Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States and is grouped in with eight surrounding counties. This collective is referred to as the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, or Houston CMSA. The City of Houston has a population of approximately 2.2 million people, with 5.95 million in the Houston metro area (HoustonTx.gov). Houston is well-known for its economic growth and international diversity. Sadly, with the large population and proximity to Mexico, Houston is a major target for drug trafficking, substance abuse and addiction.
Drug Trafficking In Houston
The state of Texas shares a 1,254-mile border with Mexico, which makes “The Lone Star State” a prime target for drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). The amount of illicit drugs seized in Texas, especially in areas like Houston that are close to the Mexican border, remains higher than other states.
Texas ranks first in the nation for seizures of cocaine, heroin and marijuana, and second for methamphetamine. With such great availability of illicit drugs, abuse and addiction trends are also growing in Houston, unfortunately, with drug trafficking comes drug abuse and addiction.
Law Enforcement Solutions Of Drug Abuse In Houston
Because Houston is close to the border, drug trafficking organizations continuously bring more illicit drugs into the city. For this reason, drug abuse rates remain high in Houston and other areas of Texas. In response, law enforcement agencies ban together to fight the force of drug trafficking and abuse.
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These are some of the most commonly abused substances in Texas:
- Methamphetamine (Meth)
- Prescription opioids
StopDrugsHouston.org is an online organization backed by numerous law enforcement agencies in the surrounding areas. As explained on their website “even with the strong law enforcement presence devoted to combating this threat, the quantity of drugs being transported through the region remains staggering.”
Addiction Treatment In Houston
Houston alone has 92 facilities which offer substance abuse treatment. Collectively, these facilities offer a wide range of treatment services from inpatient or outpatient treatment, detoxification, medication-assisted therapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral therapies. Theoretically, with such a vast number of treatments available, it would be possible for everyone suffering from addiction in Houston to get help—but it’s simply a matter of getting there.
In order to prevent further increase in addiction trends, and to get more people into treatment, it’s helpful to know which drugs are available in Houston, what their current patterns of abuse are and how to find treatment for those in need.
Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Houston
The great state of Texas saw nearly 40,000 admissions for addiction treatment in 2013 for people 12 and older. Many people who struggle with an addiction never receive the help they need. In fact, the percent of those struggling with a drug or alcohol use disorder who receive treatment only accounts for about 10 percent of those suffering from addiction. With more drugs entering Houston every day and a small percentage people receiving the care they need, addiction remains a huge problem in the city and surrounding areas.
Alcohol Abuse In Houston
Since alcohol is a legal substance, it’s more available to the general population. Patterns of abuse are high for Houston residents along with the rest of Texas and alcohol abuse was responsible for more than 25 percent of those admitted for substance abuse treatment in 2013. In Houston, nearly four percent of women and nine percent of men struggle with alcohol abuse and binge drinking. While not all binge drinking or heavy drinking leads to alcoholism, it is directly related to an alcohol use disorder.
It definitely seems like safer bet to seek treatment than to continue struggling with an addiction and possibly developing further substance problems, legal consequences or even experiencing overdose which can potentially result in death.
What Are The Signs Of An Addiction?
Addiction is a disease of the mind and like many diseases, it doesn’t discriminate by age, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation–addictions can strike when we least expect it. A drug or alcohol addiction not only affect the body and mind of the person using the drug; it reaches a lot further than that and can affect anyone or everyone around them.
Some areas of a person’s life which may be affected by addiction include:
- Behavior: Addiction can cause a person to behave differently—usually to seek or obtain drugs or alcohol.
- Criminal Record: Sometimes drug and alcohol addiction results in court cases and can leave a stain on personal records.
- Family: Addiction doesn’t just affect addicted individuals, but also their families.
- Finances: When people live to seek their drug of choice, finances can be destroyed.
- Health: A person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are all at risk with substance abuse.
- Obligations: These can be the first things to slip when a person falls victim to an addiction.
- Personal Relationships: Sometimes, even the people closest to someone with an addiction won’t stick around if they feel threatened or have been hurt too many times.
- School or Work Performance: Like many of the other areas of life, school and work can suffer dearly due to addiction, resulting in a myriad of further consequences–such as unemployment, divorce, and homelessness.
What Are The Health Consequences of Addiction?
Consequences of addiction differ for each person, and like many other diseases, no two cases of addiction are the same.
Here are some possible health consequences of addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hepatitis B and C
- Lung disease
- Mental disorders
Health Consequences Of Addiction In Pregnant Women
Pregnant women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are at increased risk for health issues for themselves and their infants. Substance abuse during pregnancy can even cause withdrawal syndrome in the infants at birth, as well as a host of other complications–which are commonly referred to as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
Health Consequences Of Injecting Drugs
Addiction to some drugs can increase the risk of infection and spread of diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C. Substances like morphine, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamines are administered through injection. Sometimes people will continue using the same needle hole on their arm, reusing the same needle and syringe or even sharing needles–which can all lead to infections.
Addiction And Sexual Transmitted Diseases
Furthermore, the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that almost all substance abuse results in impaired judgment. With impaired judgment comes risky behavior, which can result in promiscuity, and poor sexual choices (lack of sexual protection); the result is an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Prolonged addiction also tends to result in at least one or more medical issues. Research and medical testing shows again and again the harsh impact of addiction on the body and mind.
Not all medical consequences can be stopped or reversed, but addiction treatment could give you or your loved one a chance to live a fuller life.
How To Treat A Dual Diagnosis
Treatment of a dual diagnosis incorporates an integrated method which accounts for symptoms and characteristics of both disorders. The first step is usually detoxification, a process which allows the body to get rid of harsh chemicals picked up from years of substance abuse. Next, a person must undergo intensive therapy, which is often followed by even more recovery methods. Because each person’s addiction is different, most roads to recovery will be different as well. Recovery isn’t necessarily easy, but in the end, it’s always worth it.
Inpatient rehab care is potentially the best treatment available for a dual diagnosis and long-term addiction. Though some prefer outpatient programs, which allow a person to continue his or her daily routine while completing treatment, but sometimes addiction or mental health issues require more than that. The Vertava Health of Texas can provide a quality of care which is unmatched by many other treatment programs.
How Vertava Health of Texas Can Help
With a holistic addiction treatment method of inpatient treatment, Vertava Health of Texas approaches treatment differently than a lot of other facilities. Vertava Health of Texas helps individuals unwind in a comfortable environment while aiding them with different areas of their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health.
A few features include:
- Calm, peaceful healing environment
- Limitless recreational activities
- Relapse Prevention
- Help with aftercare services
- Strong focus on self-discovery
Some people see addiction as a weakness or inability to quit a bad habit. Vertava Health of Texas recognizes addiction for what it is: a disease of the mind which can change your life. We’d like to help you take back your life. If you are one of the thousands of people in Houston struggling with addiction, or you’re concerned about someone you love, or you simply want to learn more about the quality of our inpatient rehab facility, Contact us at Vertava Health of Texas today. Together, we can be free from addiction.
- City of Houston: Official Site For Houston, Texas — Facts And Figures
- HealthData.org — County Profile: Houston County, Texas
- National Alliance On Mental Illness — Dual Diagnosis
- National Drug Intelligence Center — Texas Drug Threat Assessment
- National Institute On Drug Abuse — Drugs, Brains, And Behavior: The Science Of Addiction
- National Institute On Drug Abuse — Substance Abuse Trends In Texas: June 2014
- StopDrugsHouston.org — The Drug Threat—How Big Is The Problem?
- Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration — National Survey On Drug Use And Health
- The University Of Texas At Austin School Of Social Work — Substance Abuse Trends in Texas: August 2016