The nationwide opioid epidemic is just one of the drug abuse problems facing Texas. Methamphetamine use continues to soar, creating problems across the state. The correlation between addiction and higher crime rates is evident, suggesting that drug abuse and overdose are just part of a much larger problem.
Thankfully, medically guided detox and treatment can help offset the destruction caused by Texas’ state-wide drug problem. Learning more about which types of individuals are at the greatest risk for addiction is the best way to help make the state a safer place.
Current Trends In Dependency Statistics
The number of drug overdose deaths varies by county. Here are some of the counties with the most sobering statistics.
- Travis County – 443 deaths
- Tarrant County – 527 deaths
- Harris County – 1,200 deaths
- Dallas County – 852 deaths
- Collin County – 196 deaths
- Bexar County – 575 Deaths
Additionally, the University of Texas released a report detailing current statistics on drug abuse in Texas:
- Benzodiazepine use has remained stable, but the number of deaths has increased.
- Cocaine availability is high, but because of cartel wars make the source unstable.
- Methamphetamine indicators are higher than ever before. Seizures have recently increased by 37%.
- Heroin users are trending younger. Mexican opium production is increasing to feed US demand.
- Texans continue to abuse other opioids like methadone and codeine. Hydrocodone use continues to increase.
- PCP use peaked in 2015, but continues to be a problem.
- As drug abuse spreads, there is also an increase in substance abuse related infectious disease like Hepatitis C and HIV.
Methamphetamines A Huge Threat
A recent police investigation of a burglary found something much more alarming. They seized over 600 pounds of lollipops shaped like Batman and Star Wars figures. The lollipops were laced with methamphetamines. Extra diligence is required when the police are dealing with drug sales that are aimed at children.
Researchers say that while meth has always been a problem, it’s even more potent and available than ever due increased demand in the U.S. and mass production in Mexico. Meth made in superlabs is flooding the market in Texas. Fatal overdoses involving meth more than doubled between 2010 and 2014.
The problem isn’t just in Dallas and Houston. The problem is statewide, and hitting rural areas harder than others.
Meth Use and Violence
Unlike other addictions, methamphetamine use often results in violent behavior. A recent study to determine the link between meth and violence found these frightening statistics:
- 56% of those studied perceived their methamphetamine use resulted in violent behavior.
- 59% reported engaging in violent criminal behavior after using meth.
- 38% said they threatened someone with a weapon or tried to beat someone up while on meth.
These people might not have otherwise been prone to violence, but their struggle with methamphetamine addiction makes them behave in ways that hurt themselves and others.
The Fight Texas Faces Against Opioids
Texas reported fewer opioid-related hospitalizations than other states, but it’s still affected by the opioid epidemic. The Texas Attorney General is currently investigating the use and distribution of prescription painkillers. Across the state, there were 1,186 opioid-related deaths in 2015, and opioid usage has risen in women during and after pregnancy.
Violent Crime Increases With Addiction
Longview area police say that while they’ve increased patrols, homicides are still on the rise. The number of homicides has almost doubled in the past three years. Police officials say the violence is mostly related to illegal drug activity. Evidence suggests the odds of committing a homicide are nearly nine times greater for those who use methamphetamines. As drug use increases, there are more kidnappings, murders and other violent crimes.
Three East Texas residents were recently indicted in federal court in connection with heroin and meth drug trafficking. Court documents show they had developed a successful distribution system throughout the community.
Drunk Driving And Alcohol-Related Deaths
Unfortunately, the fight against illegal drugs isn’t the only battle Texas faces. Texas has the highest number of drunk driving and alcohol-related deaths in the nation. Sixty-six present of addiction treatment admissions are due to problems with alcohol. Other alarming numbers include:
- In 2013, there were 1,337 drunk driving deaths in Texas.
- Of all traffic accident deaths, 39.5% involved alcohol.
- Accidents involving alcohol resulted in 99,195 arrests and 71,030 DUI convictions.
- Last year, 3,390 wrecks resulted in 3,757 fatalities.
- 175,347 wrecks resulted in 263,536 injuries.
- Traffic injuries and fatalities have increased 20% in the past six years.
- Traffic accidents costs taxpayers on average $6.2 billion.
State-Wide Underage Drinking
Each year there are an estimated 1,043,000 underage drinkers in Texas. Underage drinkers are at risk for violence, car accidents, high-risk sex and alcohol poisoning. Yet only four percent of admissions for alcohol treatment involved minors. Unfortunately, only a small portion of underage Texans who need treatment for alcohol abuse receive services.
While a third of students surveyed said they had been involved in binge drinking in the past 30 days, most students don’t think alcohol is a problem. Many students view getting drunk as a normal part of college life, so they feel there’s little risk in developing a disorder.
The study was conducted across 45 college campuses. In the report, 62 percent of students admitted to drinking alcohol in the last month. In a 30-day period, students reporting feeling drunk 2.27 days on average.
Relief From Dependency With The Treatment Center
Addiction tears families apart. People who struggle with drug addiction are at risk of death due to accidental overdose. Substance abuse impairs judgement and makes it more likely those addicted will commit a crime.
These are just a few reasons that a substance abuse problems must be addressed and dealt with immediately. Addiction doesn’t have to be a death sentence. The Treatment Center offers customized treatment programs for patients struggling drugs, alcohol and mental health problems.
Read more about addiction in Texas on our Texas Facts page.