Texas Overdose Trend Remains At All-Time High For 2022

Substance abuse harms individuals’ physical, mental, and behavioral health. It also affects their families and communities at large. In some instances, it may result in overdose deaths.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that over 4,000 people in Texas died due to drug overdose in 2020 alone. The same report revealed that overdoses claimed a total of 93,000 lives in the United States in 2020.

Experts connected the rise in drug addiction deaths with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Robert Redfield, the CDC director, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected individuals with substance use disorders. The need to isolate left them bored and lonely, thus they used drugs and alcohol for solace.

report by DSHS revealed that opioid use is one of the leading causes of overdose deaths in Texas. Other drugs reported causing overdose deaths are cocaine and methamphetamine.

Director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Deb Houry, said that the significant increase in overdose deaths is worrying.

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How to prevent drug overdose deaths

Until recently, there was no state-wide system to collect overdose data. Researchers at the University of Texas have created a digital reporting and surveillance system to track this data. The system, commonly known as Project CONNECT. Its purpose is to give stakeholders a clear picture of the Texas overdose crisis and influence future interventions.

The CDC also made the following recommendations in a bid to reduce the number of overdose deaths:

What you can do

Everyone has a role to play in preventing overdose deaths. There is a high chance that someone you know or someone from your community may overdose at some point, but not all overdoses should end in death.

To prevent overdose deaths in your community, you can:

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Ways to talk loved ones into getting treatment

When a loved one is struggling with an addiction, you may be at a loss on what to do to help them. You wouldn’t want to risk losing anyone due to a drug overdose.

Addiction treatment is a personal choice, so you can’t force your loved one to get treatment. The best you can do is be there for them every step of the way. However, you can do a few things to convince your loved one to get substance abuse treatment. Here are some of the most important ones.

Be non-judgemental

If your loved one admits that they are struggling with drug addiction, try to react as calmly as possible. Talk to them in a non-judgemental manner and offer to help them. If your loved one doesn’t confide in you, but you notice they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may have to approach them with the issue. Try to be as non-judgemental as possible.

Research the effects of the drug

When your loved one is an addict, it would be best to research the short-term and long-term effects of the drug they are addicted to. When you are well informed, it is unlikely that they will misinform you on the seriousness of the problem. Additionally, they will more likely listen to you when you sound like an expert.

You can get information on various drugs on our website.

Seek professional help

Drug addiction is a chronic illness. Therefore, it needs professional intervention. Reach out to rehab facilities, doctors, or counselors to get relevant information.

Choose a convenient place and time to talk to them

When you decide to approach your loved one to air your concerns, choose a place and time when you would both be comfortable. Do not exhibit aggressive behavior as they may be defensive as a result. Instead, remain calm, maintain an even tone, and focus on the issue at hand.

It would be best to try talking to them when they are as sober as possible. This way, it will be easier to reason with them.

Listen to them

If your loved one is willing to talk about their addiction, listen to them. Give them a chance to air their side of the story, but don’t let them sway you into believing their problem is not serious. Additionally, it would be best to be mindful of how you react or respond.

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Bring up treatment options

From your initial research, you will notice several treatment options available depending on the drug your loved one is addicted to. Some treatment facilities offer both inpatient and outpatient programs. Let your loved ones know their options and help them select the one that suits them best.

Be supportive    

Your loved one will need a lot of your support throughout the treatment and recovery process.

Most treatment programs have medical detox as the first step of treatment. It is arguably the most challenging part of treatment, and most patients feel like they want  to give up. Be there for your loved one and offer emotional support to better their chances of recovery.

You may also have to accompany them to support groups which play a significant role in ensuring recovering addicts maintain sobriety.

What if they don’t want to get treatment?

Sometimes, addicts may refuse to voluntarily get treatment, posing a danger to themselves and those around them. When this happens, you may have to opt for interventionist court-ordered Rehab. You can petition the court for the order if you can prove your loved one’s addiction endangers them and others.

Get help today

If you are searching for trusted and proven drug treatment, Texas has one of the finest. More Than Rehab provides high-quality addiction treatment for Texas residents. We offer unique, individualized treatment programs based on successful national models.

Our experts will take care of your loved one throughout the recovery process, including medical detox, inpatient rehabilitation, and our comprehensive outpatient program. We also provide additional support for Texas overdose victims through sober living arrangements.

Isotonitazene: New Synthetic Opioid Has Recovery Specialists Worried

Every year hundreds of Texans die due to substance abuse. Illicit and illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine were the main culprits for the longest time. However, opioid-related deaths became more prevalent in 2017. A new synthetic opioid, isotonitazene threatens to make this problem worse.

Medical practitioners started prescribing opioid pain relievers to patients in the 1990s. Their role was to solely alleviate pain in patients who suffered from injuries or chronic pain. They also helped patients during the recovery period after surgery.

Unfortunately, opioids are highly addictive. They also have a high risk of abuse, so most patients become addicted. Opioid addiction quickly became an epidemic in the health care system.

Synthetic opioids started emerging soon after. Like natural opioids, they target brain parts to produce pain relief (analgesic) effects. By 2014, several synthetic opioids related to fentanyl had emerged in the illicit drug market. The evidence of synthetic opioid abuse was present in various toxicology samples and forensic drug exhibits.

In 2019, experts discovered isotonitazene, a synthetic opioid, in both biological samples and samples from drug seizures. Authorities submitted these findings to the National Medical Services (NMS) laboratory.

Since 2019, isotonitazene has gained popularity in the illegal trade market. Initially, dealers sold it in the black market, but it has become one of the many readily available street drugs. As a result, the number of fatal overdose cases associated with the drug has significantly increased.

This article discusses isotonitazene in detail. We will describe why synthetic opioids are dangerous, signs of opioid abuse or addiction, strategies to prevent abuse, and addiction treatment.

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What is isotonitazene?

Isotonitazene, commonly known as ISO, is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that mimics the effects of etonitazene.

Swiss researchers first discovered etonitazene, a powerful analgesic, in 1957. The analgesic was potent, with a high potential for abuse and addiction. Therefore, the researchers did not make it commercially available for human use. It is classified as a schedule 1 drug.

The chemical structure of etonitazene and isotonitazene are very similar. For this reason, authorities in the United States did not classify it as a separate substance, until recently. The DEA labeled it a schedule 1 drug in June of 2020.

Before then, isotonitazene was not expressly illegal, and most dealers sold it on the dark web. With time, dealers moved from the dark web to the streets. 

The DEA reported that they were able to link several fatalities in the US with isotonitazene. Therefore, the drug is an imminent hazard to public safety.  

Most users obtain isotonitazene in pill form, but it is also available in powder form. Usually, the powder is yellow or off-white, and dealers cut it into other drugs to increase their potency. They may also use it to manufacture pills that resemble existing drugs. For instance, in Canada, isotonitazene tablets in Canada resemble Dilaudid pills.

Why are synthetic opioids dangerous?

Synthetic opioids are dangerous because, like natural opioids, they target receptors in the brain that produce analgesic effects. Consequently, they are highly addictive. They also have several side effects. These include, but not limited to: respiratory depression, urinary retention, vomiting, nausea, pupillary constriction, drowsiness, and confusion. Opioid abuse may also result in opioid use disorders.

If you overdose on synthetic opioids, you may experience the following symptoms:

If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately as you or your loved one will require emergency treatment. You can use the prescription nasal spray called Narcan to reverse the overdose effects.

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Signs of opioid abuse and addiction

You can categorize opioid abuse and addiction signs into three: physical, psychological, and behavioral.

The first and most apparent sign of opioid addiction is your inability to stop using opioids, even if you want to. Further worsening the problem is taking more prescription medications than your doctor prescribed.

Other signs of abuse or addiction are;

If you crave opioids or can’t control your urge to take them, the chances are that you are addicted. You may also be an addict if you continue taking them without your doctor’s prescription. The same is true if the drug regularly interferes with your day-to-day life.

Your family and friends will likely notice your addiction before you do since they will notice the behavioral change.

Strategies to prevent isotonitazene abuse and overdose

Isotonitazene is still new in the United States’ illicit drug market. Therefore, there is a need for more strategies to prevent isotonitazene abuse and overdose. Its classification as a schedule 1 drug is helpful because of the stringent regulations and hefty penalties for dealers and traffickers.

Still, it would be more useful if isotonitazene was added to toxicology tests. This way, authorities, and experts will better understand the extent of its abuse in the United States.

There should be better access to Narcan (naloxone), the medication that reverses the effects of opioids. This could help to combat overdose resulting from isotonitazene abuse.

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Treatment

The opioid epidemic is a destructive public health crisis that requires comprehensive treatment. At More Than Rehab, we offer extensive treatment for opioid addiction.

Generally, withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction are challenging to deal with on your own. This is true no matter if it is prescription opioidsor illicit synthetic opioids. Our experienced medical staff will help you through it.

We have inpatient detox, where our medical staff will supervise you as you experience acute withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, we have an inpatient rehab program that helps you navigate the early stages of sobriety. Our outpatient services consisting of group and individual therapy sessions.

Start your recovery journey today

Most people think it is impossible to successfully treat opioid addiction because it affects the central nervous system. However, this is not the case. With the proper treatment, you can make a full recovery.

If you or your loved one are addicted to opioids, it would be best to seek medical attention.

More Than Rehab has exhaustive treatment facilities. Our experts use an evidence-based approach to rehabilitation. We will walk you through our medical detox followed by the inpatient program to help you maintain sobriety.

Depending on your case, you may also opt for short-term replacement therapy to minimize your cravings with medication-assisted treatment.

Contact us today to start your recovery journey and get your life back on track. Our communication lines are open 24/7.

888-249-2191

How Is Rehab For Meth Different Than Other Drugs

Meth is a powerful drug and one of the hardest to overcome. This makes meth addiction treatment a challenge compared to alcohol or other drugs like cocaine and marijuana. A full recovery from meth needs an extensive meth addiction treatment plan, which comprises patient assessment, detox, therapy, and aftercare (support groups).

Detox purges the physical presence of meth from the body and helps user adjust to normal functioning without the drug. Therapy addresses psychological damage done by meth abuse and also arms the patient with coping skills to maintain long-term sobriety. Aftercare involves support groups that help keep the recovering user in line and accountable.

Methamphetamine, also called crystal meth, is a highly-addictive stimulant with short and long-term health effects. Meth abuse may also result in substance use disorders and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

This article discusses meth addiction treatment in detail, and how rehab for meth is different than other drugs.

How is rehab for meth different?

Rehab for meth is different than other drugs because it typically involves four steps. These all need to be completed to make a full recovery. The steps are; patient assessment, detox, therapy, and aftercare.

On the other hand, treatment for most drugs, including cocaine and alcohol, mostly incorporate two steps; detox and therapy.

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Meth addiction treatment: outpatient vs. inpatient programs

If you or your loved one decide to seek treatment for meth addiction, you will have to choose between the inpatient and outpatient programs. Your choice will significantly depend on personal reasons as well as the extent of addiction.

Outpatient treatment would be ideal if you have a weak addiction and didn’t get a dual diagnosis. You can also opt for it if you have work or school obligations.

Outpatient treatment programs are part-time. Therefore, you can select hours that allow you to continue performing your day-to-day activities. Most treatment centers require their patients to spend at least 12 hours a week at the rehab facilities for counseling and detox.

Inpatient treatment is recommended if you have abused meth for an extended time. Most chronic abusers usually experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, relapse is pretty common. 

Inpatient rehab centers provide a stable environment where you get meth addiction treatment without the danger of relapse. The program can last for 1-3 months, depending on the severity of the addiction and individual needs.

Meth addiction treatment: The steps in treatment.

Although treatment of meth addiction is challenging due to the drug’s addictive nature and psychological factors, several treatment options are available. Most treatment facilities offer treatment options that deal with both substance addiction and mental health conditions as a package. This is commonly called co-occurring disorders, or a dual diagnosis. 

Every meth addiction treatment plan has four steps; patient assessment, detox, therapy, and counseling. 

Patient assessment

Before your doctor prescribes treatment, you will undergo a patient assessment. The assessment determines your addiction level and the type of care you will need. You will also undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not you have underlying mental health issues that require treatment.

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Detox

Detox is the process where methamphetamine is expelled from your body. Usually, methamphetamine abuse builds your tolerance and leads to physical dependence. Therefore, when you decide to quit, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Most medical practitioners usually recommend medical-assisted detox because it is safer and has proved successful. Additionally, doctors can monitor your vital signs and prescribe drugs to make the withdrawal stage bearable. For instance, your doctor can prescribe benzodiazepines if you panic or become agitated as your body adjusts to functioning without meth.

Therapy

Therapy is the next step after detox. Most treatment centers adopt Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing your behavior to halt unhealthy patterns. 

During CBT, you will learn the underlying reasons for the meth abuse and drug-free ways to deal with stress. Additionally, you learn to recognize your emotional or environmental triggers, stop the negative impulses, and use healthy coping mechanisms.

CBT has proved effective in treating meth addiction and co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression.

Matrix model

Some treatment centers opt for the matrix model, a 16-week behavioral treatment program for meth addicts. The matrix model combines behavioral therapy, family therapy, drug testing, drug-free activities, and a 12-step component.

Support groups

For you to retain your sobriety, you need aftercare. Support groups are an aftercare method that works for most people that previously struggled with drug addiction.

The two most common support groups for recovering meth addicts are; Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

These support groups give recovering meth addicts a sense of belonging, mutual trust, and friendship with people who have similar experiences.

Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have a 12-step-programs that aim at personal growth and relapse prevention. In this program, members inventory their day-to-day lives. They also make amends with those they hurt due to their addiction and support other recovering addicts by disclosing their personal experiences.

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Support groups are free, and anyone recovering from meth addiction can join. You can also get a sponsor of your gender to guide you through the 12 steps.

Alternatively, you can opt for Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART), a model that incorporates CBT and 12-step programs elements.

Using medication to reduce meth cravings

Although the FDA has not yet approved medication that helps with meth cravings, a few successfully reduce meth cravings in most patients. They include;

1. Bupropion - several clinical trials have concluded that bupropion can reduce meth craving in patients who have a less severe addiction.

2. Dextroamphetamine - medical trials on the effect of dextroamphetamine in meth addiction treatment found that patients who used the drug were less likely to relapse.

3. Nicotine - small amounts of nicotine may prevent meth cravings in people whose meth addiction is not severe.

4. Rivastigmine - a recent study revealed that this drug might be effective in reducing meth cravings.

5. Naltrexone - studies show that naltrexone may prevent meth cravings and inhibit meth-seeking behavior.

Do treatment facilities use any medication in meth addiction treatment?

Most treatment facilities use medication during detox and treatment for meth addiction. However, the type of medication varies with each facility.

At the moment, there aren’t any FDA-approved medications for meth addiction treatment. However, rehab centers may prescribe medication that offers promising results in managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing meth cravings.

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Why should you get treatment for meth addiction?

Using crystal meth has significant social, medical, and psychological effects. They include but are not limited to:

Start your recovery journey today!

Meth addiction is challenging to treat, but it is not impossible. With the proper treatment, you or your loved one can make a full recovery and live a healthy, drug-free life.

At MoreThanRehab, we offer high-quality, individualized treatment for meth addiction. We offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Our qualified staff will walk you through every stage of your addiction recovery. 

Call us today to start your recovery journey. 

888-249-2191

How To Be Grateful Even When Times Are Tough

Gratitude is an essential tool for those in the recovery process. It is known to significantly reduce relapse rates, especially during the holidays.

If you feel grateful to be on the road to recovery, the chances are that you won’t relapse. A thankful attitude allows you to face any challenges that come your way and focus on your recovery goal.

Grateful people generally have a positive outlook on life. This outlook influences their behavior and promotes a sustainable recovery-oriented life.

Most people who abuse drugs or alcohol tend to be self-centered, caring only about themselves. If you are in recovery, expressing gratitude makes you less selfish and more aware of the needs of others. Additionally, you will be more in control of your life, more optimistic, and less stressed.

Practicing gratitude influences the behaviors and thoughts of those recovering from addiction and co-occurring disorders. It also helps them appreciate the present and improve interactions with other people.

This article will discuss how to be grateful, even when things are tough. Additionally, we will talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), its symptoms, and how to fight it.

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Gratitude

Here are a few tips on being grateful during the holidays to avert experiencing a relapse.

1.     Have a gratitude journal.

Have a journal where you list at least three things you are grateful for every day. Journaling daily will change your mindset and make you a grateful person overall.

2.    Focus on the essential things.

It would be best to focus on important things, including your relationships with your friends and family, instead of worrying about the unknown. You will realize just how lucky you are to have the people you have in your life at the moment. Interact with your friends and family often. Remember, isolation can lead to addiction.

3.    Change your perspective.

If you’re having a hard time coming up with things you are grateful for, take a moment to think about other people whose misfortunes are more than yours. Changing your perspective will make you realize just how much you should be grateful for.

4.    Savor the good experiences/moments.

During your day-to-day, pay attention to the moments you genuinely feel happy and savor them. Pay attention to how your body feels, and try to relive the moments when you don’t feel grateful.

5.    Appreciate yourself for the small milestones you make.

Most people tend to overlook what they do for themselves, mainly when they cultivate healthy habits during their recovery journey. Remember to always appreciate yourself for the small milestones you make.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that arises due to change in seasons. It is a co-occurring disorder that starts during fall, worsens during winter, and ends during spring. On rare occasions, people get a rare SAD type called summer depression.

SAD is a severe condition that harms your day-to-day life, including how you think and feel. It may cause major depression.

The mild version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is commonly referred to as the winter blues. Unlike SAD, winter blues simply make you feel down since you are mostly stuck indoors.

Who is likely to get SAD?

SAD tends to affect women  and young people more. Additionally, people with mood disorders, e.g., bipolar disorder and mental health conditions, are more likely to get SAD. People who live further north of the equator in high latitudes or cloudy regions are also more likely to get SAD.

People suffering from SAD may suffer from other mental health conditions, including but not limited to eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders.

Symptoms of SAD

Here are a few symptoms of SAD patients are likely to experience:

Those who suffer from summer SAD are likely to experience:

How to fight SAD

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Here are a few tips on fighting seasonal depression.

  1. Work out.

Most times, people’s physical activity decreases during the colder months. Working out is a great way to combat seasonal depression since you fight your body’s urge to be sluggish.

2.    Consider light therapy.

Research has shown that light therapy is a first-line treatment for SAD since it keeps the patient’s circadian rhythm on track.

3.    Participate in social activities.

Most people tend to avoid participating in social activities during the colder months. As discussed above, isolating yourself is a risk factor for SAD. Try as much as possible to participate in social activities and interact with your family and friends.

4.    Have a schedule and stick to it. 

People with SAD often either sleep a lot or have trouble sleeping. Try maintaining a regular schedule to improve your sleeping patterns. This will help reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression.

5.    Ensure you get enough vitamin D.

The  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that insufficient vitamin D may cause depressive symptoms, including SAD.

It is unclear whether taking vitamin D supplements may relieve SAD symptoms, but experts say getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and your diet could go a long way in preventing SAD.

6.   Go on vacation.

If you get SAD during the colder months, you can take a winter vacation to countries with warm climates at the time. Being in a warm place can relieve SAD symptoms.

7.    Be grateful.

As discussed above, gratitude is an essential part of recovery. Purpose to stay grateful and appreciate what and who is in your life.

Conclusion

Being grateful goes a long way in promoting sobriety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most addicts relapse when they can no longer deal with the pressure of their day-to-day lives.

Most addicts can avert a relapse on drugs by cultivating gratitude during recovery, especially during the fall and winter months, when SAD tends to kick in.

Check out our blog for more information on relapse prevention and drug rehabilitation. At More Than Rehab, we offer quality service to everyone struggling with addiction. Contact us today to start your recovery journey.

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Cartels Are Shipping Thousands of Pounds of Meth Into Texas

The National Drug Intelligence Center reported that Mexican drug cartels have come up with extensive drug distribution and transportation networks along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. 

According to the intelligence center, the drug trafficking networks extend from Texas to all other states in the US. The cartels have drug suppliers in most, if not all, the states.

Law enforcement officers in Texas have, on several occasions, seized drugs from traffickers in the area. Some of the most common drugs seized in Texas are: methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

 Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, or crystal meth is an addictive stimulant that harms the general health and well-being of those who use it. It is a controlled substance, and its potential for abuse is relatively high.

This article discusses meth abuse in Texas and how cartels are shipping thousands of pounds of meth into Texas.

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Meth abuse in Texas

A 2017 survey revealed that approximately 120,000 Texas residents aged over 12 years abuse meth every year. In 2018, there were over 950 deaths involving meth abuse. Additionally, 570 calls to the poison center were related to meth.

The Addiction Research Institute (ARI) also researched meth abuse in Texas. The research revealed that there were 12,385 treatment admissions of Texas residents. Treatment facilities admitted most of them due to meth abuse.

Why is meth abuse prevalent in Texas?

Meth abuse is prevalent in Texas for several reasons. For starters, Texas shares a 1254-mile border with Mexico. The border has proved difficult to fence since it is on an extensive stretch of land. Therefore, there are no physical barriers between Texas and Mexico, making it easy for cartels to transport their merchandise to the United States across the border.

Another reason is that there are thousands of acres of unoccupied land in Texas, specifically in southeast Texas. This gives traffickers ample time and space to ensure their meth supply reaches the intended destinations with no interruptions.

The Gulf of Mexico is also a contributing factor since it allows drug traffickers to use narco submarines, boats, and other crafts for their illegal business.

Cartels

Recently, according to the Tarrant County Sheriff Office, Texas, seized over 1400 pounds of liquid methamphetamine in five weeks. According to them, the street value of the seized liquid meth is $ 16 million dollars. Although officers made arrests during the drug bust, they declined to reveal further details citing ongoing investigations by undercover officers and surveillance. 

Bill Waybourn, the Tarrant County Sheriff, confirmed that authorities seized the drugs on two different occasions. On the first occasion, police officers pulled over a vehicle whose license plate matched a car someone had reported stolen. The seizure led to further investigations which resulted in a second seizure. 

Special agent Eduardo Chavez, DEA Dallas division, said that the liquid methamphetamine they seized was 99% pure. He also noted they were sure a drug cartel was behind the illegal trade.

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Investigator Calvin Bond, who works in Tarrant County, said they suspect the drug cartels targets locations like Dallas-Fort Worth because they are closer to Mexico. Additionally, he said they suspect the meth was produced in meth labs in Mexico, converted to liquid meth, then smuggled to the States through the Texas border. When the liquid meth reaches its intended destination, distributers crystallize it and sell it in the streets.

Police departments, the DEA, and the Sheriff’s office helped in the investigations.

Texas meth penalties

In Texas, meth attracts severe penalties. This is because meth use has become more prevalent in the past few years. To deter Texas residents from using meth, law enforcement officers, judges, and courts put stringent measures in place. If you are found in possession of meth, you will face harsh penalties, including hefty fines and jail time.

The penalties vary depending on the amount of meth the accused person had. The judges also consider the facts of the case and one’s criminal history.

Here is a breakdown of penalties you are likely to face;

Why treatment for meth addiction is difficult

Compared to alcohol and drug abuse, treatment for meth addiction is relatively difficult for several reasons. For starters, there are no medications to help with the rehabilitation and treatment efforts.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has proved to be very efficient in easing withdrawal effects and preventing relapses. It is an essential tool in most addiction treatment center programs. Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved medications for meth addiction treatment. This makes detox for meth addiction overwhelming to most patients.

Another major cause for concern is the ease of access. Between the 1990s and 2000s, there was an extensive crackdown on meth labs in the United States, most of which were located in Texas, specifically in the San Antonio and Houston areas. Some were small operations while others were quite big, inside large warehouses. When the government became strict after the crackdown, most labs closed down.

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Today, most meth in the United States is supplied by Mexican drug cartels. It is very potent and quite affordable. A report by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) revealed that the current price of meth is the lowest they have ever seen. Therefore, addicts undergoing treatment can easily relapse since meth is easily accessible and affordable.

Rehab options for people addicted to meth

Different treatment centers have a variety of rehab options for meth addicts. Most treatment facilities use behavioral therapies in the treatment of meth addiction.

At More Than Rehab, we have a comprehensive meth rehabilitation program. Our staff is excellently equipped to deal with meth addiction treatment and other underlying mental issues. We focus on ensuring that the patient is healthy both physically and mentally.

Considering that currently, there is no FDA-approved medication to help those in treatment deal with treatment effects, we incorporate a combination of group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), relapse prevention, and contingency management to make the recovery process more manageable.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us for professional help. We offer meth addiction treatment to all persons regardless of addiction severity. Let us help you turn your life around.

888-249-2191

Pupil Dilation & Drug Use - What Drugs Cause It?

There are many different signs of drug abuse, some more common than others. Pupil dilation is one of the most common signs of drug abuse. 

This article will discuss the various drugs that cause pupil dilation and what to look out for if you’re worried that your loved one is abusing or addicted to drugs.

What are pupils?

Pupils are black circles found at the center of each eye. Usually, they constrict (become smaller) or dilate (become more prominent) when the light levels in your surroundings vary. The pupils’ primary function is to direct light to the optic nerve at the back of your eyes (retina), thus allowing you to see.

Eye muscles located in the iris are responsible for pupil dilation. They manipulate pupils and make them adjust depending on the amount of light.

Pupils measure 2-4 millimeters when constricted and about 4-8 millimeters when dilated. Therefore, your pupil size can vary depending on the circumstances.

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What is pupil dilation, and why does it occur?

Pupil dilation after drug abuse occurs when the drugs activate your body’s flight or fight adrenaline response by engaging adrenergic receptors in the brain and serotonin. This results in a chemical reaction that leads to muscle relaxation (mydriasis), making the pupils expand to allow more light in.

Drugs that can cause pupil dilation

Several drugs can alter pupil size since most drug interactions in the body affect neurotransmitters which are your body’s chemical messengers.

Most drugs contain chemicals. Therefore, they cause chemical reactions in your body, affecting neurotransmitters. Since neurotransmitters determine your pupil size, they may dilate after drug use.

There are specific drugs that can cause eye dilation. Most of them are psychotropic substances and stimulants.  

Some common drugs that cause pupils to dilate are:

·       LSD

·       Cocaine

·       Ecstasy

·       Mescaline

·       Amphetamines

·       MDMA

·       Psilocybin

·       SSRI antidepressants

Xanax, a benzodiazepine drug, can also make pupils dilate since it affects the activity of neurotransmitter GABA that relaxes the muscles. Additionally, the stimulant medication used in ADHD treatment, i.e., Adderall and Ritalin, can also cause pupil dilation.

Other drugs, specifically opioids, can cause pinpoint pupils. Pinpoint pupils refer to pupils constricting and failing to respond to light. Sometimes, pinpoint pupils are an overdose symptom. If you notice a heroin user has pinpoint pupils, it would be best to call 911 immediately.

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Marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine cause bloodshot eyes when they expand the blood vessels around the pupils.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has more information on the drugs mentioned above, including the effects of LSD. 

How is pupil dilation determined?

When there is suspicion of drug abuse, there is a unique tool that officers or medical practitioners can use to determine pupil dilation and the most likely cause.

First responders use the Drug Recognition Card to determine whether or not an individual is sober. The International Association of Chiefs of Police invented the chart to quickly determine the pupil size difference between sober people and those high on drugs

The Drug Recognition Card can also help first responders determine which drug is responsible for the dilation. It has a list of various drugs and a pupil dilation scale which helps officers gauge the extent of pupil dilation.

Other possible causes of pupil dilation

Besides light and drug use, pupils can dilate for the following reasons:

·       Pupils can dilate if you focus on objects far away from you.

·       If you get a concussion, one of your pupils may dilate. One of them will appear more prominent.

·       Emotions. How you feel can make your pupils dilate. Most times, pupil dilation is a sign of endorphin release. If you’re happy, your pupils will appear more prominent.

·       Anisocoria. Anisocoria refers to a medical condition where one pupil is bigger than the other.

·       Iritis. Iritis is an eye condition caused by inflammation of the iris.

·       Prescription medication. Some prescription medicines can cause pupil dilation. They include antihistamines, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, anticholinergics, decongestants, mydriatics, benzodiazepines, dopamine precursors, and stimulants.

Are there long-term effects of pupil dilation?

If your pupils dilate due to drug abuse, you may wonder whether they would remain that way for good.

The pupils often go back to their original size when the drug side effects fade. However, there are a few instances when the pupils become dilated during the withdrawal period. This is common in individuals who abuse opioids.

Currently, there aren’t enough studies to conclude whether or not drug use can result in permanent pupil dilation.

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How to deal with pupil dilation

When your pupils dilate due to drug use or for any other reason, it can be uncomfortable since the pupils let in more light. Everything may appear overwhelmingly bright, and you may be sensitive to most if not all sources of light.

You may need to wear protective eye gear to shield yourself from light. This way, you will be more comfortable walking around and doing day-to-day tasks. Photochromic lenses and sunglasses will come in handy. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, while photochromic lenses automatically adjust your light  levels.

If you’re worried about pupil dilation, you can contact an eye specialist who will examine you and advise you on eye health.

Other signs of drug use

Although pupil dilation can be a sign of drug abuse, you cannot conclude that individuals have abused drugs by simply looking at their pupil size.

You may need to look out for other symptoms of drug abuse. The most common ones include; restlessness, unexplained mood changes, loss of appetite, increased heart rate, tremors, high blood pressure, heavy sweating, and change in sleep patterns. The individual’s performance at work or school may also be affected.

If you notice your loved one has any symptoms of drug abuse, it may be time to seek professional help.

Seek professional help

At More Than Rehab, we acknowledge that abusing alcohol or drugs can have many side effects. Drug abuse affects your life and that of your loved ones. You are also likely to develop a substance use disorder.

To start your healing journey, contact us today. Other than addiction, we deal with co-occurring disorders like depression, self-harm, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. We will walk with you every step of the way and help you turn your life

Holidays 2021: A Guide to Avoiding Relapse Triggers

The holidays are a time when most people reunite with friends and family to celebrate. It is considered a time to drink, eat, and be merry.

Unfortunately, the holidays can also be stressful for people in recovery, and the chances of addiction relapse are relatively high. Emotional relapse may make any recovering addict turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Some common holiday triggers are:

Holiday triggers can easily make anyone in recovery return to drug or alcohol abuse. Luckily, we have a few tips that go a long way in preventing relapse during the holidays. These tips will help you stay sober during the holiday season.

Wake up every morning with the decision to stay sober

Every morning, make a conscious decision to stay sober. Plan how to avoid any triggers you may encounter that day and what you’ll do if you get any cravings.

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Eat healthily

Ensure you eat healthy during the holidays. Staying hungry may result in low blood sugar, which may, in turn, make you more irritable. When you are irritable, you become impulsive and may end up relapsing. Be sure to have a snack with you when on the move and snack every few hours.

Avoid high-risk situations

Evaluate every situation and decide whether they are high-risk or low risk. 

If you are in early recovery, it would be best to avoid high-risk situations. If you must, try to leave early.

It would also help to know your triggers for you to avoid them. Some of the most common triggers are anger, loneliness, fatigue, and hunger.

Make a point of taking care of yourself both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not doing so may lead to physical relapse or mental relapse, which may in turn, lead to alcohol or drug use.

Carry your own drinks to parties

Most office and family parties have non-alcoholic beverages. However, it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages. If the party you’re going to will serve champagne, you can carry flavored sparkling water to sip on as other people drink their champagne. Other alternatives are juices or sparkling cider.

Carrying your drinks helps you avoid the temptation of indulging in the alcoholic drinks that are often served at holiday and Christmas parties.

Bring a sober friend along

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If you’re lucky enough to have a friend staying sober during the holidays, keep them close. A sober friend can keep you in check. If you feel the need to drink or get high, your friend will talk you out of it. Additionally, you’re less likely to feel the pressure to indulge when both of you are drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

Have a schedule

You may notice that over the holidays, most therapists cancel their sessions during the holidays since they either want to go on vacation or be with their friends and family. When this happens, you may not have sessions as often as you are used to. 

Try making a schedule of fun things you can do in your free time to keep yourself busy.

Learn to say "no" (politely)

Sometimes, you may not be ready to share details of your recovery journey with friends or family. Therefore, you need to learn how to politely decline their offers without giving out too many details. Practice your responses in advance so that you’re ready when they question you. For instance, if someone offers you drinks, you can decline by saying that you are the designated driver.

Volunteer

Volunteering during the holidays is an excellent pastime for people in recovery. You can choose to volunteer at a local shelter, food bank, or senior living community. Other than keeping you busy, volunteering can help remind you of how lucky you are.

Don’t isolate yourself

Although avoiding holiday parties and people seems like a good idea, it isn’t necessarily. Don’t isolate yourself by staying indoors. Spending too much time in isolation may lead to a relapse.

Try to choose events you can comfortably attend and make time for your friends and family. Show up for office parties and family events, but ensure you don’t relapse.

Have a support system

As mentioned earlier, the holiday celebrations and stressors can be relapse triggers. Having a strong support system can keep you busy and accountable throughout the holiday season. Support system can be your loved ones or peers in groups like Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these groups complement and extend the effects of professional treatment. If you don’t have a support group or if you have travelled to a different city or state for the holidays, check this site for organizations and support groups in your area.

When the craving kicks in, move past it

Cravings will likely kick in during the holidays. The trick is to stay strong and not give in since the urge will pass after a few minutes. Talk yourself out of it, move to a different venue, meditate, or even just take deep breaths. Do whatever you have to do to move past your cravings. You’ll realize that the more you beat your cravings, the easier it becomes in the long run.

Approximately 21 million Americans struggle with substance use disorders, and during the holidays it could be especially tempting. Due to holiday triggers, the relapse rate for people in recovery is typically much higher.

If you’re having a hard time staying sober during the holidays, know that you are not alone. It would help to reach out for extra support during this season. Try booking extra therapy sessions, going for extra meetings, or even starting a new course of therapy. This way, instead of relapsing, you’ll end the year on a sober note.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or experiencing a relapse, contact us for safe and secure addiction treatment. You can also call us at: 1-888-249-2191. We are open 24/7 and have several treatment programs approved by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to help you get back on your feet. Our supportive and caring staff will walk with you, every step of the way.

You can also look at resources on the American Society of Addiction Medicine website.

Stuck In A Loop: When Hallucinogens Cause Cyclical Behavior or HPPD

There are instances when individuals who abuse hallucinogenic drugs like MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin (also called magic mushroom), and LSD experience the effects several weeks, months, and even years after abusing the drug. These effects are commonly referred to as flashbacks and are prevalent in people suffering from HPPD (Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder).

This article will discuss HPPD in detail. We will look at what HPPD is, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is HPPD?

Simply put, HPPD refers to the visual disturbances that hallucinogenic drug users experience long after using the drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, visual disturbances range from bright circles and size distortion to blurry patterns.

People suffering from HPPD only experience flashbacks. They do not re-experience any other feeling of being high on the drugs they consumed before.

HPPD flashbacks are annoying, especially if they happen frequently. Although the flashbacks aren’t necessarily full hallucinations, they may result in mental health problems like anxiety.

Scientists argue that HPPD hallucinations are pseudo hallucinations, and those who experience them can differentiate what is real from what isn’t.

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What do flashbacks feel like?

People who experience flashbacks feel like they are reliving something they experienced in the past. Some flashbacks happen after drug use, while others happen after one undergoes a traumatic experience, i.e., post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

Both people with HPPD and PTSD experience moments when their sensory information tells them they are experiencing moments they experienced in the past, even though they aren’t.

With PTSD, the flashbacks are more vivid. On the other hand, flashbacks of those with HPPD are not in-depth. HPPD victims only experience visual snows.

If you suffer from HPPD, you will be aware of the flashbacks but won’t experience the high that the drugs you used before gave you. Note that these flashbacks may become frequent over time and can overwhelm you.

Symptoms

The 2016 review revealed that there are two types of HPPD; type one and type 2. Those who suffer from type 1 HPPD only experience brief flashbacks, while those that suffer from type 2 HPPD experience more intense flashbacks.

If you suffer from unwanted hallucinations or cyclical behaviors, you are likely to experience any of the following visual disturbance symptoms of HPPD.

  1. Color flashes- you may notice random flashes of color at random times.
  2. Intense colors- the colors of objects around you seem brighter.
  3. Color confusion- you may be unable to tell the difference between similar colors. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to tell maroon and red apart.
  4. When you stare at objects, you see a glowing halo around them.
  5. Objects may appear bigger or smaller than they are.
  6. You may notice patterns on various objects when in reality, the object does not have any patterns on it.
  7. Items or objects may appear to leave a trail behind them as they move.
  8. You may have a difficult time reading since words on screens or pages appear to be in motion.
  9. You may feel uneasy every time you have an episode since you know that what you are experiencing is not real.

Currently, there is no scientific explanation of when these symptoms manifest. Therefore they can happen to you at any time.

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People experiencing HPPD may also experience mental health issues, including anxiety, panic disorders whose common symptom is increased heart rate and heavy breathing, suicidal thoughts, and symptoms of depersonalization. Despite most people suffering from the disorder acknowledging that they experience these symptoms, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not acknowledge them as possible symptoms. The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders only acknowledges the visual disturbances symptoms we discussed above because it is still unclear whether HPPD directly causes mental health issues.

HPPD causes

Scientists believe that individuals who consume hallucinogenic drugs recreationally are at a high risk of suffering from HPPD. However, they are yet to conclude on the frequency of drug use that causes HPPD.

A recent study revealed that HPPD is common in people who consume more than one dose of LSD. It is also prevalent in people who use other hallucinogens on one occasion or more.

Contrary to common belief, HPPD is not a result of mental disorders or brain damage. It is also not a result of a “bad trip.” This is caused by hallucinogenic drugs and is more often than not, one of the many effects of LSD abuse.

HPPD management and treatment

If you experience any of the symptoms we discussed above, you should visit your doctor. They will ask you several questions before giving you a full diagnosis.

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After being diagnosed with Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, you need to learn how to manage and treat it. Currently, two drugs have proved to be effective in HPPD treatment: lamotrigine and clonazepam.

Lamotrigine

Lamotrigine is a mood-stabilizing medication that is effective in relieving individuals of HPPD symptoms. A case study showed that lamotrigine is effective in the treatment of HPPD. Unlike other medications like antipsychotics, it did not make any symptoms worse.

Clonazepam

Like lamotrigine, clonazepam is effective in treating this disorder. It makes the symptoms less severe and more manageable.

To manage these symptoms, doctors also advise individuals to avoid stressful situations and illicit drugs. Additionally, doctors may give patients a few techniques to cope with the symptoms. For example, your doctor may advise you to use calming breathing exercises every time you have an episode. They may also prescribe rest and talk therapy.

Note that there is no single treatment for HPPD. You will undergo drug therapy. Drug therapy varies with individuals depending on the difference in visual disturbances symptoms.

Most times, drug therapy is successful, and individuals lead everyday lives after that.

Conclusion

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder is a serious condition. Anyone who uses hallucinogens can eventually develop this disease.

If you experience any of these symptoms, they may eventually fade away. However, there are instances when the symptoms will persist for an extended time.

It would be best to seek professional help if you notice any of the symptoms above. Your doctor may prescribe drug therapy to treat the condition and other techniques to manage the symptoms and make them more bearable.

Prison Time For Drug Convictions In Texas?

Drug laws are different by state. Compared to other states, Texas has more stringent laws on narcotics and controlled substances, including mandatory minimums. Prison time for drug convictions may get you months or even years.

Suppose law enforcement officers in Texas find you in possession of drugs, you may face drug charges that can result in prison sentences, hefty fines, probation, temporary suspension of your driver’s license, or mandatory treatment for drug addiction. These penalties apply regardless of whether you pleaded not guilty or guilty.

Drug charges and penalties vary depending on the type of drug, the amount of drugs found in your possession, and your criminal record. Sentencing laws may change, so ensure this information is up to date & is not intended for legal advice.

There are several experienced drug defense attorneys in Texas who represent clients facing drug charges. They play a significant role in reducing drug charge sentences, and in some instances, have the cases dismissed altogether.

This article will discuss the relevant details on Texas drug laws, possible charges, and possible penalties. We will also look at rehab as an alternative to a jail term.

Possession

If you face drug charges in Texas, you may be wondering, “How much time can you spend in prison for certain drugs in Texas?” It’s best not to go by what you hear from random sources. Guessing 5 to 15 years can get you into a lot of trouble. As discussed above, possession is a serious offense in many states.

Therefore, if law enforcement officers find you in possession of drugs, you will face penalties. Some of the penalties you are likely to face include; jail time, hefty fines, probation, mandatory treatment for drug addiction, and driver’s license suspension.

The severity of the penalty depends on:

Penalties

Texas drug laws classify drug offenses and penalties into four groups. Each group comprises various drugs and has specific penalties. However, some drugs may fall into more than one category. Below is a breakdown of the four penalty groups and the potential prison time for drug convictions in each one.

Penalty Group 1

Penalty group 1 comprises opioids, opium derivatives (including heroin or fentanyl), cocaine, LSD, ketamine, methamphetamine, psilocybin, mescaline, and other hallucinogens. These drugs are known to be highly addictive and dangerous.

The penalties for drugs in this group range from 6 months to 99 years in jail. The fine ranges from $10,000 to $300,00 depending on the amount of drugs you were arrested with.

Penalty Group 2 

Penalty group 2 consists of drugs like Ecstasy, LSD, amphetamines, psychedelic mushrooms, and PCP.

The penalties for drugs in this group vary depending on the amount of drugs you were found with. For instance, if you had less than one gram, your jail term may be anywhere between 180 days and two years. If you had 400 grams or more, you might be jailed for up to 99 years and pay fines up to $50,000.

Penalty Group 3

Penalty Group 3 comprises drugs like opiates and opioids not listed in penalty group 1, sedatives (including Valium), benzodiazepines, methylphenidate, anabolic steroids, and prescription drugs that contain depressants or stimulants and can potentially be abused.

The minimum penalty is 180 days in jail and a $ 10,000 fine. The maximum penalty for drugs in this category (when you’re found in possession of 400 grams or more) is 99 years’ jail time and a $55,000 fine.

Penalty Group 4

Penalty group 4 comprises prescription drugs that have a high-level potential of abuse and opiates and opioids not listed in penalty group 1. Some prescription drugs listed in this category treat medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

The penalties for drugs in this category are similar to those in penalty group 3.

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Marijuana

In Texas, marijuana does not fall under any of the four categories we have discussed above. However, unlike other states where marijuana has been decriminalized, you will face drug charges if you are found in possession of marijuana in Texas. Marijuana has its special charges and penalties.

If officers find you in possession of a small amount of marijuana, the offense is classified as a misdemeanor. If they find you with marijuana that weighs over 200 pounds, it is a felony. You may spend up to 99 years in federal prison, plus pay a fine of up to $50,000.

Below is a breakdown of Texas penalties for marijuana possession.

AmountMisdemeanor/felonyFineJail time
Less than 2 ouncesMisdemeanor$2000180 days
2-4 ouncesMisdemeanor$400012 months
4 ounces to 5 lbsFelony$10,000180 days- 24 months
5-50 lbsFelony$10,0002-10 years
50-2000 lbsFelony$10,0002-20 years
Over 2000 lbsFelony$50,000Up to 99 years

 

Instances when drug charges in Texas can be dropped

There are a few instances when the state can drop drug charges against an individual. When this happens, there will be no conviction record on the individual’s record.

Drug charges in Texas are dropped when the state offers a diversion program for those arrested with small amounts of drugs. The diversion program is rehab that the court orders.

Note that the charge is only dropped after you complete the treatment program. A good number of people have a clean record despite being arrested for drug-related offenses.

Let your attorney give you legal advice on the options you can explore to get drug charges against you dropped.

Rehab as an alternative to jail time

As discussed above, the court may order rehab as an alternative to jail time for individuals caught with small amounts of controlled substances.

While making this order, judges may consider:

If the judge is satisfied that your case falls under the categories above, he/she may order you to go to rehab instead of going to prison.

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The court also gives specific conditions of your rehab depending on the seriousness of your offense and your history of drug abuse.

You should explore the option of court-ordered rehab since it has numerous benefits. Other than having a clean record, you have a chance of overcoming addiction and making good life changes.

Conclusion

Drug charges in Texas are serious and have serious penalties. If officers arrest you with drugs, hire an attorney who understands the judicial system and can protect your legal rights.

Your attorney will review your case and advise you on your options. In Texas, drug charges attract a minimum of 180 days jail time and a maximum of 99 years jail time.

If you are struggling with addiction, or its side effects, contact us to get professional help and potentially avoid running into issues with the authorities altogether. Who knows? Addiction treatment might even save your life.

Drugs are Getting More & More Potent

It is true that drugs are getting more and more potent these days. Unlike in the past, drug dealers are now selling stronger doses of drugs to attract consumers and also outshine the competition.

According to researchers, the increasing potency of drugs is a sign of an ever-growing recreational drug marketplace, fueled by the rising popularity of stronger drugs. It could also indicate that the drugs are widely available to consumers, forcing dealers to offer punchier products.

Competition in sectors like food or fuel is great for the end-user. It brings about better products and services, helping the consumer get the best of what the market has to offer. But when it comes to drugs, competition can be deadly. It can lead to drug overdoses and overdose deaths.

That’s because dealers do anything to make their drugs stronger and more appealing to end-users. For example, they’ll cut drugs like heroin with other highly potent drugs like fentanyl to spike effects, etc. Sadly, this can cause severe side effects, and in worse cases, overdose deaths. 

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The potency and purity of drugs in the market have reached new levels. It’s an alarming trend especially since the country is dealing with an opioid epidemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. At the moment, drug poisoning deaths are the number one cause of injury death in the US, exceeding guns, homicide, suicide, and car crashes.

Organizations like the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the US Drug Enforcement Agency produce annual reports on drug testing and thorough evaluation of substances they encounter. They also list out drug pricing details, and surprisingly, cheaper substances are often more potent than expensive ones. That’s because the cheaper ones are inexpensively mass-produced or readily available to meet the demand.

In the US, the average purity of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana increased by 11, 60, and 160% respectively between 1990 and 2007, while their prices, adjusted for purity and inflation fell about 80%. With that in mind, let’s now look at specific drugs and how potent they’ve become.

Marijuana

Today’s marijuana is three times stronger than it was about 25 years ago. This is according to a study published by the National Library of Medicine. The THC level found in marijuana went from 4% to 12% since 1994, with some strains having a concentration rate of 15-25%.

The growing popularity of marijuana has seen the development of more potent products. Traditionally, the plant was mainly consumed through edible products or smoking. But today, people make extracts and concentrates which are more potent due to larger resin volumes. Resins, which are isolated active compounds of weed, have 3-5 times for THC than a marijuana plant.

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Meth

About a decade ago, the average gram of meth in the US was 39% pure. Today, the Mexican manufacturers produce and sell it in a near-pure state. According to the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment by the DEA, the purity in 2016 was around 93-96%. Meth is smuggled alongside fentanyl and carfentanil, a very powerful derivative that’s often used as an elephant tranquilizer and can kill a person with one or two specks.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is a prescription drug that’s also made and used illegally. It’s mostly used after surgery to help patients with pain. But the Mexican cartels and Chinese cartels manufacture and smuggle the drug into the US.

And since it’s easier and cheaper to produce than heroin, many drug dealers make pills or cut them into other drugs and deceptively market them as oxycodone pills or heroin. According to the DEA, fentanyl seized on the US-Mexico border is about 4-6% pure. But the smaller quantities from China have a purity of 90% or even higher.

Heroin

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Heroin is highly addictive and many people find it hard to stop using it, even just after using it once or twice. Many constantly crave their next dose. If a heroin addict quits cold turkey or is unable to find another dose, he or she may develop withdrawal symptoms like sleeplessness, feelings of panic, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweats or chills.

Availability is partly to blame for heroin addiction. Heroin and prescription opioids have the same chemical properties and psychological effects. It’s why many people transition from abuse of prescription medications to heroin. Most of them cite heroin as cheaper, more accessible, and offers a better high. Notably, heroin’s street price has been much lower in the last few years.

As mentioned earlier, drug dealers and distributors are now cutting heroin with fentanyl to increase their supply and make it even more potent. Fentanyl is man-made; so it’s cheaper and easier to obtain than plant-based drugs like cocaine and heroin. Fentanyl-laced heroin is very potent and potentially fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. That’s why the risk of fatal overdose is much higher with such drugs.

Cocaine

Like heroin, cocaine is also often mixed with the powerful opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl turns cocaine into a much bigger killer than the drug of the past. In the 70s, drug dealers and users mixed heroin with cocaine. This mix is famously known and speedball. Speedball creates an intense euphoric rush that’s known as push-pull. But fentanyl has made it much worse. It makes people addicted to a crisis.

And the situation seems to worsen with the increased supply. A federal survey revealed that about 2 million Americans used cocaine regularly in 2018. In 2011, there were 1.4 million users. The production in Colombia has widened the stimulant market and reduced prices.

Sadly these people who produce cocaine aren’t chemists and don’t always know what they’re doing. But drug users trust their suppliers. Most of them don’t carry naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug because they assume they won’t need it.

Seeking addiction treatment

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Substance abuse is dangerous as is. Alcohol abuse can cause liver damage, and smoking lung cancer. We also know that heroin and cocaine abuse cause adverse effects like heart disease, seizures, lung and liver damage, etc. When people use more potent drugs, the risk is even higher.

Since most of them aren’t aware of the potency, they may use the same dose of a drug, but end up with adverse effects, or even death.

Drug overdoses are fatal. Luckily, many people who have overdoses can be saved if they get immediate care. Usually, death happens due to respiratory failure. Overdose is a scary word, especially since most associate it with death. But these two aren’t always a connected.

A person can still lead a healthy life after an overdose, but only if they learn from it. If you’re wondering where to begin from here, then you’ll be pleased to learn that treatment options exist. Reach out today to get help.

888-249-2191