Drug Rehab in Houston, TXAlthough the drug overdose death rate has risen yearly since 1999 (except for 2019–2019), it rose sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic: from 21.6 per 100,000 in 2019 to 28.3 in 2020. That makes the need for drug rehab greater than ever. Substance abuse is sometimes called a “disease of despair” along with co-occurring health issues, both physical (heart disease, stroke, cancer) and mental (depression, stress, trauma). Such diseases are caused or exacerbated not only by COVID-19 pandemic isolation but also by stagnant wages and loss of high-paid labor for people with little education. Such despair has led to a decrease in life expectancy. In 2019, life expectancy in Texas was about the national average at 78.6. Aside from despair, another cause of the rise in substance abuse and overdose deaths was the aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies of opioids for chronic pain relief (as opposed to acute or short-term pain). In particular, OxyContin—a new opioid supposedly non-addictive and safe for long-term use—helped create a new generation of opioid addicts. The subsequent crackdown on overprescription caused these new, first-time, and unintentional addicts to turn to even less-safe illegal and black-market opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl.
Drug threat in Houston, TXAccording to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the top five drug threats facing Houston in 2019 were (in order):
- Heroin and other opioids
- Spice, K2, and other synthetic cannabinoids
Drug Abuse in Houston, TXNot that Houston or Texas is the most at-risk city or state in the U.S. According to 2019 figures (the latest available), Texas—the state with the second-largest population—has the third-lowest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation. Houston makes up almost half of Harris County and is the largest city in Texas. Harris County’s drug overdose rate is higher than that of Texas (12.4 per 100,000 vs. 10.6) but is about half that of the US (21.0). More recent figures indicate that the overdose death rate due to fentanyl is almost twice as high as all other drugs across the board. A December 2021 drug bust scooped up 40 pounds of fentanyl, the equivalent of at least 150,000 doses. The same bust only seized 13 pounds of heroin but more than 300 pounds each of meth and cocaine, proving they are still a major threat, even if they cause fewer deaths than fentanyl. They also pose special problems, including:
- No anti-overdose drugs. Opioid overdoses, including fentanyl, can be reversed with naloxone (Narcan). Stimulants don’t have as effective a remedy.
- No medication-assisted treatments (MAT). Opioid replacement drugs—including buprenorphine (Suboxone) and methadone—can prevent withdrawal, making recovery easier and relapse less likely. There’s no equivalent for stimulants.
Support for college studentsSubstance use interferes with that development by hijacking the brain’s reward systems, disrupting the release of the brain’s feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters) in favor of stronger drug-released chemicals. Substance abuse is most likely to become an addiction when it starts before age 25 because the brain is still developing. Less than 3% of people begin substance abuse at age 25 or later. Almost 75% start before age 18. Substance abuse prevention and rehab should ideally begin before college. The Houston Independent School District (HISD)—the largest school district in Texas, with more than 270 schools, from early childhood through high school—has a list of community resources for substance abuse prevention. Some Houston colleges also have substance abuse prevention programs in place, including:
- Houston Community College: Drug & Alcohol Abuse Prevention
- Texas Education Agency: Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention
- University of Houston-Victoria: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention
- The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston): Handbook of Operating Procedures – Substance Abuse
Drug treatment centers in Houston, TXEven the best schools probably don’t have an adequate substance abuse recovery program. Most people in substance abuse treatment, even the ones who are motivated and want to stop the abuse, will relapse at least once. (About five times is the average number of attempts.) That’s why finding accredited, and professional dedicated drug treatment centers in Texas is so important. Texas finishes next-to-last for the number of available rehab slots per 100,000 drug users, but help is available. To make an educated choice, look at:
How they assess addictionEvery addiction is different. Some are linked to mental illness. Some are hereditary. Some are caused by trauma. Others are due to using a medically prescribed drug too long, too often, or in too large a dose. A good rehab determines your course of treatment only after an individual evaluation.
Levels of treatment offeredThe classic image of rehab is a residential program where the client lives on the grounds, receiving treatment, eating meals, and sleeping. This is known as inpatient substance abuse treatment. Inpatient programs may include:
- Monitored detoxification and medication-assisted treatments to control withdrawal.
- Mental health treatment, concurrent with substance abuse treatment for clients with a dual diagnosis.
- Luxury amenities include furnishings, food, location, and holistic or additional therapies.
- Twelve-step facilitation to encourage membership in Narcotics Anonymous or a similar peer fellowship.
- Standard. The client visits the rehab center, sometimes only once a week or as needed.
- Intensive outpatient. The client visits the rehab three times a week, three hours a day, more if needed.
- Partial hospitalization. The client visits the rehab five days a week, four hours a day,
- statista.com – U.S. drug overdose age-adjusted death rates, 1999–2020
- bmj.com – ‘Diseases of despair’ have soared over the past decade in US
- news.vcu.edu – U.S. life expectancy continued to fall in 2021
- socialwork.utexas.edu– State of Texas Drug Use Patterns and Trends, 2019
- worldpopulationreview.com – US States – Ranked by Population 2022
- wallethub.com/edu – Drug Use by State: 2022’s Problem Areas
- houstonstateofhealth.com – Death Rate due to Drug Poisoning Find an Indicator
- justice.gov – Dozens arrested in 105-count narcotics indictment
- crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov – Alcohol-Impaired Driving 2019 Data (Traffic Safety Facts July 2021)
- samhsa.gov – Age of Substance Use Initiation among Treatment Admissions Aged 18 to 30
- houstonisd.org – Community Resource Guide
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – How Many Recovery Attempts Does it Take to Successfully Resolve an Alcohol or Drug Problem? Estimates and Correlates From a National Study of Recovering U.S. Adults
- tea.texas.gov – Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention
- uhv.edu – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy
- uth.edu – Substance Abuse – Handbook of Operating Procedures – UTHealth
- sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Texas Rehab Centers & Addiction Treatment
- medlineplus.gov – Dual Diagnosis
- cabhp.asu.edu – Substance Abuse Aftercare Treatment – Continuum Of Care
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – How Many Recovery Attempts Does it Take to Successfully Resolve an Alcohol or Drug Problem? Estimates and Correlates From a National Study of Recovering U.S.
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Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
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