The Council is troubled by the alarming spike in drug overdoses, which is now the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. After a number of recent losses close to home, we wanted to provide an update on our efforts to combat this crisis in our community.
What we know.
Since 2020, the highest number of opioid overdose deaths in Texas occurred in Harris County. The threat of fentanyl is worsening this crisis. Fentanyl is an opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and is often mixed with other substances and counterfeit pills. This means that when people use drugs without a prescription like Adderall and Xanax, they are at risk of fentanyl poisoning and overdose. As few as two milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. The Center for Disease Control found that about 66 percent of opioid-related deaths in Texas involve synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.
How we help.
- We provide integrated outpatient treatment for anyone impacted by any substance use disorder, including opioids. If we cannot help someone here, we work with individuals and families to identify and connect them with services that are right for their needs. Finally, we provide ongoing support for those further along in their recovery from opioid abuse.
- : We distribute Narcan, a life-saving medication that rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. We have also trained more than 4,500 people in Narcan administration in homes and communities across Houston, including healthcare professionals, law enforcement, educators, public park officials, and more. Additionally, all clients receive overdose prevention education.
- In 2022,The Council and Prevention Resource Center – Region 6 (PRC 6) collaborated with Houston High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area on a billboard campaign to promote awareness of the dangers of fentanyl. This “One Pill Can Kill” campaign strategically placed eight billboards across the greater Houston area and garnered an estimated 14,000,000 impressions. The Council and PRC 6 also hosted the 2022 Houston Virtual Fentanyl Summit, as well as the Family Summit on the Overdose/Poisoning Epidemic, both of which attracted hundreds of attendees to address this public health emergency.
The Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 629, which requires all public and private schools to adopt and implement a policy regarding the maintenance, administration, and disposal of opioid antagonists such as Narcan at every campus. It also passed House Bill 3908, which requires each public school district to provide annual instruction on fentanyl abuse prevention to students in grades 6 through 12. The Council is Houston’s go-to resource for local schools to develop and implement these new policies and procedures around Narcan availability and administration, as well as substance abuse awareness and education.
We will continue to explore new ways to effectively address this crisis through our own programs and services as well as through innovative partnerships with organizations and institutions across the city and state. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, or may be at risk of opioid overdose, call us today at (713) 914-0556, or contact us online.