worth.
Alcohol Abuse And Treatment In Fort Worth
Local laws in Fort Worth prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sunday and packaged liquor may be sold between 9am and 10pm, Monday through Friday. Though limiting alcohol sales hasn’t completely solved the problem with alcohol; according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, “The number of arrests for DUI in Texas, in 2015, was 65,609. The volume of DUI arrests decreased 7 percent in comparison with 2014.”
Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in Texas. The truth is that alcohol abuse reaches even the youngest Texas residents—58 percent of teens from 7th to 12th grade used alcohol in 2012. Treatment of an alcohol use disorder and alcoholism typically requires a detoxification clinic, and depending on the severity of the addiction, and person’s inability to stop, behavioral therapy and support groups may be needed for long-term recovery.
Heroin Epidemic In Texas
Heroin is a potent opioid drug, which is smuggled across the border from Mexico in both small and large shipments. Unfortunately, patterns of heroin abuse in Texas are on the rise, especially among teens and young adults. The rate of heroin overdose increased from 1.5 to 4.2 per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2014 (University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work). The use of heroin is on the incline, and not only does heroin lead to death—injecting it can also lead to other diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C.
“In the Dallas area, media reports indicate that overdoses from a mixture of heroin and Tylenol PM, known by the street name “cheese”, have increased. According to the Dallas Morning News’ analysis of Dallas County medical records, this heroin mixture has claimed the lives of at least 30 people age 18 or younger in the county since 2005” (Drug Policy Alliance).
Treatment of heroin addiction usually requires a detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, as well as other forms of inpatient treatment. A person can also benefit from methods of treatment like adventure therapy, and would do well to get away from their old using environment.
Marijuana Treatment In Fort Worth And Texas
In recent years, The Lone Star State has legalized marijuana in limited forms—so dispensaries are popping up all over the Dallas/Fort Worth area to fill people’s marijuana prescriptions. This doesn’t solve the problem of drug use in Fort Worth, in fact, it seems like it would actually make it worse—although, on the other hand, perhaps it would solve one problem of the trafficking of marijuana from Mexico into Texas.
There were an estimated 1,489,673 kilograms of Marijuana seized which was being smuggled into the southwestern United States from Mexico. Marijuana was also responsible for 23 percent of treatment admissions in Texas in 2013. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse, a successful treatment of a marijuana use disorder includes:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A form of psychotherapy that teaches people strategies to identify and correct problematic behaviors in order to enhance self-control, stop drug use, and address a range of other problems that often co-occur with them.
- Contingency Management: A therapeutic management approach based on frequent monitoring of the target behavior and the provision (or removal) of tangible, positive rewards when the target behavior occurs (or does not).
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy: A systematic form of intervention designed to produce rapid, internally motivated change; the therapy does not attempt to treat the person, but rather mobilize his or her own internal resources for change and engagement in treatment.
Cocaine—Treatment In Fort Worth
“Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America” (NIDA). While cocaine treatment admissions accounted for 11 percent of all admissions in 2013, this number has been steadily declining over the past 20 years. Like heroin and meth, the majority of the cocaine in the United States comes from across the border from Mexico—though some cocaine comes from places like Columbia (and others) as well.
Some of the health consequences of cocaine and crack include:
- Constricted blood vessels
- Dilated pupils
- Raised body temperature and blood pressure
- Faster heartbeat
- Tremors and muscle twitches
Because of cocaine’s effects on the heart, people frequently overdose on the drug—which requires medical professionals to restore blood to the heart, oxygen to the brain, and potentially stop a seizure. Treatment of a cocaine addiction often includes:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Contingency Management
- Therapeutic Communities—drug-free residences in which people in recovery from substance use disorders help each other to understand and change their behaviors.
- While no government-approved medicines are currently available to treat cocaine addiction, researchers are testing some treatments, including:
- Disulfiram (used to treat alcoholism)
- Modafinil (used to treat narcolepsy—a disorder characterized by uncontrollable episodes of deep sleep)
- Lorcaserin (used to treat obesity)
Prescription Drug Abuse And Treatment
Abuse of prescription drugs in Texas is bad enough that a dangerous combination of carisoprodol, alprazolam and hydrocodone were named the “Houston Cocktail,” (NIDA). Prescription opioids are often responsible for further addiction to heroin and other substances, but alone they are responsible for more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Drugs like buprenorphine represented a small percent of treatment admissions in Texas in 2013, but was still responsible for an increase in deaths due to benzodiazepine poisoning.
“While street level narcotic enforcement is the most well-known type of activity that the officers of the Fort Worth Police Department Narcotic Section are engaged in, it should also be known that officers also engage in enforcement activities regarding drug diversion, forged prescriptions, illegal distribution of pharmaceutical medications, and obtaining controlled substances by fraud” (Fort Worth Police Department).
Treatment of prescription drugs can often require a medication-assisted therapy program such as Suboxone, Methadone or Zubsolv—but the use of these drugs must be closely monitored by professionals to be sure that they are safe for an individual to use. Other treatments for prescription drugs can be:
- Detoxification (the process by which the body rids itself of a drug)
- Behavioral counseling
- Medication (for opioid, tobacco, or alcohol addiction)
- Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
Other Drugs In Fort Worth
Although rates of ecstasy abuse dropped from “2002 to 2012, those who sought treatment in 2013 in Texas had been abusing the drug for nearly six years on average” (NIDA). On the other hand, Texas has seen a hefty increase of methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse from 2002 to 2012 with a 10 percent increase. Drugs like meth are brought up from Mexico in a liquid form and then the drugs are finished off and turned into a solid state known as “ice.” Meth can be snorted, smoked, or injected directly into the bloodstream. This drug is highly addictive, dangerous and deadly.
An increase of PCP in Texas has also brought an increase of abuse of the drug, with multiple seizures of PCP reported, including a large one coming from California headed to Dallas/Fort Worth.
In 2008, police apprehended gang members with a large amount of PCP. “They obtained the PCP from a California-based supplier who shipped multi ounce quantities of the drug to Dallas through commercial shipping companies. At the time of the suspects’ arrests, law enforcement officers seized more than 2 gallons of liquid PCP, approximately 4,000 MDMA tablets (ecstasy), 30 pounds of marijuana, nearly $30,000 in cash, numerous firearms, and multiple vehicles” (United States Justice Department).
How Does Addiction Affect Your Health?
Once a person gets sober, some external effects of addiction can be fixed pretty quickly, however, the impact of addiction to a person’s health can last for years, or even a lifetime. The following are some of the most dangerous, and unfortunate health consequences of a prolonged addiction to drugs or alcohol:
- Cardiovascular Effects: Irregular heartbeat, collapsed veins, bacterial infections in blood vessels or heart valves, cardiac arrest
- Contracting Infectious Diseases, such as Hepatitis C or HIV
- Digestive System Effects: Abdominal pain, bloating, chronic constipation, nausea, vomiting, liver damage
- Respiratory System: Breathing issues, emphysema, enhanced asthma, lung cancer
- Damage to musculoskeletal system, causing stunted growth in youth
- Kidney Damage or Failure
- Liver Damage or Failure
- Prenatal Effects: Low birth weight, miscarriage, premature birth, brain or behavioral effects, or NAS (natal abstinence syndrome)
In addition to the physical health consequences of addiction, the mental health of those exposed to long-term drug or alcohol abuse can be affected. Addiction changes the way a person thinks and acts—usually to align their thinking and behavior to seek constant use of a substance. Treatment for addiction requires both recognition of addiction as a disease and a problem.
How Does Addiction Affect Daily Life?
Life in Forth Worth can offer countless opportunities, but addiction can get in the way of some of those opportunities. That’s because addiction is medically recognized as a disease of the mind—that causes the diagnosed person to seek continual, even unreasonable use of a substance, even if all other factors of their life say they shouldn’t. The imprint of addiction can alter a person’s health, social life, and overall well-being. Some areas most affected by addiction are:
- Health: physical, mental and spiritual
- Personal obligations: school, work and more
- Social Situations: loss of home, friends, or group memberships
How Is Addiction Treated?
Over the last few decades, professionals have churned out countless hours of research to find the best ways to help guide people through recovery. The two primary methods used to treat addiction are inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is completed in a rehab facility or hospital, whereas outpatient treatment is completed while a person remains at his or her residence.
What does addiction treatment include?
Whether it’s inpatient or outpatient, addiction treatment can include but is not limited to:
- Drug Testing
- Individual and Group Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Spiritual Guidance
- Motivational Interviewing
- Family Therapy
- Relapse Prevention
Inpatient Addiction Treatment
With inpatient treatment recovering individuals have access to daily support and care. They might get help with medication, attend support group meetings, participate in counseling sessions and receive different forms of therapy such as adventure therapy or dialectical and cognitive behavioral therapy. Someone might be better off by seeking inpatient treatment.
Those who participate in inpatient treatment are more likely to:
- See a decrease in future criminal activity
- Stop abusing substances
- Improve social life, occupational functioning, and psychological well-being
- Maintain sobriety for longer
Outpatient Addiction Treatment
Outpatient treatment can appeal to someone who isn’t able to step away from personal obligations, however, some struggling with addiction absolutely need to remove themselves from their everyday lives in order to focus on recovery.
The Vertava Health Difference—A Holistic Approach To Healing
There are 31 treatment facilities for drug and alcohol addiction in Fort Worth, and even more in the surrounding areas. Vertava Health of Texas is one of the most high-quality centers, offering evidence-based treatment with a holistic approach to healing. With beautiful views, a nature-friendly environment, and adventure therapy programs, Vertava Health of Texas can make recovering feel like a getaway retreat.
Abuse and addiction are growing in the Fort Worth area, but we can help an individual suffering from addiction heal. Everyone who struggles with addiction to drugs or alcohol deserves the highest quality of treatment care. Contact us to learn more about healing the body, mind and spirit from the harsh impact of addiction. Recovery is by no means an easy endeavor, but at Vertava Health of Texas, we can help you make it a reality.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics — Unemployment Rate Nears Pre-Recession Level By End Of 2015
- Department of Justice — Drug Movement into and Within The United States
- DrugFree.org — The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study: Hispanic Teens And Parents
- Drug Policy Alliance — Overdose: A National Crisis Taking Root in Texas
- FortWorthTexas.gov — City Of Fort Worth
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Available Treatments for Marijuana Use Disorders
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — DrugFacts: Cocaine
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — How Effective Is Drug Addiction Treatment?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Medical Consequences Of Drug Abuse
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Substance Abuse Trends In Texas: June 2014
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — National Survey On Drug Use And Health
- Texas Department of Public Safety — Crime In Texas
- United States Library of Medicine — MedlinePlus - Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
- United States Census Bureau — QuickFacts: Fort Worth City, Texas
- University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work — Brief Report on the Current Epidemic of Drug Poisoning Deaths