Prescription opioid painkiller misuse is a big problem not only in the United States, but in the great State of Texas. Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone and Oxycodone, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
Each day, 115 Americans die of opioid overdoses. There were 1,375 opioid-related deaths in Texas in 2016.
Of the top 25 cities for opioid misuse, a whopping four are in located in Texas - Texarkana, Amarillo, Odessa and Longview - and American Enterprise Institute research shows non-fatal overdoses cost the state a staggering $20 billion a year. Additionally, the Texas' Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force has found that prescription drug overdose is a leading cause of maternal deaths in the state.
According to the report "Substance Abuse Trends in Texas," hydrocodone is the most prevalent prescription opioid used for non-medical purposes in Texas. The report also indicates an increasing problem with abuse of codeine cough syrup and attributes the rise, in part, to popular pop music promoting 'sippin' syrup" and several cases of popular singers getting in trouble because of their use of syrup.
In 2015, Texas providers wrote 15.9 million prescriptions and there were 617 prescription opioid-related overdose deaths in the state. Experts say most of the people addicted to opioids in Texas are not abusing heroin. Instead, they're focused on prescription painkillers like Oxycodone and OxyContin.
In the year 2017, about two-thirds of opioid-related exposure calls to the Texas Poison Center Network were made for commonly prescribed opioids, and of the 1,174 Texas deaths involving opioids in 2015, 517 involved opioid painkillers.
Trends in Texas revolve around illicit pain clinics, pharmacies, and physicians. The most desired pharmaceuticals continued to be the three that constitute what is known as the Houston Cocktail: Hydrocodone, Carisoprodol (Soma), and alprazolam (Xanax).
The DEA reported prescriptions from Houston pain management clinics were filled in pharmacies as far north as Oklahoma, as far east as Alabama and as far west as El Paso.
In 2017, Texas providers wrote 53.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions. This is the lowest rate in the state since 2006 when data became available (per the CDC).
The overall rate of overdose deaths involving opioid prescriptions has shown a slight uptick in recent years but remains statistically unchanged since 2007. In 2017, the age-adjusted death rate was 2.3 deaths per 100,000 persons.
Texas continues to have one of the lowest rates of drug overdose deaths involving opioids. In 2017, there were 1,458 overdose deaths involving opioids in Texas — a rate of 5.1 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
A rising trend in opioid-involved overdose deaths was seen in cases related to synthetic opioids (mainly Fentanyl) or heroin. Over the last decade, deaths involving Fentanyl tripled from 118 in 2007 to 348 deaths in 2017.
Heroin-involved overdose deaths more than doubled in the same period from 214 to 569 deaths. The highest number of deaths in a year was in 2017 —646— involved prescription opioids.
Large numbers of patients from Louisiana and other states travel to the Houston area for the purpose of prescription fraud. Pill crews recruit "patients" to fraudulently obtain multiple prescriptions from pain clinics, which are filled at local pharmacies and then given to the pill crew leader for illicit distribution.
Houston area physicians were also found to be mailing prescriptions to patients in other states — primarily Louisiana and Mississippi.
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy.There were more than 1,300 cases of NAS/NOWS in Texas among Medicaid recipients in 2015. Nearly 1 in 3 of these cases took place in Bexar County.
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 4,464 occurred in Texas. Among males, 6.4 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 15.1 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse.
In 2015, an estimated 81,873 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Texas — a rate of 368 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 15.0 percent of male cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 19.5 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid abuse.
There were approximately 40 new cases of acute HCV (0.1 per 100,000 persons) reported in Texas in 2016 (per the CDC). In Texas, there are an estimated 205,800 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 1,040 cases per 100,000 persons. Many of these cases are linked to opioid and prescription opioid abuse.
Fortunately, there are numerous centers of treatment and rehab available in the state. There are many types of treatment centers such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a broad range of drug and alcohol rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you need rehab in Texas, all you need to do is place a call to any of the available rehab centers.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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