The recent appearance of fentanyl in the drug supply is changing the landscape of the Lone Star State. In fact, drug overdoses in Texas rose from 1,087 to 2,979 last year and synthetic opioids are the newest growing threat, according to a recent article in the Houston Chronic. And, over the last 18 years, drug overdoses in Texas have nearly tripled, according to new federal statistics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdoses killed nearly 72,000 Americans last year, more than peak yearly totals from guns, car crashes or HIV. While Texas is not one of the five states with the highest death rates – West Virginia, Washington, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland – experts fear that fentanyl and fentanyl combinations will make their numbers continue to rise.
“The acceleration of it is really frightening,” Peter Stout, CEO of the Houston Forensic Science Center, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s as if we’re just at the start of that exponential curve.”
Lisa Ramirez, opioid response project director for the Texas Health and Human Services Commissioners, said in the article that she attributed the rise in drug-related deaths to “the availability of more potent opioid and stimulant drugs.” And the state agency, which is responsible for oversight of substance abuse issues, is currently examining the CDC data closer to discover any other factors that may be unique to Texas.
In addition, the agency has initiated a number of programs in response to the overdose crisis, including:
- Opioid prevention activities
- The creation of a mobile crisis outreach team
- Expanded treatment and recovery support programs
The Texas Hospital Association issued guidelines this year urging emergency departments to only prescribe short-acting opioids for the shortest duration possible and to institute a system to notify the patient’s primary care physician of the visit and prescription. A statewide poll found that 1 of 3 adults in Texas knows someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers.
Help for Opioid Addiction
At BRC Recovery, our addiction treatment programs are highly individualized and incorporate a multifaceted array of services that include traditional, evidence-based therapies like CBT, as well as holistic treatments like meditation that focus on healing the whole person. For more information about how our recovery services can help you or someone you love overcome opioid addiction, call us today: 866-905-4550.