Southwest Texas

The southwestern region of Texas has been blanketed in issues of substance abuse for years. Many who live in Southwest Texas suffer from drug addiction or alcoholism — conditions that are often complicated by other issues, like mental health disorders. Around 53 percent of people dealing with drug abuse and 37 percent who engage in alcohol abuse also struggle with serious mental health disorders.1

Cases of co-occurring disorders require a joint effort to treat both the substance dependency and the mental health issue simultaneously. Both treatments must work together as a unit in rehabilitating the client.

Rehab in Southwest Texas

The southwestern region of Texas is a densely populated melting pot of different cultures and lifestyles. Per 2014 census results, populations of cities in Southwest Texas include:

  • McAllen: 138,596
  • Laredo: 252,309
  • Uvalde: 16,412
  • Carrizo Springs: 5,958
  • San Angelo: 98,975

McAllen is home to just one substance abuse treatment facility, but the facilities does offer services for individuals suffering from mental health disorders.2 In Laredo, three facilities boast numerous treatment options between them. Care for mental illnesses is available and so is residential care for those who need more intensive treatment.

Facilities in the large city also accept Medicaid and offer payment assistance and sliding scale programs to help those in need pay for treatment. For the 30.8 percent of Laredo’s residents that are living below the federal poverty level, this can be a serious help in accessing treatment. That poverty rate is far higher than the state’s average at 17.6 percent.

In Uvalde, one treatment facility exists, offering both substance abuse rehabilitation services and mental health treatment.3 Private insurance and Medicaid are both accepted at this center. In addition, individuals who can prove financial hardship may be eligible to make payments on a sliding scale-based plan. With this plan, regular payments can be structured so they are aligned with a person’s monthly income. This helps individuals who need treatment to get care at a cost that is reasonably fair based on their financial circumstances. With the median per capita annual income being just $15,980 in Uvalde, when averaged across 2009 through 2013, compared to $26,019 statewide, this comes as a big help to many in the small town.

The single facility available in Carrizo Springs treats both substance abuse and mental illness.4 It too offers sliding scale payment options and accepts Medicaid, in addition to private insurance. There were 400,790 people enrolled in Medicaid assistance programs in Texas as of 2012.5

San Angelo houses five treatment centers, two of which manage mental health disorders.6 Four facilities in the city accept Medicaid insurance, and three centers give clients the option of paying through sliding scale programs or with the assistance of funding from the center itself.

Admissions to treatment across the state have declined in recent years. In 2011, 43,216 people entered treatment for drug and/or alcohol abuse in Texas.7 Rates of alcohol abuse were highest among all substances, with 6,490 people reporting alcohol alone being their problem, and another 5,909 citing it as part of a poly-drug abuse issue. Marijuana abuse was reported by 10,255 people entering treatment that year.

In 2013, treatment numbers declined a bit to 39,676. Alcohol-only admissions totaled 5,931 that year, while 5,150 sought treatment for alcohol along with other drugs. There were 8,375 people in treatment across Texas for marijuana abuse. Many of these individuals who have completed treatment did so by way of therapy modules like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and support groups that helped them along the way.

Substance Abuse

Across the state, the percentage of the population that reported past-month illicit drug abuse has reached 7.32 percent while the nationwide rate is higher at 8.82 percent.

Deaths from methamphetamine have been increasing steadily over the years in Texas. While the problem is concentrated in the southeastern region, it reaches across the state and into the southwestern region as well. Between 1999 and 2006, 650 people died after ingesting methamphetamines, and that number rose drastically in following years. From 2007 to 2012, there were 985 deaths stemming from methamphetamines in the state. In 2009, 97 samples gathered from substances seized in drug busts contained the deadly drug. By 2013, the drug was detected in 246 samples.

Alcohol abuse is highly prevalent in Southwest Texas. In 2013, 99,195 arrests were made for driving under the influence in the state — more than any other state that year. As a result of such driving practices, 1,337 people died in accidents that year.

Suicide claims 9.68 per 100,000 deaths in Uvalde County; 5.2 per 100,000 in Hidalgo County; 5.94 per 100,000 deaths in Webb County; 10.6 per 100,000 in Dimmit County; and 14.02 per 100,000 deaths in Tom Green County.8

A DUI arrest comes with serious consequences for the driver. Many who are convicted will be required to install a Breathalyzer in their vehicles that doesn’t allow them to start the ignition until they blow in it and confirm there is no alcohol on their breath. Individuals who get caught just one time driving under the influence face three days to six months in jail and fines up to $2,000. Drink and drive repeatedly, and you may find yourself in prison for as long as two years and owing the state as much as $10,000 in fines. In addition, licenses are suspended in Texas for a minimum of three months on the first DUI offense and as long as two years for three or more offenses.

Where to Start on the Road to Recovery

The list of requirements that substance abuse treatment facilities must adhere to in order to stay in operation is extensive. Rehabilitation centers that maintain accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities are the most notable and worthy of an individual’s time and investment in treatment. A facility’s treatment programs and business practices are scrutinized during the accreditation screening process. While upper-level management indeed matters to an individual’s treatment experience, the staff members who clients interact with daily is just as important, if not more so.

For example, if clients enter treatment showing signs of depression or serious mental health disorders like schizophrenia, they need care for the mental health issue on top of their substance abuse problems. Mental illness influences substance abuse in many ways. Individuals battling depression may turn to alcohol to numb the pain of their guilt or self-loathing thoughts. They might reach for a bottle of OxyContin or line of coke in an attempt to deal with symptoms of their mental health issues. Around 833,000 adults and 288,000 kids in Texas are living with mental health disorders. For those struggling with both mental illness and substance abuse issues, comprehensive care that addresses both conditions is imperative.

When screening potential facilities in Southwest Texas, consider the employees they have on staff. If mental health screening is offered at intake, someone with mental health expertise must complete it. Ensure there are physicians on staff who are capable of rendering mental health diagnoses and prescribing medication, if appropriate. Counselors are required to go through extensive training and have education to back up their credentials.

Individuals who need help locating resources in southwestern Texas may find the Association of Substance Abuse Programs and the Texas Department of State Health Services to be helpful.

When most people think about Southwest Texas, they think about cactus marching away into a distant horizon, made pink with the setting sun. It is a pretty picture, and it is made even prettier with sobriety. People who no longer rely on drugs and alcohol can learn to love the people, places, and things that surround them every day. They can tap into the beauty of nature and the healing of life. They can really enjoy their communities.

That healing could happen to anyone who chooses to get help in an addiction recovery center. While Southwest Texas does not have as many of these centers as other parts of the state, it is home to a number of reputable programs that can help people in need. This is a sampling of the treatment programs available:

  1. SOBA Recovery Center: This San Antonio treatment facility delivers customized care for people with addictions. Treatment programs begin with a physical evaluation, so the team can determine whether or not the person who needs care should start the healing program with a medical detox program. Next, the team performs a psychological evaluation, to uncover mental health concerns that might complicate recovery. Those concerns can include bipolar disorder, stress-related disorders, depression, or borderline personality disorder. The treatment team uses a combination of individual and group therapy to deliver relief, and there are additional therapies provided as needed, including stress management, family therapy, conflict resolution, and more. Insurance payments are accepted for this inpatient treatment program.
  2. Rise Recovery: Young people who abuse substances often become adults who do the same. The founders of this program are all too aware of that fact, and they deliver a number of interventions that can help. The founders offer counseling sessions, group meetings, life skills training, sober activities, and more to young people with addiction issues. The organization makes no payment or insurance information available online.
  3. The Right Step: This organization provides treatment programs throughout the state of Texas. In San Antonio, the group offers outpatient treatment for adults who do not need the around-the-clock supervision an inpatient program can provide. The evidence-based therapies on offer in this outpatient program can help people understand how their addictions developed, and the team can help people build up recovery skills, so they do not relapse to drug use in time. Intensive outpatient treatment is available here, along with aftercare therapies and an alumni program. The group uses a 12-Step focus, and there are gender-specific and spirituality awareness groups open for people who want that assistance. Insurance payments are accepted.
  4. South Texas Substance Abuse Recovery Services: This group is dedicated to helping people who live in the Coastal Bend area of Texas who are living with addictions to alcohol, drugs, or both. All of the services available are provided on an outpatient basis, and most are offered at no charge to people in need. People addicted to opiates can access medication management services, so they can get help with the cravings these drugs can cause. Women can enroll in a program made just for them. People with psychiatric issues that complicate recovery can enroll in a dual-diagnosis program.
  5. Laurel Ridge Treatment Center: This psychiatric hospital is located in San Antonio. There are more than 250 beds available on an 18-acre campus that includes a school, gym, pool, library, and computer lab. People who enroll in this facility struggle with addictions, and they benefit from the intense counseling services they receive each day. There are plenty of different tracks of care to choose from, including programs made for people in the military, people who also need family help, and people who also have mental illnesses. There are outpatient programs for people who need less supervision, and there is an aftercare group for those who have completed addiction programming. Laurel Ridge also offers services for members of the military on a campus in Killeen. Insurance payments are accepted, and enrollment is easy.
  6. Ripple Recovery Ranch: This addiction treatment program is headquartered on a 20-acre campus that is deep in the heart of Texas hill country. People who enroll come here for the gorgeous scenery and serene views, but they also come for addiction help with a scientific focus. This organization does not rely on treatments infused by the 12-Step movement. Instead, people who enroll are provided with care that has been proven effective by science, and that is enhanced with holistic therapies. That means a person getting care here might get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, family therapy, and dual-diagnosis programming. That person might also get classes in yoga and meditation, along with eye movement and reprocessing therapy. Care is provided on an inpatient basis, and there are only 12 beds available. That means space is limited, and the care provided is personalized and intense.
  7. Covenant Hills: Addiction care with a Christian focus is the offering of this residential treatment program for women, which is located in Boerne. The team here believes that a spiritual foundation is absolutely vital to the addiction recovery process. As a result, people who enroll are consistently provided with programming that can help them to develop a stronger relationship with God. In addition, people are offered traditional addiction programming, which may include group counseling, individual therapy, family counseling, 12-Step meetings, and more. Aftercare is provided at no cost. Those who go through a treatment program and relapse within a year are offered a week of stabilization therapy at no cost. The organization does not make payment or insurance information available online.
  8. Stop SA: People addicted to opiates or opioids often feel physically ill when they try to get sober. Chemical changes within the brain are to blame, and there are medications that can help. Stop SA makes those medications available to people living in San Antonio. People who enroll are taken through a testing program, so the team can deliver the right amount of medications to keep symptoms in check. Then, people can return periodically for doses, as long as they continue to stay clean of drugs. No insurance payments are accepted.
  9. The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse – Coastal Bend: This nonprofit organization works hard to eradicate alcoholism and drug abuse from coastal Texas. The team holds educational classes in schools, hoping to entice young people away from drug experimentation, but the group also provides outpatient programs for young adults and teenagers who have already started a drug habit. These intensive outpatient programs provide people with addictions with a great deal of education, and they help to build the skills people will need in order to live a lifetime of recovery. There are aftercare services available too, so people can practice their skills in a safe environment. The group has no online information available about payments or insurance coverage.
  10. Palmer Drug Abuse Program: Formal treatment is the right choice for many people with addictions, but some young people can benefit from simply listening and learning from their sober peers. The Palmer program makes this possible. This group provides a peer-based support group for young people living with addictions. The members of this group come together to learn from one another and to combat the addiction process together. This programming could be a good choice for teens new to drugs, and there are no costs involved.
  11. Calvary Center: Drug addictions can destroy life. The Calvary Center attempts to put that broken life back together. The group offers drug information classes, counseling, spiritual therapy, and referral guidance to people who are living with addictions. The Laredo organization has a spiritual focus, but it is a nondenominational group, so it is appropriate for people of all faith backgrounds. There are no charges involved with this care.
  12. La Hacienda Treatment Center: This treatment center is located in Hunt, which is just minutes away from San Antonio. The people who enroll are provided with treatments that are meant to nourish the mind, body, and spirit. There are four medical doctors who supervise the care, along with a fulltime psychiatrist. The therapies are provided by nurses, clinicians, therapists, social workers, and other trained professionals. Therapeutic activities on offer include gym workouts, massage therapy, swimming, ping pong, and more. There is also a beautiful chapel on the grounds of this inpatient center, for people who need to nourish the soul during healing. Most insurance payments are accepted.

This is just a sampling of the treatment programs available to you in Southwest Texas. Remember that your local hospital, mental health clinic, or psychiatrist might also offer therapies that can help. The key is to get started. As soon as you make that decision, your whole life could change.


  1.  “Substance Abuse and Mental Health.” (n.d.). Helpguide. Accessed September 29, 2014.
  2.  “Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 29, 2014.
  3.  “Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 29, 2014.
  4.  “Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 29, 2014.
  5.  “Total Medicaid Enrollment in Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS).” (2012). Kaiser Family Foundation. Accessed September 29, 2014.
  6.  “Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 29, 2014.
  7.  “Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS).” (2011). SAMHSA. Accessed September 29, 2014.
  8.  “Texas Suicide.” (n.d.). Texas Life Expectancy. Accessed September 29, 2014.
About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Greenhouse Treatment Center is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed... Read More
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