Comparing federal, state, and county surveys on the number of drug treatment centers in Harris County renders an unclear picture of the state of recovery services in the area, according to researchers.
In a paper released Monday, analysts at Rice University’s Baker Institute decried what they said is a serious lack of data on treatment centers, which are often separated from other types of medical care and unregulated.
In an unregulated environment, said Kathrine Harris, an author of the paper, many types of treatment including methods that are not “evidence-based” qualify as drug treatment. “Because of that, it’s really important to have the information so that people can try to find something that either is evidence-based or that they think might work for their needs,” she said.
Typically, someone looking for medical care can search for and compare providers through their insurance company, but if someone is looking for a drug treatment center, for example, “that’s not available,” said Harris.
“It can be very difficult to get the information that you need quickly to be able to get the services that are most effective for you,” Harris said, noting that those searching for substance abuse treatment are often in a moment of crisis.
Harris said data she examined also showed gaps in availability for drug treatment in Harris County. The number of treatment slots in the area amounts to .3 percent of the county’s population, while it is estimated nearly 8 percent of people aged 12 or older has a substance abuse disorder.
Read: Gaps in Drug Treatment Data and Availability: Lessons from Harris County, Texas