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The Texas Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

man covering face with hands in distraught of the heroin and opioid epidemic

In 2017, Texas had the 14th lowest rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. However, lawmakers are still working to pass legislation to prevent future deaths. Texas is not immune to the national opioid epidemic. From 2014 to 2015, the number of Texans dying from drug overdoses jumped from 1,374 to 1,658. In 2016, that number rose again to 1,834.

At Vertava Health Texas, we understand how addiction can ravage individuals and their families. Addiction does not discriminate. It does not care about your job, social status, or bank account. If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin abuse, don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact Vertava Health Texas today at 844.311.8395 and learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program.

Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in Texas

Heroin is a black tar substance that can be dissolved in water for injection or brown powder cut with diphenhydramine (an antihistamine present in Benadryl) or lactase, among other things. In 2021, heroin was responsible for 2,927 overdose deaths in Texas. Also, in 2021, opioid abuse resulted in 3,865 overdose deaths in Texas.

In recent years, the dangers of heroin have increased due to the introduction of fentanyl into the illicit drug market. According to a recent study of drug use in Texas, users who are dying from a heroin overdose and those who seek treatment for addiction to heroin are getting younger every year.

Fentanyl and Texas Overdose Deaths

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that has been linked to a lot of fatalities around the country. A tiny dose of fentanyl can have the same effect as heroin; just 2 mg might be deadly. Some businesses or traffickers cut heroin with fentanyl without realizing it, which can lead to someone’s accidental overdose.

Overdose deaths involving fentanyl in Texas are more often attributed to cocaine or methamphetamine laced with the drug. There were three times as many fentanyl-related deaths in Texas in 2020 than in 2019, and most of those deaths were accidental.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with fentanyl abuse, please reach out for help. Many resources are available to assist you, and Vertava Health Texas is here to help.

Texas Opioid Prescription Rates

In Texas, the opioid prescription rate is close to the national average. 71.6 prescriptions are written for every 100 people. Unfortunately, many individuals who begin taking opioid painkillers become addicted to them because of overprescribing or a lack of knowledge about the risks involved.

Some people in Texas turn to heroin or other street drugs when they can no longer afford to buy prescription opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) or hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco). This can be a big problem because these drugs are expensive and difficult to obtain.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in Texas

Opioid use does not only affect the individual using drugs. Women in Texas who use opioids during pregnancy can pass along the effects to their unborn child. This often results in the infant being born addicted to opioids and going through the stress of withdrawals. This condition is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

NAS can cause a range of problems for an infant, including low birth weight, feeding difficulties, and respiratory distress. It can also lead to developmental delays and behavioral problems later in life. If you are pregnant and struggling with opioid addiction, please get help as soon as possible.

If you or someone you love is pregnant and struggling with opioid addiction, please get help as soon as possible. Many resources are available to assist you, and Vertava Health Texas is here to help. Our program includes detoxification, individual and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and aftercare planning.

Heroin and Opioid Use Prevention in Texas

The heroine and opioid epidemic in Texas have not gone unnoticed. Government agencies, pharmacies, and other organizations have initiated programs that fight opioid and heroin abuse.

Texas Prescription Monitoring Programs

In Texas, pharmacies must record all Schedule II, III, IV, and V substances they dispense. This is so the government can see how many opioids are prescribed in the state. Pharmacists can also examine a person’s prescription history before providing opioid refills.

This database is available to doctors, too, so they do not overprescribe. Some individuals who are addicted to opioids visit multiple doctors for more prescriptions. With prescription drug monitoring, “doctor shopping” raises a red flag to those in control of prescribing opioids.

Naloxone Availability and Training in Texas

Naloxone is an opioid-overdose reversal agent. It blocks opioid receptors in the brain to temporarily stop the effects of opioids. This has saved many lives as they wait for emergency medical attention after an opioid overdose. Naloxone is a drug that was once only available if you had a prescription. Now it is available over-the-counter as a nasal spray or injection at many pharmacies in Texas, including all Walgreens and CVS locations.

This is helpful for people with opioid addiction and even those taking an opioid prescription that may accidentally take too much. Many first responders in Texas carry Narcan, and many pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and healthcare students receive training to administer naloxone properly.

Texas Safe Drug Disposal Locations

Texas has locations across the state that take back unused prescription opioids and dispose of them safely. This helps to prevent opioid abuse by removing the excess drugs from a person’s home to a place where no one else can come across them and use them. You can find safe drug disposal locations here:

  • The Texas Department of Public Safety’s website
  • National Take Back Initiative Collection Sites
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website

Syringe Exchange Programs in Texas

Syringe exchange programs (SEPs) provide safe syringe disposal and clean needles for people who inject drugs like heroin. The goal is to prevent bacterial infections and the spread of disease from dirty and shared needles.

Texas is one of 16 states that prohibit SEPs. Many Texas residents are fighting to legalize these controversial programs because they provide access to treatment resources for people who otherwise would not seek help for opioid addiction.

Treatment for Heroin and Opioid Addiction at Vertava Health – Texas

Physical dependence is when a person’s body requires the drug to function correctly. Usually, individuals with opioid addiction can become physically dependent on them, implying that their bodies rely on the drugs to function normally.

Treatment for heroin abuse and opioid addiction treatment often begins with a medically supervised detox program, which provides around-the-clock monitoring to keep a person stable through the withdrawal process. Even after detox, opioid cravings may be so intense that they interfere with treatment progress.

Vertava Health Texas offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) when appropriate. This helps to reduce cravings so a person can focus on recovery.

We use yoga, meditation, and other stress management techniques to help people learn to relax without opioids. We also offer a wilderness rehab program, behavioral therapy, and evidence-based practices that encourage holistic healing and a whole-life change.

Call us at 844.311.8395 to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one recover from heroin abuse and opioid addiction.