Drug Abuse Trends in San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas, officially the City of San Antonio, is a city of rich Mexican-American culture and history. The seventh most populous city in the US (and the second-most in Texas), San Antonio forms part of a mega-region known as the “Texas Triangle” with Houston and Dallas–Fort Worth. In a state famous for size, the city’s metropolitan area is home to nearly 2.5 million people. After expanding city limits, Bexar, Medina, and Comal counties include San Antonio. Moreover, the US Air Force and Army maintain bases with thousands of active duty soldiers close to the River City.
This booming population has contributed to historically high crime and drug abuse rates. Unfortunately, the city’s proximity to the US-Mexico border and location along the US highway system make it popular among a number of gangs and drug cartels. In one year, nearly 800,000 pounds of marijuana; 8,000 pounds of cocaine; 500 pounds of methamphetamines; and 100 pounds of heroin were confiscated in the city. Surges in criminal activity led to the deadliest year in 20 years in 2016; homicides increased 61% from the year before. Data shows that 14% of murders were drug-related.
Opioid Abuse and Heroin Addiction in San Antonio
Criminal elements cannot be blamed for the increase in prescription opioid addiction among Texans. San Antonio, and surrounding Bexar County, suffers from some of the highest rates of opioid overdose in the state. Codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and buprenorphine are commonly abused prescriptions.
Following the rise of opioid abuse, heroin addictions have become a major problem. The principal types of heroin in the city are Mexican “black tar” and powdered brown (i.e. black tar heroin turned to powder using Benadryl or other substances). The median age of persons overdosing from heroin fell from 41 to 36 by 2013. Conversely, the rate of newborns with opioid withdrawal symptoms is higher in Bexar County than any other in Texas.
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About 52% of patients under 30 were admitted to treatment for heroin addiction in Texas in 2013.
In 2016, San Antonio emergency services administered the anti-overdose medication Naloxone more than 2,000 times.
16% of heroin treatment patients were “speedballing” heroin with cocaine prior to admission into rehab.
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Addiction Treatment in San Antonio
The major funders of San Antonio addiction treatment are State Health Services, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Because alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among all age groups, it makes up the largest percentage of addiction treatment seekers. In 2013, nearly one-third of all patients admitted to publicly-funded addiction treatment were treated for alcoholism. The average age was 39 years-old.
Texas Health and Human Services provides residents with a variety of substance abuse treatments with multiple payment options. Recovery services include:
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