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

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.

East Texas Has an Opioid Problem, From Prescription

If you think that the drug abuse trend in the great state of Texas has anything to do with its closeness to the Mexican border, you are right. Texas shares a 1,254-mile border with Mexico, which is a big factor in the state's drug problem, especially with the illegal drug heroin.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Texas Drug Threat Assessment, this border area is widely used by the cartels to smuggle illicit substances to the United States. That’s because most of is open, including state parks and this makes it difficult to constantly be monitored by enforcement agencies.

Large quantities of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and meth are trafficked to the country through the border. Federal-wide Drug Seizure System (FDSS) research shows that the amount of drugs seized by officers in the state – most confiscated near or at the US-Mexico border – consistently surpasses that of any other region in the United States

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But despite the law enforcement effort, cartels still find creative ways of ferrying the drugs across the border, whether it’s through roads, air, rail, water, or underground tunnels. And while smuggling happens anywhere across the border, commercial smuggling is prevalent in the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Grande River.

Prescription opioids in East Texas

Illicit substances aren’t the only drug problem in Texas. The seemingly safe prescription medicines are also frequently abused and can cause serious issues, like overdose and death. In 2018, there were 14,975 deaths involving prescription opioids in Texas, according to the National Institute on Drug Use. Although the national prescription opioid-involved death rates decreased by nearly 7% from 2018 to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that more than 70% of the 70,630 deaths in 2019 involved opioids.

Prescription drugs produce feelings of calmness and euphoria when taken in large doses. And while they aren’t meant to be taken this way, people may become tolerant over time and begin taking larger doses to feel the effect. This is part of the reason Texas law limits opioid prescriptions for acute pain to 10 days – with no refills allowed. A separate law also mandates physicians to check a state database to track whether patients with moderate to severe pain have already gotten the drugs elsewhere.

The regional needs assessment showed that the lifetime use rates for codeine syrup, Adderall, and benzodiazepines in the south- and northeast Texas were 15.5%, 4.4%, and 4.1%, respectively. Additionally, there were 7 prescriptions per 10 people in northeast Texas compared to 5.2 per 10 people statewide, according to the assessment.

Examples of commonly abused prescription drugs in East Texas include:

Misuse of prescription medicines is widespread, especially among adults and teens. Xanax misuse is particularly prevalent for teens. Houston, which lies in Southeast Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston, is a source city for bulk quantities of pain medicines. Most of the supply comes from diverse activities at Houston’s many illegal pill mills, organized pharmacy theft, and prescription fraud.

Counterfeit pill production

The rise of counterfeit pill production makes the prescription drug situation even worse. Fake Xanax and hydrocodone pills containing fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are increasingly being seized. These impure drugs can have severe side effects and lead to overdose and death in worse cases. In fact, reports show that misused opioids accounted for more deaths than any other drugs save for cocaine.

According to the DEA, fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills remain a leading cause of overdose deaths in East Texas and across the country. As cheap, potent fentanyl infiltrates the heroin markets, the drug will augment and supplant white powder heroin in different markets.

Texas is in the top five states for a total number of opioid-related deaths. It also has the second-highest opioid abuse-related health care costs, amounting to over $1.9 billion, according to the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s overview. Hundreds of people die of overdose every day, and deaths involving schedule II drugs have outpaced those of heroin and cocaine combined since 2002. The crisis has led several East Texas counties, like Upshur, Titus, and Bowie, to hold drug manufacturers like Pfizer Inc., Purdue Pharma, and Johnson & Johnson responsible for the economic burden of opioid addiction.

Opioid addiction

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Opioids such as fentanyl, heroin, and pain medications are highly addictive because they activate powerful reward centers in the brain. These drugs activate opioid receptors on cells situated in many areas of the spinal cord, brain, and other body organs, particularly those involved in feelings of pleasure and pain. When they attach to these receptors, they block pain signals and flood the body with dopamine. This effect can reinforce the act of using the drug, making one want to repeat the experience.

Long-term use of opioids can cause some people to develop tolerance. In this case, they’ll need higher and more frequent doses to achieve the desired effect. But this causes neurons to adapt so that they only work normally when the drug is present. The absence of the drug causes withdrawal symptoms, some of which are life-threatening. At this point, one is likely to rely on the drug to keep these symptoms at bay.

Treating opioid addiction

Chronic pain patients who develop opioid addiction need medical support to quit using the drugs. There are many inpatient and outpatient facilities in Trinity, Newton, Polk, Port Arthur, Tyler, Texas, etc., dedicated to treating people with addiction. Other programs, like the Deep East Texas Opioid Response Program, can also help with addiction care. Many of these programs use medications like buprenorphine or methadone to help individuals get off of opioids. In cases of opioid overdose, patients are given Naltrexone to flush out receptors to reverse the overdose.

Take advantage of the many resources available in the region to ensure you or your loved one is free from opioid addiction. The East Texas Council on Addiction and Drug Abuse is one such resource that acts as the first step for those seeking help. But you can also contact us today to learn how we can help you get off drugs and lead a clean, healthy life.

How Mexican Drug Cartels Affect Texas

According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration reports, Mexican drug cartels are responsible for the majority of drugs smuggled into the country. The far-reaching influence of these well-organized crime groups that ascertain their dominance through fear and violence continues to be astounding.

While Mexican cartels have major influence across the country, the most affected state has been Texas.

Why is Texas a prime spot for drug trafficking?

Texas has for decades been a hot spot for most Mexican drug cartels as the state shares 1254 miles of border with Mexico. This has been made worse as most of the state, especially the South Texas HIDTA region, primarily consists of thousands of acres of unoccupied land.

The presence of the Gulf of Mexico further escalates the problem as the huge water body enables drug traffickers to use small boats, narco submarines, and pleasure crafts for their illegal trade.

What about the border fence and patrols?

Is it possible to have a United States-Mexico border that covers every inch between these countries?

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Well, that is a question that still demands a lot of research and billions of dollars in investment. Texas has particularly proven to be extremely challenging to fence as it has huge stretches of land that do not have physical barriers.

The flat desert areas and floodplains also present another challenge, making an end-to-end border fence an idea whose implementation depends on many geographical, economic, and legal aspects. However, recently in a bold move, Texas Governor Greg Abbott unveiled border wall plans as a part of his security action to keep Texans and Americans safer.

On a brighter side, part of the border fence built in strategic areas has helped Border Patrol and law enforcement increase surveillance and capture hundreds of cartel members. But, this has not deterred Mexican drug cartels from coming up with new ways of drug trafficking that allow them to move around, under, or through these barriers.

The growing impacts of drug trade on Texas

The Mexican drug cartel has proven to be the mythical hydra that replaces each head cut by two others. In 2014, after the capture of Joaquin Guzman, popularly known as El Chapo, who was a high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa cartel, it was expected that drug activities would sharply decline.

However, it seems that capturing drug lords is not a long-term solution to breaking down the empires worth hundreds of millions of dollars. With access to so much money, it is always a matter of time before new leaders emerge or new groups are formed.

For example, after El Chapo was extradited to the USA and his cartel operations were greatly affected by the arrests of many cartel members; breakaway members formed a new group. This group is the Jalisco New Generation Cartel that has rapidly grown and is currently attributed to more than 30% of the drugs in the United States.

Since Texas is the epicenter of drug trafficking to the USA, it has not been spared from the wrath of this illegal trade. Law enforcement is now paying more attention to the impacts of Mexican cartels operation in Texas as it is a problem that can no longer be ignored.

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The major and pressing problems linked to the influence and operations of Mexican cartels in Texas are:

One of the biggest concerns today is how Mexican drug cartel members use young people, especially teenagers, for drug trafficking. After crossing the Mexican border, these cartels need a way to ensure the passage of drugs discreetly. The perfect bait has been found, and these are young and innocent children who are given an opportunity to make easy money.

It is heartbreaking that teenagers as young as 12 have pleaded guilty to helping cartel members to smuggle drugs, like heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine into the United States. This trend is expected to grow as cartels are now targeting young people using social media, making it harder to control the number of smugglers who could be recruited.

One of the long-term impacts of the drug trade is that it leads to a rise in human and sex trafficking. Texas has not been spared from these illegal activities as Mexican cartels are busy moving people and drugs into the country.

Border communities have been most affected by these activities as they often come face to face with the violent and daring gatekeepers facilitating cross-border smuggling.

There is never a peaceful drug trade as each cartel always aims for supremacy on valuable trade routes and markets. The drug war in Mexico is facilitated by the high number of weapons acquired from the United States and the many local gangs facilitating drug sales.

These local gangs have proven to be quite crafty as they now sell narcotics as prescription drugs or magic mushrooms. Unfortunately, this is a gaping hole that many young people have fallen into, leading to a severe public health pandemic. Yearly, the statistics worsen as more people overdose on these drugs and suffer from a heart attack while countless more become addicts.

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Every month millions of dollars are smuggled back into Mexico as proceeds from the drug trade. In turn, money launderers in Texas and across the nation have become an integral part of cartel operations as they ease money flow. This has become such a big concern as, on the one hand, it hurts the local economy, and on the other hand, it makes Mexican cartels stronger.

On a national level, this has necessitated the attorney general and U.S law enforcement agencies to collaborate with Mexico in the fight against drug cartels. However, despite the massive strides that have been made, especially in the seizure of laundered money and property, Mexican cartels still stick out like a sore thumb.

Stay safe in Texas

The overreaching impacts of the Mexican drug cartels in Texas call for great public awareness on the devastating impacts of drugs. At a personal level, it also mandates great self-control to avoid falling victim to the alluring lifestyle that cartels use to recruit more local members.

Luckily, you are not alone, as More Than Rehab is here to help you avoid becoming entrapped in substance abuse or aiding these cartels in drug smuggling or money laundering. In the end, the easy money and flashy lifestyle that cartels portray is short-lived and will cause more pain than good. If you are in immediate danger or need help, call 911. If you need a safe rehab to get clean, call us.

888-249-2191

How Addiction Affects Family Legal Matters in Texas

For someone who is struggling with an addiction, even the threat of loosing their kids doesn’t make it any easier for them to quit using drugs or alcohol. For some people the threat of losing their kids is what will finally make them decide to get treatment for their addiction. Many Texans have already lost custody and visitation rights for their children and are desperately trying to make things right.

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Exhibiting a willingness to change and complying with the courts orders are your best chances to reunite your family. Texas family laws operate on a belief that parents should share custody. If the state has suspended your custody rights, the important thing will be to comply with any and all court orders. If you have been ordered to go into rehabilitation, comply with that order. Once you finish treatment, you can file a motion to get custody of your kids back. If you fail to comply with court orders however, you may have your parental rights permanently terminated.

Texas courts and family law concerning addiction.

When a court makes the decision based on the child’s welfare, it may take several considerations into account. If they are at least 10 years of age, the child’s preference on custody can help determine the ruling of the court. The family’s history of abuse or neglect, substance abuse history, the ability of each parent to care for the child and the physical and emotional needs of the child can all be taken into account when it comes to legal determinations of parenting responsibilities.

In all of this, the goal of the state of Texas is always to provide the safest environment for the child to be raised in. According to the same statute, Texas courts must always make opportunities for both parents to play a role in the child’s life, whenever possible. If one parent is unfit to care for the child due to endangerment from drug or alcohol abuse, the court may require that parent to undergo treatment at a drug rehabilitation facility before further considerations regarding child custody are made.

What happens when one parent lives in another state?

The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act regulates interstate custody arrangements. It was designed to provide a uniform jurisdiction and enforcement mechanisms in custody and visitation matters that transcend interstate boundaries. The law was also created in an effort to deter interstate parental kidnapping. This has been an issue as America is a highly mobile society. People move across the United States for their job or family obligations all the time. This law requires state courts to enforce valid child custody and visitation rights made in other states. The UCCJEA guidelines help shape various aspects of Texas state law regarding families.

Conservatorship and the roles of parents defined in Texas state family laws.

The laws of the State of Texas consider child custody “conservatorship”. This definition outlines the rights and responsibilities of parents concerning their child’s welfare and best interests. The responsibilities include decision-making for medical care, education and other matters impacting the child’s life. There are two types of conservatorship in Texas:

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How parental drug or alcohol abuse affects determinations of child custody cases in Texas:

When one, or both parents are using a substance that negatively impacts their ability to adequately care for children, the State of Texas considers this to be a form of “child abuse” or “neglect”. In custody cases, parents have the right to file a motion to have the other parent tested for drug use. However, this accusation cannot come without supporting evidence regarding the claims. The supporting evidence can come from a variety of sources, third party witnesses, the parent’s own criminal records, social welfare agencies or medical records. Courts will typically grant these requests as it is in the best interests of the child to determine the parent’s ability to provide for them.

If you have been actively using drugs and you tested positive on the court-ordered drug test, it is taken very seriously by the courts in Texas. This will likely be a major factor in the court’s decision regarding child custody and visitation rights. Typically, a failed UA will result in the complete loss of custody and visitation rights. Sometimes you may only be allowed supervised visitation rights.  

If a parent has repeated failed drug tests, a court-ordered addiction treatment program may be required to regain your visitation rights. This program may be in conjunction with other forms of counseling and even parenting classes. Keep in mind that a positive drug test doesn’t necessarily mean a complete loss of your parental rights. Exhibiting a willingness to change, with the successful completion of court-ordered classes and treatment programs can go a long way to restoring involvement in your child’s life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, odds are it is affecting their entire family. Consider the help available from More Than Rehab. We offer an extensive addiction treatment program for all types of drug and alcohol abuse.  We are located just outside of Houston, Texas with locations in Austin and Dallas coming soon. Our phone lines are open 24/7 and we are ready to help.

Call us today:

888-249-2191