Houston HIDTA: Exploring Houston’s Drug Problem

Downtown Houston city skyline

Houston has long had an issue with drugs due to its proximity to the U.S. Mexico border and extensive drug networks. The city has faced numerous challenges from the illicit drug market, including drug abuse, addiction, crime, and overdose deaths. Fortunately, the Houston HIDTA is helping combat Houston’s drug problem.  

What Is Houston HIDTA?

The Houston High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) is one of 32 HIDTAs designated by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This agency facilitates collaboration among federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in areas with significant drug trafficking problems.

The Houston HIDTA coordinates efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating in Southeast Texas. By pooling resources, sharing intelligence, and implementing targeted strategies, the Houston HIDTA helps reduce drug impact and improve public safety.

Statistics on the Drug Problem in Houston, TX

According to the DEA’s 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, Houston is considered a major drug distribution hub due to its proximity to the U.S. Mexico border and extensive transportation infrastructure.

The report highlights the following statistics related to the Houston drug problem:

  • There has been an ongoing increase in methamphetamine availability and abuse in Houston.
  • Cocaine remains readily available throughout Houston, with Mexican traffickers playing a significant role in its distribution.
  • Heroin availability is also on the rise in Houston, particularly black tar heroin from Mexico.

The city continues to face challenges related to prescription opioid abuse and overdose deaths. Additionally, data from local law enforcement agencies indicate that fentanyl-related deaths are increasing at an alarming rate in Harris County. This highlights the growing threat of synthetic opioids in the area. 

Other Houston drug statistics include:

  • Approximately 490,000 people aged 12 and older use illicit drugs.
  • Out of those, 369,000 have a substance use disorder.
  • 25.1% of people aged 12 and older binge drink regularly
  • Drug overdose deaths are on the rise, with a 600% increase in meth overdoses and a 340% increase in fentanyl overdoses. 
  • The HIDTA seized more than $25 million in illicit drug trafficking cash annually.

Fentanyl Abuse on the Rise in Houston

Fentanyl abuse is on the rise in Houston, posing a significant threat to public health and safety. According to Stop Drugs Houston, in 2022, Harris County recorded a total of 579 fentanyl-related overdose deaths, an increase from 483 in 2021, 296 in 2020, and 104 in 2019.

The number of emergency room visits related to opioid overdoses involving fentanyl has also been steadily rising. Law enforcement officials report an increase in the availability and distribution of illicitly manufactured fentanyl in the Greater Houston area.

Trends and Risk Factors for Fentanyl Addiction in Houston

Several trends and risk factors contribute to the rise of fentanyl addiction in Houston. Here are some key points:

  • Availability: Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is increasingly and easily available in Houston’s drug market, often being mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine.
  • Economic factors: Socioeconomic disparities in Houston increase susceptibility to addiction, as individuals facing unemployment, poverty, or lack of access to healthcare may turn to substances for coping mechanisms.
  • Polydrug use: Mixing fentanyl with other substances is on the rise to enhance or counter the effects of one substance over another. This increases the risk of overdose.  
  • Lack of education: Limited fentanyl awareness and education about the potency and dangers make individuals more vulnerable to accidental overdoses.
  • Peer influence: Social groups that normalize fentanyl use can pressure individuals into using the drug without regard for its dangerous effects. 

Houston’s Cocaine Problem

According to Stop Drugs Houston, cocaine continues to be a problem in Houston. More drug deaths involved cocaine than any other type of drug in 2021. Data shows 440s deaths that year, with another 442 deaths in 2022. 

The Effects of Addiction in Houston, TX

The effects of addiction in Houston, Texas have far-reaching impacts on health issues, increased crime rates, homelessness, and accidental deaths. In addition to cocaine and fentanyl, several other drugs are commonly abused in Houston, including:

  • Meth
  • Prescription opioids
  • Marijuana
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Alcohol

Drug Crimes in Houston

Houston, like many urban areas across the United States, faces a significant issue with drug-related crimes. Drug trafficking is prevalent in Houston due to its proximity to the U.S. Mexico border, Houston serves as a hub for extensive transportation networks throughout the U.S.

Drug possession is another issue in Houston. Individuals caught with illegal drugs for personal use or distribution can be charged with criminal offenses under Texas law. In addition, the manufacturing and production of illicit drugs is a common issue in the city. 

Houston also has a problem with prescription fraud and prescription theft. Another related drug crime that is common is money laundering. 

Why Treatment Is Vital

Treatment for alcohol and drug use disorders is vital for several reasons. It also helps individuals overcome their addictions and address any co-occurring disorders. Treatment also helps reduce the risks of accidental overdose and the spread of diseases like HIV and AIDS. 

In treatment programs, individuals develop effective coping skills and relapse prevention techniques to help them remain sober and substance-free. Most importantly, treatment gives individuals a second chance to lead a productive life. People also have the opportunity to repair the damages caused by addiction for a brighter future. 

Get the Treatment You Deserve in Houston Today

When you are ready to break free from the grips of drug addiction, The Prarie Recovery Center in Houston is here to help. We offer comprehensive treatment programs tailored to your unique needs. Our compassionate and caring team provides a safe, secure, and supportive environment to help you regain control over your life.

Contact us today to begin the path to a drug-free future.