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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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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:
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:
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: