The Council on Recovery Hails Surgeon General’s Report as a Critical Turning Point for Drug & Alcohol Addiction in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (November 21, 2016) – The Council on Recovery hailed the release of U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s report on drug and alcohol addiction as a critical turning point in one of Houston’s biggest health crises. The landmark report, “Facing Addiction,” is the Surgeon General’s nationwide call to action for an addiction epidemic that affect tens of thousands of Houstonians every year.

Mel Taylor, President & CEO of The Council on Recovery, welcomed the Surgeon General’s report. “Since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on tobacco, these reports have had a major impact on public awareness and action,” Taylor said. “This is the first-ever such report on alcohol and drug abuse and it will help Houstonians finally grasp the devastating impact that addiction is having on our community. Addiction is a deadly and pervasive disease.”

According to Murthy’s report, substance-abuse disorders affected 20.8 million people in the U.S. in 2015 — as many as those with diabetes and 150 percent of the total with cancer. Yet, Murthy told USA Today, only one in 10 people receives treatment. “We never tolerate a situation where only one in 10 people with cancer or diabetes gets treatment, and yet we do that with substance use disorders,” he said.

Mel Taylor agrees. “Addiction help is available, yet too often we see people in severe crisis,” Taylor said. “We want families to reach out to us early when they see the need for treatment.”

A section of the report presents findings from neurobiology research of addiction, describing the pleasure and pain functions of parts of the brain that combine to make overcoming a drug habit so difficult.

The Council on Recovery has spearheaded similar local research on the effects of alcohol and drugs on the brain, especially in adolescents. That work informs much of The Council’s prevention and treatment work targeting adolescents and young adults. “We’ve done a significant study of our own on this, and concur with the Surgeon General,” Mel Taylor said, “especially his assertion that a person who begins drinking before the age of 15 is four times more likely to become addicted than someone who starts after 21.”

The Surgeon General’s report suggests that policy makers must put resources into prevention, treatment programs, and professional counseling. “I’ve just understood that addiction really touches everyone’s life,” Murthy said. “It’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate, and it’s one that’s taking an extraordinary toll on our communities across the country.”

The Council on Recovery applauds the understanding of addiction and empathy voiced by the nation’s top medical doctor. “Surgeon General Murthy’s seminal report will make a huge impact on public awareness of the problem and the availability of solutions right here in Houston,” Taylor said. “The Council on Recovery stands ready to assist the Surgeon General in the bold actions recommended in his report for prevention, education, treatment, and recovery.”


About The Council on Recovery: Founded in 1946, The Council on Recovery is Houston’s oldest and largest non-profit organization providing the full spectrum of prevention, education, intervention, treatment, and recovery services for individuals of all ages. The Council on Recovery is committed to helping Houston overcome the addiction epidemic through a focus on family healing and long-term support that is equally accessible to all in need. Directly touching over 50,000 lives each year through prevention programs for children and youth, in-school and clinical counseling for teens, outpatient substance abuse treatment for adults, and more, our mission is to provide the highest quality of care at affordable rates for individuals and their families. Affiliated with the United Way of Greater Houston, The Council receives funding from private contributions and grants, special events, and program fees. For more information, visit


Kids Camp – December 29-31

The three-day prevention and support program helps kids learn that they are not alone and that other kids and families have similar experiences. Through art, games, role-play and fun activities, kids learn to identify and express feelings, develop self-care skills and deepen communication with their parents. Parents or caregivers join their children for a portion of the program which includes parent education and support. Above all, children learn that addiction is not their fault.

Please call 281.200.9299 or email us at for more information.

Start Here: Why “Starting at the Council” is a Good Idea

We often hear from clients after their first visit to The Council on Recovery. They tell us they’re so grateful and wish they had contacted us sooner!  There are many reasons why their sentiments ring true:

  • The Council is a non-profit organization and, like our medical colleagues, we don’t sacrifice quality of staff or cut costs to achieve results.
  • We don’t seek kickbacks or payments from our partners in exchange for referrals.
  • Our donors ensure that we offer the best help available for any family situation, matching up resources to provide timely solutions.
  • Our staff is well-informed and up-to-date on treatment services and programs in our community. Our knowledge of the costs, locations, hours, and staff expertise of other providers means that, if we don’t offer what a family needs, we’ll find a resource partner that does.

The quality of many drug rehabilitation centers is often judged by amenities and not the treatment itself. Research repeatedly confirms that effective treatment is defined first and foremost by the quality and expertise of the staff. Exclusive spas, horses, or special exercise programs are fine accoutrements, but are no replacement for a high-quality treatment staff.  In fact, amenities may actually distract addicts from the real work at hand of achieving sobriety and lasting recovery.

The Council on Recovery goes beyond all other treatment approaches by serving the entire family, not just the addict.  Studies show that relapse it is greatly reduced when the entire family is part of the recovery process. By providing training and understanding to children and spouses, setting limits and expectations after treatment, and creating a process of healing for the whole family, the outcome can be long-term recovery, not just sobriety.

So, when alcoholism, substance abuse or other addiction occurs in your family or afflicts a friend or business colleague, start with the Council on Recovery! Call us first at 855-942-4100. We help thousands of Houstonians and their families find fresh hope for lasting recovery.

The Growing Heroin Epidemic in Teenagers and Young Adults

Heroin use and addiction is no longer confined to the hardcore junkie. It’s become an epidemic in the U.S. affecting every demographic in a major way. Of the 21.5 million Americans that have a substance abuse disorder, nearly two million were reported as abusers of prescription opioids, a known precursor to heroin addiction; and 586,000 had a substance use disorder related to heroin itself. As unsettling as those statistics are, it is even more disturbing to consider that almost half of those reported with a substance use disorder involving heroin were under the age of 25.

Heroin-related deaths tripled in number in just four years, between 2010 and 2014, from 3,036 to 10,574, and there has been an increase in use in just about every state nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been an alarmingly large increase in fatalities nationwide due to drug overdoses. In Texas alone, the increase has been 4.3%, and that is in a one-year period.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug that is derived from the pain-killer morphine. It can be used by smoking, snorting, or injecting, and is typically found in the form of a black tar-like substance, but can also be a brown or white powder.

The high from heroin creates a feeling of euphoria and drowsiness, and users often experience “nodding off.” Risks of heroin use include hypoxia, vascular problems, pulmonary and gastrointestinal issues, overdose and death, among others. There is frequently an increased danger for heroin users due to contamination of the drug, which can be cut, or mixed, with other substances that can be toxic, or even fatal.

Why Are So Many Teenagers and Young Adults Using Heroin?

Heroin use among young people often begins the same way is does for adults, through the use of prescription pain medications. Opioid pain-killers like OxyContin, are readily prescribed by doctors for everything from premenstrual pain to dental work to traumatic injury, for both teens and adults, and leftover medication is often shared between friends for recreational use. When the prescription drug becomes unavailable, many turn to the use of heroin, which is cheaper and stronger. In fact, it is estimated that up to 80% of heroin use began with the user taking prescription pain medication.

Another factor in the use of heroin is that the perception of the availability of the drug is changing. The idea that heroin easily accessible to teenagers and young adults has increased among this demographic, which has historically been an indicator of increased use.

What Can Be Done About Heroin Use Among Teenagers?

With heroin and other drug abuse increasing among teenagers, parents must come to the realization that use, addiction, and death can happen to anyone – no matter the age, gender, race, socio-economic background, or any other defining quality. Heroin does not discriminate; it can kill anyone.

Parents and friends of teenagers have to be aware of the signs of heroin use, and they have to pay attention to behavioral and physical changes in their young loved ones. The best prevention is education and involvement in the lives of teens.

Recovery from Heroin Addiction is Possible

Possibly the only good news regarding the heroin epidemic is that more and more young people are seeking help for their addiction to heroin. There has been an increase in the number of heroin users under the age of 25 entering addiction rehabilitation facilities and receiving treatment for substance abuse disorders. While that is encouraging, relapse rates for heroin use are high, and intensive, ongoing treatment is often necessary for many users.

Recovery from heroin addiction is possible for anyone who is willing to take the first step and ask for help. For many, The Council on Recovery is the place to start. Founded in 1946, the Council on Recovery is Houston’s oldest and largest non-profit organization providing support, information, and outpatient treatment to all who may be adversely affected by alcohol, drugs, and addiction-related issues. The Council on Recovery is the leading provider of prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services in Houston. For heroin addicts and their families, The Council on Recovery provides fresh hope for lasting recovery and family healing.

Yoga and Meditation at The Council

For individuals struggling with new sobriety as well as those with long-term recovery, meditation and yoga can greatly improve their physical health, mental focus and program. For those also dealing with depression, anxiety or related issues, these practices help relieve symptoms and improve overall well-being. Visit our Yoga and Meditation page for more information on the yoga classes currently offered at The Council on Recovery.