How Big of a Problem is Opioid Abuse in Austin?

If you look at the national data, you may think that opioids are a problem in every city in the country. In major metros that’s usually the case, and Austin is no exception. 

In the last few years there have been some troubling reports about opioid abuse in Austin and across the state of Texas. Just when it seemed like the tide may turn in the opioid epidemic, another drug comes along and makes matters even worse.

Why the Opioid Crisis a Problem in Austin, TX

What led to the growing opioid crisis in Austin? And what health problem is a consequence of the opioid crisis across Texas?

Fentanyl is largely to blame for the worsening of the opioid epidemic. This extremely potent opioid creates a powerful high while also suppressing respiratory function. The introduction of fentanyl has led to a dramatic increase in accidental overdoses. The latest data showed that between 2020 and 2021 accidental overdoses increased by 32% in Texas. In Travis County preventable overdose deaths increased by 237% in that same time.

Just as disturbing are the many overdoses that occurred because the person consumed another drug or substance that was unknowingly laced with fentanyl. Not having a tolerance for opioids a person can easily succumb to fentanyl at very low doses. 

Doctors have warned that the increase in overdoses can be attributed to people unknowingly ingesting fentanyl. Often illicit street drugs in pill form are what’s laced. 

Fentanyl is so potent it doesn’t take much for a dose to be fatal, even for someone who has a painkiller or prescription drug addiction.

The surge in overdoses prompted the Austin City Counsel to declare it a public health crisis in June 2022. By doing so, the Counsel will be able to use a greater amount of funds to combat the issue. 

Teens and Young Adults More Impacted Than Ever

Worse still is data on the age of the people who overdosed in the last few years. The number of teens and young adults that overdose, many of which die, is on the rise. On the University of Texas campus in Austin, TX an average of 15-20 people a month are resuscitated with Naloxone kits that are given to students.

Another key indicator of the growing opioid problem is the increasing demand for women’s and men’s addiction treatment in Austin. Many treatment centers address opioid addiction specifically. Some centers solely specialize in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction.

On a state level, there are now a number of programs aimed at blunting the impact of opioid abuse. The Texas Targeted Opioid Response (TTOR) grant program is one of the best known. Aid from the program can go to the person with an opioid use disorder, a family member, spouse or other individual who is negatively impacted by opioid use.

To fully address opioid substance use disorders, women’s and men’s addiction treatment and recovery in Austin has to take a holistic approach that goes beyond the physical symptoms. At Any Length our unique approach is built around a retreat out in nature where healing the body, mind and spirit are equally important.
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