For many Texans, opioid overdoses seem like a problem for other states, like West Virginia and Ohio. But the sheer size of the Lone Star State’ population has, in a way, masked the growing problem here too.
But new figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show that nationwide, opioid overdoses have risen during the pandemic and that increase is being felt in Texas, which saw a 33% rise in 2020.
“Texas is so huge that collectively we don’t feel it as strongly,” explained Kasey Strey, director of the Texas Targeted Opioid Response. “But that’s not to say that we don’t have an issue.”
The rise during the pandemic is linked to isolation and stress, she said. But better reporting by law enforcement is also giving Texans a clearer picture here.
“It’s the isolation, the stress, the increase in fentanyl, which is so much more potent, it’s being mixed into substances where people may not expect it into cocaine, methamphetamine, anti-anxiety medications that are illicitly purchased,” Strey said. “And it’s so powerful that it is causing an overdose.
Texans seeing treatment for opioid abuse can find the state’s web site listing help options here.