Millions of people in the United States struggle with addiction and substance abuse problems. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a list of guidelines for appropriate, evidence-based treatment, and these include entering a medically supervised detox program as the first stage of treatment. NIDA defines detox as the process by which the body gets rid of intoxicating substances and physical dependency on drugs or alcohol; however, it is important to note that detox works best with help from medical professionals.
Some substances of abuse, like opioids and alcohol, have medications that can ease withdrawal symptoms; others, like benzodiazepines, can be tapered slowly to ease the body off these drugs with the help of a doctor. Still other drugs, like crystal meth or marijuana, must be given up completely, and individual symptoms of withdrawal, like nausea or muscle pain, can be treated as they appear.
Substance Abuse in Dallas, Texas
In Texas, according to data from 2016 published by the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work, substance abuse in the state is rising. This is largely a reflection of the national opioid addiction epidemic, but other substances are problematic in the state too.
- Methamphetamine: More meth has been seized, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), compared to 2007-08, when pseudoephedrine bans were passed. Researchers believe this is largely due to more meth coming into the country from Mexican super labs.
- Opioids: Texas experienced a 10 percent reduction in heroin seizures at the Texas-Mexico border while nonmedical abuse of prescription opioids has remained about the same. Earlier in 2016, officers began seizing versions of fentanyl that were not transdermal patches, and instances of designer opioids began appearing.
- Cocaine: Although the drug was seized less often at the Texas-Mexico border between 2013 and 2015, cocaine began to appear more often in seizures by the end of 2015. Charity workers who help people on the street struggling with addiction reported that cocaine is growing in popularity.
- Marijuana: Texas has a new compassionate use law for medical marijuana, but it is very strict; otherwise, marijuana is illegal in Texas. While most of the supply has come from Mexico, enforcement officials noted that since 2014, high-potency strains are being smuggled across state lines from Colorado.
- Synthetics and new psychoactive substances (NPS): These drugs are notoriously difficult to track since they are made in labs that adjust chemistry to bypass drug enforcement legislation and remain technically legal. The presence of phenethylamines continued to rise from 2014 to now; synthetic cannabinoid and cathinone abuse (e.g., K2, Spice, and bath salts) peaked in 2014.
A startling finding reported by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), published in 2007, found that a drug combination of heroin and Tylenol PM, called cheese, has led to an increase in overdose deaths, beginning in 2005. At least 30 people, ages 18 and younger, died from this concoction.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) gathered data on the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX metro area as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Between 2005 and 2010, the average population of that metro area was 4.9 million people, ages 12 and older; in that same timespan, about 641,000 individuals ages 12 and older reported any illicit drug abuse in the past year. This was just over 13 percent of that population, showing that the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area had similar rates of substance abuse to Texas as a whole. Specific rates of abuse were:
- Marijuana: 8.7 percent
- Prescription painkillers: 5.2 percent
- Binge alcohol consumption: 22.5 percent
About 400,000 people ages 12 and older, or about 8.2 percent of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area population, were classified as struggling with addiction or a substance use disorder. Healthy North Texas found, in a survey ranging from 2013 to 2015, that there were 11.6 overdose deaths in per 100,000 people in Dallas County. SAMHSA added that in 2010, there were 108 total drug-related deaths in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington.
A 2011 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report from SAMHSA found that there were 19.3 million people across the United States who met the criteria for substance abuse treatment but did not get it. While most of these people did not seek treatment, 281,000 individuals wanted and sought treatment but did not get it. Like most cities in the US, Dallas struggles with a large population suffering from addiction and substance abuse conditions and, subsequently, a need for specific types of evidence-based treatment, starting with detox programs offering medical supervision.
Finding Detox Centers in Dallas
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) provides treatment programs, including detox options, which are state-funded. Their website has a search feature, allowing a person to investigate detox and rehabilitation options available through the state agency.
Psychology Today has a list of medication-assisted detox treatment centers in Dallas, Texas, and another page for more general detox programs in the city. MAT typically refers to opioid or alcohol detox, which often requires medications like buprenorphine or naltrexone to manage withdrawal symptoms and help the individual stay sober once their body is no longer dependent on the substance.
Scouring the Yellow Pages (YP) has not gone away; it has just moved online. YP offers listings of detox and rehabilitation services in Dallas.
Insurance Coverage and Other Help for Detox Programs in Dallas
Insurance is likely to cover at least part of a detox program, although different insurance companies will cover different services. For example, Aetna lists among their benefits that they will cover both outpatient and inpatient detox options; Molina, for Texas, will cover inpatient and medication-assisted therapy for detox. Before choosing a specific program, understanding an insurance company’s benefits and where they will send their clients for treatment is important.
Nationally, about 60 percent of people seeking detox treatment do not have insurance; about 70 percent were not employed at the time of admission; and Medicaid covered 36.5 percent of admissions to detox services.
For those in Dallas without insurance, there are some inexpensive treatment options. As mentioned, the Texas DSHS offers detox and rehabilitation services. However, charities also provide treatment for substance abuse. For example, the Texas branch of Volunteers of America offers substance abuse treatment; they will likely not offer medication-assisted therapy, but they do offer outpatient treatment and aftercare services, including job training, financial support, and housing placement.
St. Jude Catholic Church in Dallas offers 12-Step meetings for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, under their Catholic Alcoholism and Addiction Ministries (CAAM). Again, this group does not offer medication to help with detox, but they do offer social support through support groups.
Once detox has been successfully completed, it is important to enter a rehabilitation program to get therapeutic treatment to change behaviors around intoxicating substances. Detox on its own does not constitute sufficient addiction treatment.