Drug abuse in most US cities is on the rise, and this is no different in Houston. Although the state of Texas might not be on the spot as a high-risk drug abuse zone, it still deals with a wide range of substance abuse problems. One of the things that make the state a high-intensity drug trafficking area is that most of the drugs that come into the United States pass through the port of Houston.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to keep these drug users—who pose a significant threat to workplace safety and productivity, out of your workforce with a comprehensive drug testing program that includes pre-employment, random, post-accident, and reasonable suspicion drug testing.
A closer look at substance abuse in Texas
The HIDTA threat assessment conducted in 2011 showed that pharmaceutical drugs, cocaine, and marijuana were among the biggest threat in the region. Most of the drugs make their way through the southern Mexican border and remain in and around the Texas region before being distributed to other areas. From 2014 to 2017 there has been a rising problem with the peer to peer heroin and methamphetamine.
In 2016 more than three hundred and sixty-four deaths related to prescription drugs were recorded in Houston with most of its suburbs experiencing more than average deaths. Some of the drugs that topped the list of the most dangerous drugs in Houston and the number one threat in Harris County are cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and synthetic marijuana.
After law enforcement cracked down on marijuana use in the early 2000s users turned to the synthetic type called Kush. Although sellers believe that the substance provides the user with the same feeling as the traditional marijuana, this isn’t the case. There are different components included in the k2 or Kush, with the different combinations growing dangerous by the day.
In the summer of 2016, it is estimated that over sixteen people were hospitalized due to synthetic marijuana overdose. Some of the consequences of an overdose of synthetic marijuana include psychosis, violence, seizures, and death.
Prescription opioid and heroin abuse
It is estimated that over seventy people died in Harris County due to heroin-related overdose, and there are still many more death relating to opioids such as methadone, fentanyl, and hydrocodone. One of the opioids that are popular in the region is called “House Cocktail.” This cocktail is a combination of Alprazolam (benzodiazepine), Carisoprodol(muscle relaxant) and Hydrocodone.
After the signing of a drug-related law that gave Naloxone a pass as a safe over-the-counter prescription drug, there have been several overdose reports of this opioid. What most people don’t know is that when the drug is taken in large quantities, it loses the opioid’s effect and can cause the user to stop breathing.
With a heightened regulation of over the counter drugs containing ephedrine, most people turned their attention from Methamphetamine use. In 2016 there were reports of a resurgence of the drug’s popularity in Houston. This is worrying state of affair given that Methamphetamine killed close to three hundred people in Texas between 2010 and 2014. Over 17000 of crystal meth was confiscated in 2015 with the same drug contributing to over eighty-four overdose deaths in Harris County in 2016.
Harris County recorded 205 deaths as a result of cocaine use in 2016, and now researchers believe that this might be due to the rise in the number of Columbian cartels planting coca (the plant used in manufacturing cocaine). In February of 2016, border patrol confiscated cocaine worth over five million dollars. There were over two hundred and eighty packages of cocaine, and this is one of the largest busts ever recorded in the recent past.
Who are the users of illegal substances?
Unlike in the past, today’s drug users aren’t categorized into a particular stereotypical category. They are from different backgrounds, and once they fall prey to addiction, many find it hard to overcome the drug use and related lifestyle.