In the latest news stories, the heroin epidemic has spread around the country to Texas and has crossed demographic lines. The epidemic has targeted individuals across income levels and in different areas of the country. The Centers for Disease Control recently showed that heroin use was up 60 percent among Americans who made $50,000 or more. At the same time, use among women doubled.
The Heroin Epidemic in Texas
In March of 2017, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Homeland Security made a major heroin bust. Three men had shipped heroin from Texas to New York to sell it. Heroin and cash were hidden inside wooden furniture to prevent discovery. In total, six pounds of heroin and $4.1 million in cash was seized by the federal government.
Part of the reason for this rising epidemic is because of the widespread availability of the drug. In addition, some individuals turn to heroin after developing an addiction to prescription painkillers. When their prescription runs out, they look for a cheaper, easier way to obtain a high. In Texas, a gram of heroin costs less than a single pill of OxyContin.
Within Texas, the heroin epidemic has expanded to include people of all incomes, races, and nationalities. Over the last few years, even affluent Plano has been hit hard by the heroin epidemic. As the Plano police reported, it has hit Plano residents ranging from high school swimmers to football players on college scholarships.
Suburban Communities Not Immune
From the outside, a city like Plano looks like a typical suburban community. The city was ranked as one of the most affluent cities in Texas and one of the safest cities in the country. Behind the flowered sidewalks of this boomtown, a heroin epidemic is emerging. Despite their affluence and suburban appeal, cities like Plano have not been left out of the epidemic.
In 2014 researchers found that young adults were increasingly abusing heroin. In Texas, the main types of heroin used were powdered brown and Mexican black tar. This type of heroin was sold on street corners in balloons or small bags under a variety of names.
The heroin epidemic caused a rise in the number of young adults who entered treatment. At the same time, the average age of people experiencing a heroin overdose dropped to 36 in 2013 from 41 in 2005. This indicates that younger individuals are developing the addiction. In part, this may be because the supplies of heroin have increased and the costs have fallen.
How an Addiction to Heroin Works
Heroin is a type of opioid that is made from morphine. It is created from the poppy plant and can be white, brown or black in color. When someone uses heroin, it enters the brain and converts to morphine. The heroin then binds to opioid receptors in the mind that are connected to feelings of pleasure and pain.
By binding to the opioid receptors, heroin creates a sense of euphoria. Unfortunately, heroin also binds with receptors in the brain stem. These receptors are responsible for processes like arousal, blood pressure, and breathing. This means that an overdose can immediately cause problems like breathing issues, a heart attack or an irregular heartbeat.
The heroin epidemic has been spurred on by the growth in prescription drug addiction. Research studies indicate that many people with a heroin addiction started out by abusing prescription opioids. When prescription drugs are not available or are too expensive, some individuals switch to using heroin instead.
In the short term, patients may experience a sense of euphoria. They may develop symptoms like dry mouth, clouded thinking, flushed skin and a loss of consciousness. Over the long haul, individuals may experience other complications from heroin abuse. Some of these side effects include:
- Kidney or liver disease
- Infection of the heart’s valves or lining
- Collapsed veins
- Stomach cramping
- Lung complications
As someone develops a tolerance to heroin, their mind and body become used to having the drug present. If they suddenly stop using, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. At this stage, the individual has developed a clinical addiction to heroin.
Combating the Epidemic
In response to the heroin epidemic, health officials and politicians in Texas have worked together to find a solution. To prevent overdose deaths, politicians passed a bill that made Naloxone available at pharmacies across the state. Before 2016, individuals had to get a prescription to access this drug.
While this change will prevent deaths from the heroin epidemic, it is not enough. To become sober and live a healthy life, individuals need the right combination of care, treatment, and rehab. With the right rehab program, clients can stop using and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
Individualized Care at Healing Springs Ranch
With treatment at Healing Springs Ranch, clients can target the root cause of their addiction. Many people who have addictive behaviors do not realize the underlying issues that led to their addiction. Trauma-based care and other programs can help clients solve the core problem. This helps prevent a relapse while giving clients the tools they need to recover.
Healing Springs Ranch offers Individualized care with a whole person approach. Instead of giving everyone the exact same treatment, the rehab modifies their program so that each client gets the care they need. Individuals remain at the treatment center for 30 to 90 days. During that time, they get wellness support for their physical and emotional well-being.
During the assessment, intake counselors will help clients figure out the core issues of addiction and design a treatment plan around that. The entire treatment will focus on finding the source of the addiction and customizing the treatment plan to solve the root problem. No addiction is the same, so treatment should be just as unique. Individualized treatment can range from standard care to helping clients with detox or helping them pursue their passion. Everyone is unique, so the right treatment must be customized to suit each individual.
Diverse Programs for Diverse Addictions
At Healing Springs Ranch, clients can get the treatment they need to recover. Located about an hour north of downtown Dallas, this treatment center sits on 50 acres of ranch country. At the treatment center, clients can access treatment options such as:
- Residential treatment
- Family program
- Dual diagnosis care and trauma-based care
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Yoga, exercise, and equine therapy
- Vocational mentoring and life skills
- Relapse prevention
No one has to live with the devastating effects of the heroin epidemic. If you or a loved one suffers from a heroin addiction, help is available. You can overcome your addiction with the right individualized treatment. To find out how addiction treatment can help you, call Healing Springs Ranch at 866-656-8384 today.