Officials, community leaders, healthcare experts, and families in Belton and throughout Texas are hopeful that legislative changes and increased funding will help make 2017 the year that Texas begins to gain ground in the fight against opioid addiction.
The Ongoing Opioid Crisis in Texas
As noted in a July 24, 2016, Texas Tribune article, the abuse of opioids and other addictive substances has taken a dramatic toll on individuals and families in Texas:
- The annual number of opioid-related deaths in Texas has risen by 80 percent in the past 20 years.
- Fewer than 9 percent of Texans who have a drug problem get treatment.
- Per capita spending in Texas on substance abuse and mental health is significantly below the national average (according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Texas’s spending trails the national average by about 35 percent).
“Opioid prescription drug and heroin addiction is ripping away at the fiber of our homes and our communities in our nation,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said in the Texas Tribune article. “It’s destroying families, increasing crime, making our communities less safe, hurting our economy, and robbing millions of Americans of their future.”
Federal Help to Fight Opioid Abuse
The fight against opioid abuse in Belton, throughout Texas, and across the United States got a boost in July 2016, when President Barack Obama signed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law. According to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the following are among the many initiatives that are authorized by CARA:
- Expanding prevention and educational efforts to prevent the abuse of methamphetamines, opioids and heroin, and to promote treatment and recovery
- Increasing availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help reverse the effects of opioid overdose
- Expanding resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders
- Increasing disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications
- Launching an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the United States.
- Promoting a medication assisted treatment and intervention demonstration program.
- Strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.
Estimates by the Congressional Budget Office indicate that if CARA’s provisions are fully funded by Congress, Texas would receive about $48 million from the federal government to aid in the fight against opioid abuse and addiction.
Help for Opioid Addiction in Belton
As the county seat of Bell County and part of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan area, Belton, Texas has clearly been impacted by the state’s struggles with opioid abuse and addiction. On the positive side, Belton’s central location means that the comprehensive addiction treatment programs that are located there can be easily accessed by individuals throughout the state.
Although opioid addiction can be an extremely difficult disorder to overcome, effective treatment can help a person to end his or her dependence upon heroin, prescription painkillers, or other opioids. If you or someone that you love can benefit from professional treatment for opioid addiction in Belton, please know that help is available and a brighter future, free from the constraints and limitations of this devastating disorder, can be achieved.