El Paso, Texas Drug Treatment and Alcohol Rehab Information
El Paso has a lot to offer to its local residents. Like any city across the United States, you’ll find a mixture of people from all walks of life. Some have had it a bit harder than others. They may have grown up with parents who abused alcohol and thus suffered a strong predisposal to the same lifestyle. Others might be adults who are struggling with finding steady employment and making it in a town where the cost of living is just 1.8 percent below the national average. Some who engage in substance abuse are also battling co-occurring mental health disorders that are difficult to cope with in the substance’s absence. It is important to recognize these issues for what they are — frequently contributing factors in the lives of individuals who engage in substance abuse.
Why People Abuse Drugs and Alcohol
Parental substance abuse leaves lasting marks on children long after they’re grown. For those who have grown up watching their mother or father abuse alcohol, they’re automatically 3-4 times more likely to end up dependent on drugs or alcohol.
The average per capita income in El Paso is $19,262. For someone who needs substance abuse treatment, this level of income doesn’t exactly support their needs. El Paso is the poorest large city in the entire state of Texas. Unemployment rates are actually lower in this Texas city at 6 percent than the nationwide average of 6.3 percent. For those who are out of work, around one in six is abusing drugs or alcohol.
Others may suffer from mental health disorders — often a primary factor that leads many to a life of substance abuse. Many people who suffer from drug and alcohol dependency have spent years self-medicating symptoms of untreated mental illness. Some are aware of their diagnoses while others are not. Around 37 percent of people who abuse alcohol and 53 percent who abuse drugs are suffering from one or more mental health disorders.
Treating mental illness can be complicated. This lack of effective treatment leads many of these individuals to abuse drugs and alcohol in an effort to numb the symptoms of their illness, which range from mood swings, paranoia, and anxiety to angry rages, physical pain, and even suicidal thoughts. It is thought that more than 90 percent of people who die from suicide were affected by mental health disorders.
Some disorders have been given more attention than others. For example, we understand that depression is often caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Antidepressants are effective in completely treating these issues in about half of people who use them correctly. While 15.7 million people suffer from this illness every year, the vast majority of people do not seek treatment.
For those who are fighting back against severe disorders, the treatment process may be a tougher road. For instance, people affected by bipolar disorder are known for discontinuing their medications. Staying on medication isn’t always the problem, though. Prescription drugs don’t work for around 10-20 percent of bipolar sufferers, of which there are around 5.7 million adults across the country.
These illnesses are quite common in people who abuse drugs and drink. Around 20 percent of people with mood disorders like bipolar or depression also battle substance abuse. Mood disorders also frequently appear to affect individuals who have engaged in various types of criminal activity — both drug-related and otherwise.
El Paso’s Drug Market
Drug abuse is rampant in El Paso. In fact, it may be one of the worst cities in the state when it comes to substance abuse. The city has a population of 679,036, and many have a history of substance abuse.
Marijuana accounts for more treatment admissions in the state than any other illicit drug. In 2013, 8,375 people were admitted to rehab facilities across the state for marijuana abuse alone. Overdose-related deaths are an issue in El Paso and throughout the state, though the situation isn’t as dire as it is elsewhere in the US. Nationwide, 12.7 of every 100,000 deaths are drug-related; in Texas, only 9.8 of every 100,000 deaths are related to drugs.
The Mexican border lies directly alongside El Paso. The drug trade is prominent across the entire southwestern region and much of Texas, but El Paso is hit hard every day with loads of drugs making their way into America illegally. These practices aren’t without hefty punishments, but drug traders often don’t care. Many of the individuals who transport these drugs across the border are coerced into it from a young age. Others are so deep in a world of substance abuse themselves that they have very little value for their
own lives. Getting caught isn’t a concern they have; they’re more worried about going without their supply of drugs.
With the international drug trade comes a surge of drug seizures and raids in the El Paso area. In August of 2015, U.S. Customs seized 10.55 pounds of cocaine and 513 pounds of marijuana across six different seizures from individuals trying to cross into the United States via the El Paso port of entry. These alleged offenders face serious penalties imposed by state and federal laws, up to life in prison.
Trafficking illicit substances, such as methamphetamine and black Mexican tar heroin isn’t the only way to end up behind bars. If seizures turn up even small quantities of marijuana in a home or vehicle, or on an individual, it could mean as much as six months in jail and $2,000 in fines.
Alcoholism in the Region
Alcohol abuse rates are higher in Texas than national rates. Alcohol abuse is the number one reason people enter treatment for substance abuse in El Paso. The risk of dependency with alcohol varies from one person to the next. While nearly everyone who abuses painkillers or heroin regularly will end up hooked, not everyone who drinks too much becomes an alcoholic.
Deaths are linked to alcohol abuse every year — around 88,000 of them across the country. Moreover, many other deaths occur annually that can be attributed to alcohol, as well. An average of 6,514 people died every year between 2006 and 2010 in all of Texas as a result of alcohol related causes. In 2014 alone, 20 people died in crashes that involved an intoxicated driver in El Paso.
Those who are at fault in accidents where alcohol was a contributing factor face a substantial sentence in Texas to pay for their crime. Minimum incarceration periods range from 3-180 days for first offenders to one month to one year for second-time offenders, and two years or more after that. In addition, those who are convicted may have to pay fines upwards of $2,000-$10,000 and lose their driving privileges for as little as three months to as long as two years. Others may also be ordered by the court to have a device installed in their vehicles that prohibits them from starting the car without first blowing into a Breathalyzer that makes sure they haven’t been drinking.
Getting Help Today
El Paso is home to four treatment centers that offer a variety of services to help people plagued by substance abuse in getting back on their feet. Rehab isn’t the only focus of many of the programs offered in the area; you can access mental health treatment, too. It is imperative that individuals who are aware of existing mental health disorders seek out this kind of tandem treatment. However, even those clients who have never been diagnosed with any form of mental illness may stand to benefit from choosing a rehab facility that is capable of diagnosing and treating mental illness. Several individuals who suffer from mental illness do so for a long time before they’re ever aware of such.
The good news is that more people are seeking treatment than ever before. In 2013, 5,629 people sought treatment for methamphetamine abuse in Texas; during 2014, 6,219 did. This may be partly due to the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 that opened doors to substance abuse rehabilitation for millions who didn’t have insurance coverage previously. More than 15 million people now have insurance who didn’t before the enactment. It is hopeful that the ACA will turn the insurance climate around in Texas, which ranks above all other states for the number of residents without insurance at 32 percent.
There are regulations involved in regard to insurance. Individuals seeking treatment should make sure that the rehab program they are interested in accepts their insurance. Furthermore, most insurance providers will only cover treatment rendered at licensed facilities. Verifying the licenses of physicians and counselors on staff is always wise. Those who are in need of treatment can verify these credentials with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and find additional help while seeking recovery through organizations like Homeward Bound and Aliviane, Inc.
Convictions for drug-related offenses can come with stiff jail sentences. That is especially true in El Paso, where law enforcement officials have instigated a “worst of the worst” policy that dictates steep sentences for repeat offenders. For example, one man in El Paso was sentenced to 30 years under those rules, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. That is a huge timespan to spend in jail, and these sentences are often the result of drug use and drug dealing.
There is another way. People with a drug habit simply do not need to spend the majority of their lives in prison, waiting out their punishment for the drugs they have used and/or sold. Instead, people in El Paso can take advantage of one of the many treatment options located within the city limits. These are some of the options available:
- El Paso Drug Treatment Centers: This organization provides a comprehensive suite of services to people who have an addiction and live in El Paso. People who need medical detox services, so they can get sober without feeling ill, can get that help here. Once sober, people can enroll in either inpatient or outpatient treatment for addiction. Counselors can provide guidance on which option is best, if families are struggling to make the right decision. Most major insurance providers work with this company, and private pay options are available too. Contact this private organization for more information at (915) 219-5848.
- Drug Addiction Rehab of El Paso: This organization, located on Welch Avenue in El Paso, provides addiction treatment services to people in need. Families that are struggling with an addiction issue can contact the center, explain the situation, and hear more about appropriate programs that may help. Those programs may provide inpatient care, outpatient care, or some combination of the two. Intake coordinators can explain the differences between the programs in detail. The intake coordinators can explain how the payment process works, and what insurance programs may or may not be accepted. To find out more, call (915) 701-2899.
- Homeward Bound, Inc.: Addictions often go hand in hand with poverty and/or homelessness. Homeward Bound can help. This organization has helped more than 100,000 people overcome addiction issues since it was founded in 1980. Treatment options include residential and outpatient programs. Individual counseling, group counseling, and significant aftercare services are all available. This nonprofit organization relies on community donations in order to stay in business, and cost is not a barrier to entry. For information on the services available in El Paso, call (915) 772-9111.
- Aliviane, Inc.: People living in West Texas can get a great deal of addiction help from Aliviane. This organization provides residential addiction care for adults, and there is a specialized facility available for mothers of children ages 0-12. These mothers can bring their children with them for care. In addition to residential treatment, Aliviane also offers medication management, outpatient drug addiction care, and multiple drug abuse informational classes. This is a nonprofit organization that strives to treat all people, regardless of their ability to pay. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the organization directly to find out more about options that can make care easier to afford. Call (915) 782-4000 to find out more.
- Texas Christian Drug Rehab: People who want to lean on their faith as they recover from an addiction may enjoy connecting with this organization. It frames the addiction conversation with words of faith, suggesting that the devil has a role in developing an addiction and that the power of God can help people to get free. People who are interested in this healing can call an intake number and get connected to faith-based treatment programs in the area that can help. Health insurance payments are accepted by this private company. To find out more, call (915) 257-6095.
- Alternatives Centre for Behavioral Health: This freestanding mental health and substance abuse treatment facility opened its doors to clients in 1995. It is a locally owned and operated organization that provides addiction help on an outpatient basis to people in need. Addiction services include therapy, and the value of employment is stressed. Program staff works with employers, employee assistance programs, and probation officers to ensure that all requirements are met. Classes are held in the evening, which allows people to participate in work throughout the day. In counseling, relapse prevention skills are stressed. The organization provides no public information about payment or insurance plan acceptance. Interested parties should call (915) 757-7999 to find out more.
- El Paso Behavioral Health: This organization provides addiction care based on a 12-Step model. People who enroll are asked to attend meetings on a regular basis, and the 12-Step model infuses all of the counseling services they get in order to recover. People with severe cases of addiction can get those counseling services in an inpatient environment, free of the temptations of the outside world. Those with supportive families and safe communities may choose outpatient care instead. The organization also provides medication management for some forms of addiction. There is also a separate program for people who have mental illness in addition to addiction. To find out more, call (915) 544-4000.
- Recovery Alliance of El Paso: This organization has served clients in West Texas since 1998. Casa Vida, located in El Paso, provides residential care for people with addictions. It has proven success in helping people who have been considered hard to serve, due to addictions complicated by mental illness. This recovery community provides peer-to-peer recovery services, allowing people with addictions to help one another to get well. There are trainers who help to guide and support that care for people new to the program. The organization also offers comprehensive discharge planning, so people can make sure to develop a robust plan for a future of sobriety. This is considered one of the most affordable treatment programs in Texas. To find out more, call (915) 594-7000.
- El Paso Methadone: Addictions can leave behind damage, and sometimes that damage can jeopardize recovery. Medications like methadone can help, and people can tap into those medications at El Paso Methadone. This organization can provide medical detox services with medication, and they can provide ongoing medication management to keep cravings in check. The organization provides no information about payments or insurance plans. To find out those details, call (915) 772-6555.
 “Effects of Parental Substance Abuse on Children and Families.” (n.d.). American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Accessed September 23, 2015.
 Lucker, G.W. (n.d.). “Patterns and Trends of Drug Abuse in El Paso, Texas.” Texas Department of State Health Services. Accessed September 23, 2015.
 “Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions by Primary Substance of Abuse.” (2013). SAMHSA. Accessed September 23, 2015.
 “CBP officers seize cocaine and marijuana at El Paso port of entry.” (2015 Aug 28). ABC News. Accessed September 23, 2015.
 Lucker, G.W. (n.d.). “Patterns and Trends of Drug Abuse in El Paso, Texas.” Texas Department of State Health Services. Accessed September 23, 2015.
 “Alcohol-related deaths: How does your state rank?.” (2014 Jun 27). CBS News. Accessed September 23, 2015.
 “DUI (Alcohol) Crashes and Injuries: Cities and Towns.” (n.d.). Texas Department of Transportation. Accessed September 23, 2015.
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