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Texas and Substance Abuse: A Growing Epidemic

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The saying everything is bigger in Texas rings true, like their love for ten-gallon hats, big spaces, tall buildings and their growing drug epidemic. Texas, which once was its own nation, is the second-largest state behind Alaska. It shares a 1254 mile-long border with Mexico, much of which is largely unsupervised, providing cartels many ways to smuggle drugs across, and has become ground zero for Texas and substance abuse. Mexican cartels branched out into manufacturing other hard drugs like methamphetamine and heroin becoming a sort of one-stop producer for all addict’s desires.  

Texas and Substance Abuse

The amount of illicit drugs intercepted in Texas in the first 6 months of 2020 was greater than all of 2019. It is not a sign that agents are getting better but rather a sign of the cartels sending more and more shipments across the border. With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on people’s lives and livelihoods, many people are turning to self-medicating, an opportunity the cartels seized upon with relish.

Cartels send drugs across the border however they can, and constantly adapt their techniques to the dismay of border agents, the DEA and American families. Once across, they are frequently consolidated in cities like Houston, Dallas and Austin which serve as hubs before being transported to markets in cities like New York or Chicago. The smuggling problem is so bad, residents and ranchers of border towns often form groups to patrol their land for trespassers, many of whom are caught with illegal contraband. Because cartels do not report sales or pay taxes, it is impossible to guess how much of their product gets through undetected.

A breakdown of reported cases of substance abuse in Texas reflects the growing trend of illicit drugs but growing in proportion to previous years. Even though most drugs in America came through Texas, current studies show that alcohol is still the number one abused substance in the state. Alcohol may not have the same negative connotation as drugs, its being legal to those 21 and above means it is readily available in any corner store. It is far easier to buy a 6-pack than score dope but it can be just as serious. Alcohol contributed to 24,666 automobile crashes in 2019, resulting in 900 fatalities and over 2000 serious injuries. The justification someone uses of “its just a few beers” does not provide comfort to the family of four T-boned by a drunk driver, blasting through a red light.

Recent years have seen many states permit the use of marijuana for medical reasons and a few states completely decriminalized it permitting recreational possession of small amounts and for personal use. Texas legalized use of marijuana for treatment of medical conditions there was over 330,000 pounds of it seized in the first 6 months of 2020, down a bit from previous years. Due to its size compared to other drugs, cartels mostly grow it here in the US, preferring to use smuggling routes for more profitable drugs like heroin and cocaine. 

Opiates like heroin and prescription painkillers have a tremendous potential for abuse as evidenced by the sheer number of people addicted to them from all walks of life. Many of these people were legally prescribed medication following an injury and when discharged, turned to the street and likely, heroin. Heroin is dangerous enough but cartels often cut their heroin with fentanyl which is cheaper to produce and 100 times stronger than heroin. Natural opiates contributed to over 46,000 overdose deaths in 2018, or 70% of the state’s total number with synthetic opiates like OxyContin and methadone causing the remainder, a staggering 52 times as many as caused by alcohol.

Cocaine, the mainstay of Mexican cartels is the second most abused illicit substance in the state. Cartels may cut it with fentanyl also, creating effects which prove very dangerous to the unaware addict. Although cartels have taken up producing other drugs like heroin, cocaine use in the United States is still prevalent because it makes users feel good, that it gives them an “edge up” in social situations. Texas leads the entire United States in kilograms of cocaine seized because of its proximity to Mexico with nearly 40,000 pounds confiscated in the first half of 2020, and it was responsible for the deaths of 886 Texans in 2018.. 

Methamphetamine use is another huge problem for Texas, even seeing mugshots of people over a relatively short few years, users of meth age decades in that time and again, many cartels are to blame. In the span of a couple of 8 years, meth seizures in Texas grew over 20 times, and the number of deaths rose by a figure of 20%. Anyone who sees a rogue’s gallery of meth user’s mugshots can easily understand those figures, as meth shaves years off of a person’s lifespan, as cooks use battery acid, drain cleaner, antifreeze and worse for additives. Meth seizures for 2020 in Texas more than doubled from the previous year and increased by a factor of nearly 10 in the 6 years since 2014, a disturbing trend.  

Sober Living In Texas

There is a direct correlation between the increase in supply to feed a growing number of addicts, possibly due to despair over the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it has wrought on people’s lives. Reports across the nation are that many individuals have turned to self-medicating as a means of coping. If you or someone dear to you is struggling with a substance-abuse problem, there is help available. Purpose Driven Recovery is focused on providing the best possible individualized care in a more intimate setting, designed to permit small group interaction. These groups are designed to show men and women how to reconnect with others and have fun, but while remaining clean and sober. You may contact us by calling (713) 266-1507 or, learning more about Purpose Driven Recovery.

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