Texas Overdose Deaths Have Nearly Tripled in the Last 18 Years

Last Updated on January 25, 2023

texas flag The entire U.S. is facing an ongoing opioid crisis, and Texas is no exception. Although the Lone Star State isn’t typically known for being a hotspot for opioid overdoses, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prove the face of the substance abuse problem in Texas is changing.

According to the CDC, there were 2,989 drug overdose deaths in Texas in 2017, compared to 1,087 in 1999.1,2 Not only have drug overdose deaths nearly tripled over the last two decades, but Texas has seen a significant increase in overdose deaths caused by all types of drugs, not just opioids.

Although cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana are also considered some of the top threats in the state of Texas,3 synthetic opioid drugs are a growing cause for concern. According to Texas Health and Human Services, 153 Texans died from an overdose caused by synthetic opioids in 2015, compared to 29 in 1999.4

Here’s a quick look at other opioid-related deaths in Texas and how the numbers have grown over the last two decades.

Drug Texas Overdose Deaths in 1999 Texas Overdose Deaths in 2015
Any opioid 291 1,174
Commonly prescribed opioids 102 517
Heroin 103 516
Synthetic opioids (other than methadone) 29 153

Source: http://healthdata.dshs.texas.gov/Opioids/Deaths

According to an article from the Houston Chronicle, fentanyl is making a bigger appearance in the Texas drug supply, which increases the risk of fatal overdose for Texas drug users.5 Known to be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, the risk of overdose when using Fentanyl is extremely high.

Unfortunately, fentanyl is available and easy to purchase online and it is often used to cut other drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Often times, the drug user doesn’t even realize they are using a fentanyl-laced drug because it is virtually undetectable. Northeastern states, in particular, have seen high rates of overdose deaths being caused by fentanyl-laced cocaine. For example, in Massachusetts, 90 percent of overdose deaths involved fentanyl.6

Although synthetic opioids like fentanyl are clearly having a negative impact on the state of Texas, we also can’t forget about other major threats like cocaine and marijuana. According to a 2017 report from the University of Texas at Austin, there were 715 deaths in Texas caused by methamphetamine in 2016 and seizures at the Texas-Mexico border have increased 103 percent since 2014.3

Marijuana is also ranked as the #1 threat by nine of the DEA offices in Texas due to the extent of trafficking in and across the state. Although marijuana seizures at the Texas-Mexico border have decreased since 2014, domestic supply is thriving, especially from other U.S. states where it has been legalized or decriminalized.

Data regarding treatment admissions for the Texas Department of State Health Services reflects the state’s growing problems with illegal drug abuse and prescription opioid abuse. In 1999, DSHS reported 69 treatment admissions for methadone and 815 treatment admissions for other opioids (which includes codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and heroin). In 2016, those numbers rose to 166 treatment admissions for methadone and 1,593 for those other opioids listed.3

Drug 1999 DSHS Treatment Admissions 2016 DSHS Treatment Admissions
Methadone 69 166
Other opioids (codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and heroin) 815 1,593

Source: https://socialwork.utexas.edu/dl/ari/texas-drug-trends-2017.pdf

The drastic increase in Texas overdose deaths is concerning and the increase in DSHS treatment admissions also reflects a growing need for substance abuse treatment, especially for opioid abuse. Additionally, the increase in opioid abuse is pushing researchers to look for alternatives to prescription opioid medications, like meloxicam (sold under the brand name Mobic).

Unfortunately, no U.S. state is immune to the effects of the ongoing opioid crisis, but there is help available for Texans who are struggling with opioid addiction and abuse. If you are addicted and need help, Nova Recovery Center offers comprehensive long-term addiction treatment to help you overcome your addictive behaviors and establish a new lifestyle that is free from drug abuse.

Call Nova Recovery Center today to learn more about our 90-day drug rehab program or to enroll today. We have immediate openings for those who need it.

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