Texas Opioid Overdoses are Increasing

Last Updated on January 25, 2023

According to recent news reports from Houston Public Media, opioid overdose deaths in Texas have been rising at a rate of about ten percent a year since 2014.1 As other states across the U.S. also grapple with increasing opioid overdose deaths, the need for high-quality addiction treatment continues to be high.

Surprisingly, new data released in April of 2018 found that Americans are filling far fewer opioid prescriptions than they used to. In fact, the U.S. as a whole showed an 8.9 percent average decrease in the number of opioid prescriptions filled by retail and mail-order pharmacies. The number of opioid prescriptions filled dropped in all 50 states, including Texas.2

Although fewer opioid prescriptions are being filled, many Americans are still abusing prescription opioids and illegal opioid drugs like heroin and fentanyl, putting themselves at risk for overdose and death.

Texas Opioid Statistics

  • Since 2010, the number of heroin-related deaths in Texas steadily increased from 260 to 530 deaths, and deaths attributed to synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl) rose from 156 to 250.5
  • In 2015, Texas providers wrote 58.0 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (15.9 million prescriptions).5
  • As of 2014, an estimated 368,000 persons were living with HCV in Texas with about 80 percent being chronically infected.5
  • In 2016, there were 1,375 opioid-related deaths.6
  • The majority opioid-related deaths in Texas affected people ages 25 to 34.7
  • Harris County had the most opioid-related deaths, at 239 total deaths in 2015.7
  • It is estimated that nearly 8 in 100 Texans have a substance abuse disorder, including the widespread abuse of opioids.8
  • In 2015, 81,873 people in Texas were living with diagnosed HIV.9
  • 93.6 percent of Texans needed opioid addiction treatment but did not receive it.9
  • In 2015, there were 108.1 inpatient stays (per 100,000 people) resulting from opioids.9

Causes of Opioid Overdoses

There are several different causes of opioid overdoses in America, including the abuse of heroin, natural and semi-synthetic opioids, methadone, synthetic opioids, and prescription opioids. Here’s how the numbers break down, according to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).3

Cause of Death Number of Deaths in 2016
Overdose deaths involving any opioid 42,249
Overdose deaths involving heroin 15,469
Overdose deaths involving natural and semi-synthetic opioids 14,487
Overdose deaths involving methadone 3,373
Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone 19,413
*Deaths involving prescription opioids 18,893

*2016 data from the CDC

Why is Opioid Addiction Increasing?

There are several different factors that contribute to the increasing prevalence of opioid addiction. They are:

  • Overprescribing of pain medication: Many people become addicted after receiving a prescription for opioid painkillers from their doctor. Although there are often other treatment options and medications for pain, such as meloxicam (sold under the brand name Mobic), some doctors may prescribe strong prescription opioids instead. The long-term use of these medications can lead to substance abuse problems, physical dependence, and addiction.
  • Fentanyl-laced drugs: Fentanyl has certainly made its mark on the opioid crisis, with the majority of overdose deaths being caused by this synthetic opioid drug. A tiny dose of fentanyl can be nearly 50 times more powerful than heroin, and many dealers and drug manufacturers are lacing cocaine and other drugs with various amounts of fentanyl. This drastically increases the risk of overdose and death among drug users.
  • Abusing opioids with other substances: Many drug abusers mix opioids with other substances like alcohol, cocaine, or prescription drugs, which causes unpredictable and potentially deadly side effects.
  • Increased abuse of synthetic opioids: Synthetic opioids like fentanyl, carfentanil, U-47700, and other similar substances are being found in drugs like heroin and many users are completely unaware. Synthetic opioids mimic the effects of other opioid drugs, but researchers are still unsure of how many of them work and the long-term effects they have on the body.

Signs of Opioid Overdose

In 2016, 42, 249 people died from overdosing on opioids.4 As the opioid crisis in America rages on, it’s becoming increasingly important for loved ones of addicts to be able to recognize the signs of opioid overdose.

If a friend or a loved one is experiencing an opioid overdose, here are some of the physical signs you can look for.5

  • Vomiting
  • Choking sounds
  • Being awake but unresponsive
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bluish purple skin (among lighter-skinned people) or grayish skin (among darker-skinned people)
  • Limpness
  • Purplish fingernails and lips
  • Pale, clammy face
  • Slow or erratic heartbeat

If you think your loved one is overdosing on opioids, you should call 911 immediately.

An Opioid Crisis in Texas: How to Get Help for Opioid Addiction

The statistics are clear: opioid addiction is a serious disease with deadly consequences. Every U.S. state is experiencing the effects of opioid addiction and the opioid epidemic in Texas is no exception. If you or someone you know is addicted to opioids, he or she should seek professional treatment immediately.

Texas Opioid Detox

Medically-assisted Texas opioid detox is the first step in the addiction treatment process and is typically how a comprehensive addiction treatment program should begin. Detox should never be attempted at home, as the withdrawal process can be very unpredictable and dangerous. Completing this process at a detox center is the safest and most comfortable way to overcome a physical addiction.

Once detox is completed, a long-term drug rehab program can provide the structure, support, and behavioral therapy needed to overcome the psychological addiction. Some opioid addicts will be resistant to treatment and many are slow to even admit that they have a problem. Conducting a well-planned intervention may help a loved one see the extent of their substance use problem and commit to enrolling in rehab.

Long-Term Opioid Treatment in Texas

Nova Recovery Center provides 90-day drug rehab programs and opioid treatment in Texas for adults who are suffering from all kinds of drug and alcohol addictions. We also offer inpatient and outpatient programs, so you can find the right fit for you or your loved one’s lifestyle and treatment needs.

If you’re ready to talk to someone about getting help for an opioid addiction or you need intervention assistance, call (512) 605-2955 and one of our admissions specialists will gladly help you get started.

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