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Houston Matters

Researchers Hope New Program Will Curb Opioid Abuse In Houston; See Interactive Map On How It Affects Texas

The lack of enough specific data on the effects of the opioids epidemic in Houston could change with a new intervention program. Meanwhile, opioid-related deaths in Texas are soaring.


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Houston, like many communities across the country, has a serious opioid epidemic, experts say, but there isn't sufficient data on the extent of the problem here, according to Dr. James Langabeer, professor of biomedical informatics, emergency medicine, and public health at UTHealth.

In the ten years between 2005 and 2015, the number of opioid-related deaths in Texas doubled. The number jumped from less than 2,000 in 2005 to around 4,000 by 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

In the map below, you can click on each county to see the number of opioid-related deaths and how it compares to the Texas average and national average.

Dr. Langabeer said hopes the lack of enough specific data for Houston will change with a new intervention program that focuses specifically on people who overdose on opioids. It’s called the Houston Emergency Opioid Engagement System (HEROES). In the audio above, Dr. Langabeer discusses the issues with Houston Matters host Craig Cohen.

If someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, Dr. Langabeer recommends contacting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP.