El Paso, Texas Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Rehab Information

Substance abuse and addiction affected 22.7 million people across the country in 2013.[1] Rates of past-month use of illicit drugs are actually lower in Texas than they are across America at approximately 6 percent versus roughly 8 percent.[2]

High rates of substance abuse may very well correlate to the racial demographics in the area, too, as certain demographics have been shown to be more likely to abuse substances. A reported 72 percent of El Paso’s population is comprised of Hispanic individuals, and Hispanic teenagers are specifically more likely to engage in substance abuse.[3] They are about 40 percent more likely to report past-year use of illicit drugs than Caucasian demographics and around 30 percent more likely than African American teens.[4]

The consequences of not seeking substance abuse treatment can be dire in many cases. Often, it results in loss of employment, valuable relationships, child custody, marriage, and health. Sometimes it may even signal the end of one’s life. Drug overdose claimed 9.8 lives per 100,000 people in Texas, per 2014 statistics.[5] Nationally the rate is much higher at 13 for every 100,000 lives.[6]

Drugs and Crime

Drug crime is highly prevalent in the Lonestar State. With much of the state bordering Mexico, the international drug trade is a booming business in Texas. Individuals caught trafficking drugs into or out of the state face steep fines and serious jail time.

While marijuana is often thought to be the more so meek and mild illicit substance of abuse in the area, using it isn’t without penalties. Possession alone, of even small amounts, can bring a sentence of six months in jail and $2,000 in fines.[7] Possession of cocaine warrants two years in prison for less than 1 gram while more than 200 grams can impose a 99-year sentence.[8] Similar penalties apply for possession of like amounts of heroin in the state.

el paso

Alcohol Abuse

binge drinking ratesAlcohol abuse is somewhat more common in El Paso than everywhere else in America. With the exception of individuals aged 25-34, residents of El Paso binge drink at greater rates than residents of any other city in the state.[9] Rates for all binge drinking among all age groups come in at 18.1 percent for El Paso and 15.3 percent for the rest of Texas.[10] In all of America, past-month binge drinking was fact of life for 60.1 million people in 2013.[11]

Luckily, many of these individuals seek treatment for their alcohol abuse issues. Statewide, 5,931 people were admitted to treatment facilities in 2013, citing alcohol alone as their substance of abuse while another 5,150 cited it in addition to other drugs.[12] Combined, these individuals accounted for 27.9 percent of all treatment admissions in Texas that year.[13]

Alcohol poisoning alone causes many deaths, but more people die every year as the result of more indirect alcohol-related causes, like vehicular accidents, aspirating their own vomit after passing out following binge drinking, and alcoholic liver disease. Nationally, alcohol was a contributing factor in 46.4 percent of the 71,713 deaths stemming from cirrhosis of the liver in 2013.[14] During 2012 in El Paso, 25 people lost their lives in vehicle crashes due to alcohol use; that number jumped to 41 just a year later.[15]

In 2013, 78,352 people were arrested in Texas for driving under the influence of alcohol.[16] This charge comes attached to mandatory jail time and fines. Initial arrests may only impose three days in jail, but could come with as many as 180 days in jail.[17] Individuals who are convicted will lose their driver’s license for at least three months and have to pay fines upwards of $2,000.[18]

Subsequent offenses bring even harsher sentences of up to two years in prison, $10,000 in fines, suspension of driver’s licenses for the same period of time, and the requirement that an ignition device be installed on the individual’s vehicle that forces the person to pass a breathalyzer test to start the automobile.[19]

When Mental Illness Plays a Role

Nationwide, 42.5 million people suffer from mental health disorders every year.[20] In Texas, around 833,000 adults and 288,000 children were affected by mental illness in 2010.[21] A lack of treatment opportunities has hindered development on bettering these figures in the El Paso region for some time now. The city has just one licensed master social worker for every 3,566 residents.[22]

College students are notoriously known for binge drinking and drug experimentation, more than almost any other demographic. Counselors at the University of Texas at El Paso reported a significant jump in the number of students they saw for mental health issues due to crisis situations between 2012 and 2013 — going from 265 to 332.[23]

Leaving mental health issues untreated can lead to a variety of issues. Individuals may find themselves in jail for committing crimes they would not have engaged in had they been treated. A late 2014 study reported 26 percent of state and federal prisoners in America are affected by mental illness.[24] Around 37,700 people were behind bars in Texas prisons and jails in 2008 and suffering from mental illness.[25]

Individuals who struggle with mood and anxiety disorders are twice as likely to engage in drug or alcohol abuse.[26] Among college students who drop out of school across the nation, an alarming 64 percent suffer from mental health disorders.[27]

What is even more concerning is the rate at which suicide appears to be increasing, especially among younger demographics. Rates of suicide by suffocation increased 6.7 percent for females and 2.2 percent for males aged 10-24 between 1994 and 2012.[28] Most cases of suicide are due to mental illness every year, and over 34,000 people die from suicide annually.[29] Rates of suicide as a result of poisoning – including drug or alcohol overdoes – actually declined over the same time period from 1 per 100,000 to 0.6 per 100,000 males and 0.6 per 100,000 to 0.4 per 100,000 females.[30]

el paso abuse stats

El Paso’s Treatment Centers

Just 2.5 million people sought treatment for their substance abuse issues in America during 2013, accounting for around 11 percent of those who needed help.[31] In Texas, 39,676 people sought treatment that year.[32] Thus, around 17 percent of the national population who needed treatment received it in Texas.

When researching any treatment facility, it is important to review several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Whether or not the facility treats mental illness, should you require that care
  • The cost of treatment and payment options that are accepted
  • The people on staff
  • What treatment credentials the state and local region imposes on facilities and if those requirements are being met

Home to four addiction treatment centers, El Paso provides adequate care to individuals suffering from substance abuse and dependence.[33] A local U.S. Veteran’s Affairs treatment unit caters to people who struggle with mental illness on top of substance abuse problems. Around half of all people with severe mental health disorders also battle substance abuse, and 29 percent of people with any mental illness do.[34]

Despite El Paso’s smaller size in comparison to leading Texas cities, it doesn’t lack in the treatment department. Sober living facilities are more common in El Paso compared to most cities of its size. With 11 centers in the city, individuals have plenty of options to choose from.[35]

If paying for treatment is a problem, El Paso area facilities and local government agencies may be able to help. Between 2005 and 2008, 37.4 percent of individuals who needed substance abuse treatment but did not receive it cited a lack of health coverage or means to pay for treatment as their reason.[36] A few facilities offer grant services that may cover a portion or all of the treatment costs.

Sliding scale fees are also an option at some facilities. Using such a program, you would provide the treatment center with information on your household income, assets, and family size. They then take those factors into account when setting up your treatment plan and base the cost of medical detox and other services on what it appears you can reasonably afford.

Medicaid is another option that is accepted by facilities in the area. If you are living on a limited income, disabled, or qualify for state-supplied health insurance in another way, the entire cost of substance abuse treatment may be covered. In addition, sufferers with no income aren’t out of luck either. In 2012, 50 percent of rehab facilities nationwide rendered treatment to clients free of charge due to financial circumstances and inability to pay.[37]

Program Requirements

Verifying treatment credentials and facility staff members’ credentials is just as important as knowing your insurance is accepted at a given rehab center. Texas imposes certain requirements that facilities and their employees must meet in order to operate legally within the state.

In addition to training and classroom hours, chemical dependency counselors can attain licensure in the state with as little as a high school diploma.[38] Only counselors in the addiction treatment field that are Level III and above require master’s level educations or greater.[39]

It is vital that you understand the positions certain employees hold and what they are actually capable of doing for you, too. For example, if you need treatment for a co-occurring mental health disorder, you will want to veer away from facilities that do not have qualified professionals on staff that can render diagnoses and treat mental health conditions.

While a certain facility may promote their ability to treat mental illness, they may not be able to provide prescriptions for certain medications that many with mental health disorders require. They can get away with claiming to treat these conditions because they do so in a holistic fashion that doesn’t require their staff to have prescribing rights. Without a doctor on staff, they don’t have these prescribing rights. Likewise, without a qualified professional in the psychiatric field, getting any clear diagnosis for your symptoms may be difficult, if not impossible.

Other resources that can guide you in choosing the best form of treatment for your co-occurring conditions include the National Alliance on Mental Illness, El Paso Chapter, the El Paso Psychiatric Center, and the El Paso Behavioral Health System.

qualified professional

Citations

[1]Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings.” (2014 Sep 4). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[2]Texas Drug Control Update.” (n.d.). White House. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[3]El Paso Health Report.” (n.d.). Paso Del Norte Health Foundation. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[4]The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study: Hispanic Teens and Parents.” (n.d.). Partnership for Drug Free Kids. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[5] Ray, J. (2014 Dec 2). “Drug Overdose Deaths Have More Than Doubled in the U.S.: CDC.NBC News. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[6] Ibid.

[7]Texas Laws & Penalties.” (n.d.). NORML. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[8]Texas Cocaine Laws.” (n.d.). FindLaw. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[9]El Paso Health Report.” (n.d.). Paso Del Norte Health Foundation. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[10] Ibid.

[11]Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings.” (2014 Sep 4). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[12]Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions by Primary Substance of Abuse.” (2013). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[13] Ibid.

[14]Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” (n.d.). National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[15] Uribe, C. (2014 Jan 13). “Deaths, DWI numbers in El Paso ride for 2013.Fox News. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[16]State Map.” (2013). Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[17]Texas DUI and DWI Laws.” (n.d.). NOLO.

[18] Ibid. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[19] Ibid.

[20]State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness from the 2011 and 2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.” (2014 Feb 28). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[21]State Statistics: Texas.” (2010). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[22] McCormick, A. (2015 Jun 6). “Adam McCormick: Children’s mental health must be priority.El Paso Times. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[23] Rosales, E. (2013 Sep 6). “Counselors see a rise in mental health issues among college students.Borderzine. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[24] Reingle, J. (2015 Jan 9). “Mental health care lacking in state and federal prisons.The University of Texas. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[25]State Statistics: Texas.” (2010). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[26]Severe mental illness tied to higher rates of substance abuse.” (2014 Jan 3). National Institutes of Health. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[27]College Students Speak: A Survey on Mental Health.” (2012). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[28] Sullivan, E.M., Annest, J.L., Simon, T.R., Luo, F. & Dahlberg, L.L. (2015 Mar 6). “Suicide Trends Among Persons Aged 10-24 — United States, 1994-2012.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[29]Risk of Suicide.” (n.d.). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[30]College Students Speak: A Survey on Mental Health.” (2012). National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[30] Sullivan, E.M., Annest, J.L., Simon, T.R., Luo, F. & Dahlberg, L.L. (2015 Mar 6). “Suicide Trends Among Persons Aged 10-24 — United States, 1994-2012.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[31]Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings.” (2014 Sep 4). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[32]Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions by Primary Substance of Abuse.” (2013). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[33]Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility Locator.” (n.d.). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed September 19, 2015. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[34]Substance Abuse and Mental Health.” (n.d.). HelpGuide. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[35]Sober Living Directory.” (n.d.). Intervention America. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[36] Virag, T.G. (2008). “Results from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings.Diane Publishing Company. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[37] http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Treatment#sthash.JbV1WhrP.dpbs Accessed September 18, 2015.

[38]A National Review of State Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs and Certification Standards for Substance Abuse Counselors and Prevention Professionals.” (n.d.). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed September 18, 2015.

[39] Ibid.