Regional, State, and Local Guides
Corpus Christi, Texas is home to 320,434 residents.1 When substance abuse hits close to home, it can turn lives upside down. Relationships and marriages may be torn apart. Children may lose their parents, and parents may lose their children. Job loss is a common occurrence among those who dabble in substance abuse, too.
Individuals who engage in regular drug abuse or binge drinking are traveling down a dangerous path. The good news is they can get off that path at any time. Treatment is available to Corpus Christi residents that can help them achieve long-term recovery.
Corpus Christi’s Drug Abuse Landscape
Drug abuse is prevalent in the Corpus Christi metro area. The number of negative outcomes that stem from it is disheartening at best. Many who abuse drugs will start out using occasionally and have a pretty firm grasp on what doses they can handle and still keep things under control. Often, the initial phases of drug abuse are so well hidden that friends and family members are completely unaware it’s going on.
With any extended period of drug abuse, tolerance will develop. How quickly this happens depends on individual substance abuse habits and what drugs are being abused. For instance, someone who is using heroin every day is likely to grow dependent on it more quickly than someone who just uses it at the occasional party.
Illicit drugs like heroin aren’t the only problem in Corpus Christi or the rest of Texas though. In fact, prescription opioids follow heroin fairly closely in terms of abuse rates in Texas, and marijuana takes the lead as the most abused drug.2 Still, the drug overdose related death rate in all of Texas is lower than the national average. Texas’s rate lies fairly low at 9.8 per 100,000 deaths, compared to the nationwide average at 13 per 100,000 deaths.3
There is a great economic disadvantage that comes with drug abuse, too. The cost of keeping just one person incarcerated is around $18,538 every year.4 That really adds up in Texas, considering the state has the largest inmate population in the country.5 Many are serving time for drug-related charges.
Selling, trafficking, or using drugs is a way of life for many Texans. In 2014, 139,471 arrests were made in accordance with drug-related charges in the state.6
In Corpus Christi, an undercover drug sting turned up 27.02 grams of Xanax, 4.46 grams of marijuana, and 314.55 grams of Spice in September 2015.7 Cases like this make the local news on a regular basis.
The biggest burden that Texas bears with regards to illicit drugs is the international drug trade. In 2013, 1,279 people were arrested in drug trafficking incidents in the southern region of Texas where Corpus Christi is located.8 If an individual is caught with large quantities of marijuana, sentences as long as 99 years can be rendered.9 Harder substances and repeat offenses bear even harsher sentences.
Alcohol Abuse in Corpus Christi
While drug abuse may plague the Corpus area due to its close ties to Mexico, alcohol abuse often doesn’t get the attention to deserves in the region. Out of every 10 Americans, three will have a problem with alcohol at some point in their lives.10 In southern Texas, around 6 percent of adults engaged in heavy drinking between 2002 and 2005.11 And approximately 17 million American people suffer from an alcohol use disorder.12
While news outlets regularly cover deaths via heroin overdoses and shootouts with police, they often fail to recognize alcohol as the culprit of American deaths that it is. Between 2006 and 2010, an average of 162,469 people died in the Lone Star State every year, and 6,514 of those deaths were attributed to alcohol annually.13
Individuals who drink too much may gain unhealthy amounts of weight, have problems absorbing essential nutrients in their diet, and develop health conditions like diabetes. Cardiac arrest and stroke are both more common in this population as well.
Approximately 10-15 percent of individuals who are dependent on alcohol eventually develop cirrhosis of the liver.14 Among them, 90 percent will still be alive in five years if they quit drinking while just 70 percent will make it that long if they don’t quit.15 Sadly, only around 20 percent of individuals suffering from alcohol use disorders seek any form of treatment for their disorders.16
Keep in mind that just because alcohol is legal to use and even abuse doesn’t mean it’s safe. One of the biggest consequences of alcohol abuse in the Lone Star State is drunk driving, which over 4 million Americans admit to having done on occasion.17 In Texas, the sentences for DUI convictions vary from a few days in jail to as long as two years in jail.18 There were 70,569 DUI-related arrests in the state in 2014 and Corpus Christi was home to its fair share of them.19
More to the Story
Sometimes substance abuse is nothing more than an outward symptom of another problem lurking in the wings — mental illness. Mental health disorders affect approximately 43.8 million Americans, and serious disorders impact 3.68 percent of Texans.20,21 Among all individuals affected by mental illness, 29 percent abuse drugs or alcohol.22 That means around 8.9 million people are suffering from co-occurring disorders.23
Disorders that are commonly diagnosed in individuals with substance abuse problems include:
- Major depression
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
Whether knowledge of a disorder’s presence existed before substance abuse began or not is irrelevant. Moving forward, treatment must be rendered to both issues in order for both to have a decent shot at being repaired.
Untreated mental illness affects many in Texas. Resources are limited, especially for those without health insurance coverage. This often contributes to a wide treatment gap that leaves many who need treatment without it and dire consequences stemming from such a lapse in care. In 2013, 45 people took their own lives in Nueces County, a small fraction of the 41,149 who did nationally that year. 24,25 The vast majority of self-inflicted deaths are thought to be influenced by mental illness.
Where to Find Help
Fortunately, the right form of treatment can turn much of this picture around for a great many people. There are four treatment facilities in Corpus Christi.26 For those individuals who have sought treatment before and relapsed — as 40-60 percent of people in recovery do during the first year following treatment27 — residential care may be the best option, and Corpus Christi residents can find it locally and throughout the state.28
Treatment centers in Corpus Christi and throughout Texas accept many forms of payment, such as:
- Sliding scale payment plans
- Payment assistance programs
- Private insurance
During 2012, 400,790 people living in Texas were enrolled in Medicaid programs.29 Around 12 percent of adults and 6 percent of children nationwide who are recipients to Medicaid have substance use disorders.30 Those who don’t qualify for federal or state-assisted insurance programs, and lack other means of access to health coverage, may apply for plans through the healthcare exchange. Coverage is now required to be offered regardless of preexisting conditions, like mental illness or substance use disorders, and must cover treatment of both issues, too.
In 2013, 39,676 Texans sought treatment for a mental health disorder in the state.31 They cited various substances of abuse upon admission,32 including the following in order of popularity:
- Marijuana: 8,375
- Heroin: 6,134
- Alcohol alone: 5,931
- Amphetamines: 5,629
- Alcohol along with other drugs: 5,150
- Cocaine: 4,222
- Other opiates: 2,979
- Tranquilizers: 604
- PCP: 344
- Other/unknown substances: 162
- Hallucinogens: 53
- Sedatives: 53
- Inhalants: 31
- Other stimulants: 9
The Texas Department of State Health Services , the Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, Coastal Bend and Corpus Christi, and South Texas Substance Abuse Recovery Services are great starting places for individuals to find resources on substance abuse treatment in the Corpus Christi area.
As is the case with most of Texas, Corpus Christi has its share of drug abuse concerns. For example, the Community Epidemiology Work Group in Texas reports that Corpus Christi has always had a large heroin problem, but now, methamphetamine has moved to the fore. For every story on the local news about heroin, there are 10 stories about meth, the group says.
Every person in Corpus Christi who has an addiction also has the opportunity to make things a whole lot better, and that process starts with treatment. Every person who enrolls in care becomes a person who does not buy, make, or sell drugs. That makes the community as a whole a lot safer.
It is really easy to get care in Corpus Christi, as there are so many providers available. These are some of them:
- The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse — Coastal Bend: This private, nonprofit organization provides care for people struggling with addictions to alcohol and/or drugs. Adults can participate in an intensive outpatient program and get structured addiction care without leaving the privacy of their homes. This program provides individual and group counseling, along with recovery support services. After the program is complete, people can tap into aftercare support, which may or may not include medication management. Teens ages 13-17 can enroll in their own intensive outpatient program, and here, they can get individual and group counseling. There are aftercare services for teens available too, including case management. The organization gets funding from national groups, including the March of Dimes and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. No information about fees or insurance coverage is provided online. To find out more about how to utilize these services, call (361) 854-9199.
- Charlie’s Place Recovery Center: This luxurious inpatient treatment program for addiction is located on several acres on the site of a former hotel. It is a quiet and peaceful place in which to contemplate recovery, and amenities include a recreation center, a courtyard, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Clients who enroll can take advantage of medical detox, intensive residential programs, or supportive residential programs. Outpatient care is also available for people well enough to handle a reduced amount of supervision. Counseling is provided on both an individual and a group basis, and topics covered include addiction education, recovery, support system development, and sober life skills. Family counseling services are also available for those who want to learn how the recovery process works and how they can support the healing. Prices are reasonable, and the organization accepts insurance payments, including payments from Medicaid. Contact (877) 267-8110 to find out more.
- South Texas Substance Abuse Recovery Services: This organization, also known as STSARS, is a nonprofit substance abuse treatment facility located in the heart of Corpus Christi. The original client base included people with addictions to opiates like heroin, but now, the organization has developed a wide range of programs, capable of helping almost anyone living with an addiction. Clients can choose from gender-specific programs, drug-specific programs, culture-specific programs, co-occurring condition programs, and programs made for people in the criminal justice system. All care is provided on an outpatient basis, and people who cannot afford to pay for care can enroll in scholarship programs and get the assistance they need for no extra cost. To find out more, call (361) 882-9979.
- Palmer Drug Abuse Program: This program is designed to help children ages 5-17 recover from a drug addiction issue, or learn to handle an addiction that impacts a person these young people love. That helps come in the form of meetings that follow a 12-Step format. Young people agree to listen and learn in these meetings, and they provide insight and support where they can. All people who participate have the ability to learn and to teach. For some young people, it is the perfect combination that leads to addiction recovery. Young people who need a little more help can tap into one-on-one peer counseling sessions too. Find out more by calling (361) 887-8900.
- Right Path Drug Rehab: This organization specializes in providing individualized treatment programs for addiction. That means they do not provide a one-size-fits-all approach to the problem of addiction. Instead, they treat each patient as an individual with individual needs, and they design each program accordingly. People who contact Right Path are taken through an evaluation process, and at the end of that call, providers develop a set of treatment options that can work to help the person in need. Right Path programs can last one, two, or three months, and aftercare is provided to everyone who enrolls. Insurance payments are accepted. Call (888) 539-6947 to find out more.
- “State & County QuickFacts.” (2014). United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Texas Drug Control Update.” (n.d.). White House. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- Ray, J. (2014 Dec 2). “Drug Overdose Deaths Have More Than Doubled in U.S.: CDC.” NBC News. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Solutions for Safely Reducing Incarceration.” (n.d.). Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- Evans, T. & Tinsely, A.M. (n.d.). “Texas has nation’s largest prison population.” McClatchy DC.Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Texas Arrest Data.” (2014). Texas Department of Public Safety. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- Escamilla, N. (2015 Sep 3). “Man arrested in undercover drug sting.” KRISTV. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Quick Facts: Drug Trafficking Offenses.” (n.d.). United States Sentencing Commission. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Texas Laws & Penalties.” (n.d.). NORML. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- Reinberg, S. (2015 Jun 3). “3 in 10 Americans have drinking problem at some point in their lives.” KRISTV. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Alcohol Use.” (n.d.). University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” (n.d.). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Alcohol-related deaths; How does your state rank?.” (2014 Jun 27). CBS News. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- Mann, R.E., Smart, R.G. & Govoni, R. (n.d.). “The Epidemiology of Alcoholic Liver Disease.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- Main, D. (2015 Jun 3). “30 Percent of Americans Have Had an Alcohol-Use Disorder.” Newsweek. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- Fox, M. (n.d.). “More Than 4 Million Adults Admit They Drink and Drive.” NBC News.Accessed September 23, 2015. “Texas DUI and DWI Laws.” (n.d.). NOLO. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Texas Arrest Data.” (n.d.). Texas Department of Public Safety. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among Adults.” (n.d.). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness from the 2011 and 2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.” (2014 Feb 28). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Substance Abuse and Mental Health.” (n.d.). Helpguide. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Data on behavioral health in the United States.” (n.d.). American Psychological Association.Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Texas Health Data.” (n.d.). Texas Department of State Health Services. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Facts and Figures.” (n.d.). American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Mindfulness’ Meditation Can Help Reduce Addiction Relapse Rates.” (n.d.). National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Total Medicaid Enrollment in Managed Long-Term Services and Supports.” (n.d.). Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Reducing Substance Use Disorders.” (n.d.). Medicaid. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions by Primary Substance of Abuse.” (2013). SAMHSA.Accessed September 23, 2015.