Why Is Drug Addiction So Prevalent In Cities Like Houston?

Drug Addiction In Houston | Transcend Texas

Like any big city, Houston has its fair share of problems – crime and drug addiction among them. As serious as drug addiction is, it only affects a very small fraction of the total adult population of the US, despite lax attitudes towards alcohol, and in some places, marijuana.

However, in Houston, Texas as well as other large cities in states across the country, the concentration for drug abuse grows and becomes more apparent. So, what it is about big cities like Houston that seems to make the phenomenon of addiction grow?


Drug Addiction In Houston

As is the case with many other big cities in the country, drug addiction is a substantial and growing problem. In Houston alone, heroin and meth are particularly troublesome, causing the most deaths and drug-related crimes in the city for decades. On the flip-side, to accompany high drug usage, Houston also has a prodigious selection of rehabs and treatment centers.

Many factors affect why Houston is struggling with drugs, the biggest being that it is a.) an incredibly populous city in a country with well over a quarter billion people, and b.) the most populous city in the state of Texas, a state that has established drug issues, and struggles to fight against the illegal trade of drugs out of Mexico.

Among other substances, gangs produce and smuggle marijuana, meth, and cocaine over the border into the United States, with meth being the biggest problem in the region, while street heroin and prescription opiates take a second spot.

Methamphetamine has grown to become an issue in Houston. The amount of meth seized from 2014 to 2015 grew by other 400 percent, while Houston reported over 780,000 cases of addiction in 2008 throughout the entire Houston area. In schools, about a third of students report having been sold/offered drugs on school property.

Aside from being the most populous city of Texas, Houston also struggles with growing poverty, a possible factor that contributes to the growth in addiction alongside an explosion in the local drug supply.


Drug Use And Big Cities

Cities grow organically through a continuous cycle of supply and demand in the workforce – opportunities are created by industries pioneering in a region, bringing jobs, and creating a need of real estate and residences around the industry. Decade after decade, the city grows because of its people, and its population grows because it is a city.

But with this growth comes the many downsides of living in an urban environment, especially in poverty. Large cities can become incredibly cramped, destitute, and unhealthy places to live in. For many, drug addiction provides a relief from that lifestyle that otherwise cannot be afforded.

Aside from there, where there are many people, there are many different people problems. Drug dealers specifically target urban neighborhoods to reach a large density of people and sell as much as possible, as quickly as possible, turning cities into the areas in the country with the largest drug problem.

Drug addiction is not only an issue in large cities. All of America is struggling with drugs, particularly opioids, methamphetamine, alcohol, and marijuana. But there are distinct differences in the way urban and rural addictions work.

Reports show that, among other key differences, ages between rural and urban addictions were very different with rural admissions to treatment being typically much younger. In addition, rural addictions primarily revolved around alcohol and non-opiates, while urban addictions had the countryside beat with its opiate abuse.

Why Texas Is Struggling With Drugs

Aside from the methamphetamine problem out of Mexico, another big issue hitting the streets is the recurrence and abundance of black tar heroin being sold, alongside an increase in opioid overdoses, and a decrease in the average age of both overdose victims and patients on opioid medication.

The overall demand for heroin in Texas has increased dramatically, alongside a larger number of reported calls to the Texas Poison Center Network regarding heroin. Although heroin usage has increased, opioid prescription abuse has decreased, suggesting perhaps that some addicts have moved on from getting their fix through street heroin rather than painkillers.

While these drugs picked up, others have dropped in usage. Both synthetic cathinones and cannabinoids have dropped in overall usage since their peak in 2011, and emergency calls due to ecstasy (MDMA) have dropped since 2009.

With its proximity to the border, large population, and its reputation as a major economy, it is no wonder that Texas is a common source of business for drug dealers and manufacturers.


What Can Be Done?

Enacting major political and economic change to help shift the state of healthcare and poverty in the US is not something most people can hope to affect in their lifetime – but there are little differences we can make to create a drastic impact in our own little communities, and with a little luck, within entire towns and city districts. You do not have to look towards politics and policy for answers, nor do you need a lot of money.

All it takes is to spread awareness on recent facts around drug addiction, dispel old myths, build a better understanding of addiction among your friends and family, and most importantly, help those around you who struggle with addiction to this day.

Over 6% of all Americans over the age of 12 struggle with substance abuse and drug addiction. Many of them are our relatives, our friends, our colleagues, or neighbors. Just by reaching out and offering help, addressing the issue without judgment, or by promoting local causes that focus on outreach and change, you can make a little difference and help change lives. In a city of over 2 million people, there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to helping others – but everyone focuses on helping those in their immediate vicinity better take on their life’s challenges, we can all build stronger, better communities. Men and women’s sober living facilities can also provide a safe haven for those trying to stay sober.

Not every attempt will be a success, and not everyone will reach and maintain their sobriety. But anyone can. And no one deserves to be given up on.


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