5 things to know about opioids in Travis County


Highlights

How the opioid epidemic affects Travis County and Texans.

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency, although he did not release additional funding to tackle the epidemic. The drug crisis has claimed the lives of more than 60,000 Americans.

Here are five things to know about how the epidemic has affected Travis County and the state:

1. Age and race: According to a 2014 University of Texas study, opioid users in Texas are increasingly white and younger. About 74 percent of people seeking treatment for dependence on opiates other than heroin and synthetics were white. The average age was 35.

2. Overdose rates: In 2014, Travis County had a lower overdose death rate than other large Texas counties. The UT study in 2014 found that Travis County had an overdose death rate of 2.3 per 100,000 people. Nueces County (Corpus Christi), topped the list with an overdose death rate of 10.4, followed by Dallas County (Dallas) at 6.8. Bexar County (San Antonio) and Harris County (Houston) both had overdose death rates of 5.1.

3. Top medications: Hydrocodone was the prescription medication most commonly detected in people autopsied in Travis County in 2009. The Travis County medical examiner also found Xanax and Valium among the top three.

4. Underreported: A 2015 American-Statesman and Houston Chronicle investigation established that prescription drug overdose deaths are widely underreported in Texas and most states.

5. Veterans at risk: Nearly 18 percent of Texas veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq died of drug overdoses, most involving prescription drugs, according to a 2012 American-Statesman investigation that looked into post-combat deaths of Texas veterans from suicide and prescription drug abuse.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Man accused of abandoning 6-year-old son in Georgetown hotel room
Man accused of abandoning 6-year-old son in Georgetown hotel room

A man is accused of leaving his 6-year-old son alone in a Georgetown hotel room and not returning, an arrest affidavit said. Gregory Flores, 45, of Georgetown was charged with abandoning or endangering a child, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail. An employee of the Days Inn at 333 North Interstate 35 in Georgetown told police...
H-E-B’s annual Feast of Sharing serves food, fun for free
H-E-B’s annual Feast of Sharing serves food, fun for free

People — some to serve, some to be served — poured into the Palmer Events Center on Tuesday afternoon for H-E-B’s annual Feast of Sharing. Diners were greeted by smiling volunteers and the smells of a Thanksgiving meal, as well as H-E-B’s mascot, H‑E‑Buddy, a giant grocery bag that gave high-fives and hugs to families...
Police: Woman sexually assaulted and thrown out of car in Round Rock
Police: Woman sexually assaulted and thrown out of car in Round Rock

A man accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met at a Round Rock bar was arrested last weekend, nearly two years after the crime was first reported to police. Roy Thomas Walters, 37, of Hutto is charged with sexual assault, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Nick Olivier, a spokesman for the Round Rock police, said the...
Two more women accuse guard of sexual misconduct at immigration lockup
Two more women accuse guard of sexual misconduct at immigration lockup

Two more women have accused guards at a Williamson County federal immigration detention center of sexual misconduct following another immigrant detainee’s recent accusation of being sexually assaulted at the Taylor facility. The immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership on Tuesday announced that staff had spoken with one woman, accused of...
Man, 38, wounded in North Austin shooting, police say

NORTH AUSTIN Man wounded in shooting A man was shot and injured in North Austin on Tuesday afternoon, Austin police said. A police spokeswoman said officers were called out to the 10400 block of Little Pebble Drive, near Metric Boulevard, at 2:12 p.m. after receiving a call for a shooting in the area. Officers arrived and found a 38-year-old man with...
More Stories