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Thursday, February 22, 2024


Midland, Texas Drug Crisis

Midland Drug Rehabs are here to help!

With the shale oil boom success for towns like Midland in West Texas, there is also the growth of illegal drug activity and addiction.  Between 2010 and 2016, confiscation of methamphetamines increased dramatically in Midland and Ector Counties, especially among oil field workers. Law enforcement recorded seizing more than ninety-five pounds of meth in 2016, up from less than four pounds in 2010.

Drug charges in the oil-drilling town of Midland more than doubled between 2012 and 2016, to 942 from 491. Nearby oil boom cities like neighboring Odessa are also reeling from the impact of illegal drugs with arrests doubling between 2010 and 2016, to 1291 from 756.

Meth and cocaine continue to be the drugs of choice for oil workers maximizing their daily workload to make more money. Stimulants keep them going through long shifts, but unfortunately can lead to addiction. Compounding the problem, alcohol and opioids are also being abused, usually in combination with stimulants to bring down workers after a shift as the uppers prevent sleep.

If you live in Midland, and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

Understanding the Drugs of Choice in Midland

Methamphetamine continues to be most prominent drug of choice, accounting for 715 deaths in Texas in 2017, as compared to 539 in the previous year. Law enforcement notes that meth is now 95% more potent in the West Texas area. They have stepped up seizures of the drug at the Mexico border, which have increased by 103% since 2014.  

Meth enters the US in liquid form, which is easier to transport. Once in West Texas towns like Midland, meth contributes to more than just addiction and overdose. Social workers have noticed an increase of HIV cases as meth also contributes to reckless, unprotected sex among users.

Opioid abuse has grown as the population has grown due to the increasing employment opportunity in the oil industry.  Fentanyl abuse involved the use of transdermal patches before fentanyl powder made its appearance in West Texas during the spring of 2016.

In addition, the pattern of drinking codeine cough syrup, which was popular years ago in the region, has returned recently with mentions of drinking not only codeine cough syrup but also of drinking promethazine syrup.

Admission to rehab centers for the treatment of benzodiazepine has also increased. Alprazolam or Xanax is the most abused benzodiazepine drug, often combined with hydrocodone and carisoprodol to create what is known as the Houston Cocktail.

Crack cocaine and synthetic cannabinoids remain drugs of choice among the homeless population in the region. Cocaine availability is expected to increase in the future due to increased planting south of the border.

Knowing When You Have a Drug Problem

If you suspect that your use of drugs is escalating to the point of addiction, it may be time to get help. Just by answering a few simple questions, you will know if drugs are negatively impacting your life.

Do you think about drugs a lot?

If drugs are always on your mind, even over other thoughts like work or relationships, then your habit may be turning into addiction.

Have you tried to limit your drug intake and failed?

Efforts to reduce dosage are usually indicative of a problem. But when you cannot reduce the dosage by choice, then drugs have moved you from dependency to addiction.

Have you felt uncomfortable socializing without drugs?

If interactions with others makes you uncomfortable unless you are high, then drugs have impacted your social life.

Do you use drugs when you are stressed or angry?

Not being able to manage emotions or stressful episodes in life and relying on drugs for escape is a clear red flag that addiction is looming.

Have you taken one drug to counter the effects of another?

If you are using stimulants for energy and to stay awake, then using depressants such as alcohol to bring you down from your high, then drugs have monopolized your daily life, controlling how you function when awake and when you sleep.

Have you made mistakes at work or school because of drug use?

If you are performing badly at work or school because of your usage, then drugs have crept into every aspect of your life. Making excuses to avoid accepting that drugs are causing these problems is usually an indicator that it is time to get help.

What Will Happen If I Seek Treatment?

Seeking treatment for your drug addiction is a non-judgmental process managed by recovery professionals who only want you to get help. The pre-intake process involves interviews and tests to help recovery specialists better understand your addiction and the best course of treatment.

Completing a medical examination.  When dealing with any addiction, recovery specialists need to determine if drugs have damaged you physically or if other diseases such as HIV have been acquired during drug use.  Also, doctors need to know if you suffer from other pre-existing medical conditions that may compound drug addiction treatment.  Diabetes, high blood pressures and other conditions may affect medications prescribed or the approach to treatment. 

Completing a psychological examination.  Much like the medical exam, the psychological exam seeks to determine if emotional disorders have arisen from long-term drug use.  Paranoia and depression may be psychological disorders that have become commonplace and even unnoticed by someone using drugs regularly. In addition, other pre-existing emotional or psychological disorders may impact treatment and must be diagnosed.

Completing a cognitive test. Drugs may have hampered your ability to learn or understand. Determining if cognitive abilities have been undermined by drugs will be necessary to design a plan of treatment.  

Completing a drug test. Tests to determine the type of drugs you are taking and in what quantities will help recovery specialists determine the severity of addiction and the best treatment options.

Completing an addiction history interview.  Learning how long you have been taking drugs and if drug addiction is in your family history are vital for proper treatment.  If parents or siblings suffer from addiction to drugs and alcohol, recovery specialist must take this into account. Also, if you have been using drugs for some time, perhaps since you were a teen, then drug addiction may be a long-term problem that requires certain types of treatment approaches.

What You Will Learn at Rehab Intake

Because rehab is a new experience, you may have pre-conceived ideas and a lot of misinformation about what to expect. Here are some of the common questions most people have when admitting themselves to rehab.

Can my treatment wait? The answer is no. Treatment for drug addiction is serious and must occur immediately. Waiting for another time in the future allows the addiction to worsen, and also opens the door for overdose possibilities.  

Treatment is the same for every person.  It is often assumed that drug treatment is a common procedure that is applied to every patient. Actually, treatment is customized to fit the patient. Much of the information acquired during testing and interviews in pre-intake become the basis for designing a detailed and customized plan for you.   

Why am I meeting with a psychiatrist? You may wonder why a psychotherapist is meeting with you. In many instances, drugs have impacted your psychological well-being or there may be emotional disorders that have gone untreated. In fact, your addiction may be a way to self-medicate an undiagnosed emotional disorder.  

Why are doctors seeing me?  Much like your mental health, your physical health may be compromised by drug use.  Medical doctors may need to address any medical conditions that are the result of drug abuse. As well they might need to address existing medical conditions that can compound drug treatment.

Drug treatment is just detox, right?  It is a common mistake for many people to think that after detox they are cured of drug addiction. Drug treatment is a long process and detox is only the first step.  

Why am I taking medicine in a drug treatment center?  The use of medications is common for managing drug cravings and for handling symptoms during detox.

Do I need to suffer through withdrawals?  For many recovery specialists, traditional detox is a necessary part of drug treatment. However, some doctors have offered the option of rapid detox. Rapid detox uses sedation to allow you to sleep through the detox process, thus not experiencing the difficult and often painful withdrawal symptoms.  However, traditional thinkers on the matter feel that without the difficult experience of withdrawals, the likelihood of relapse may occur.

Should I let others decide if I need treatment? Waiting for friends or loved ones to point out your addiction only wastes time. Regardless of the type of drug taken and how long you have been taking drugs, your personal investment in recovery is critical. The more engaged and dedicated you are about treatment, the more likely recovery will be a success.  

Overcoming the Fear of Detox

The fear of the hardships of detox is the most common deterrent for addicts to seek treatment.  Detox is a necessity to stabilize the body physically and mentally after long periods of drug use. The process also acts as a turning point for you to see the positive potential of sober living.

Detox can be a dangerous process and the best detox facilities will always suggest that the process not be attempted alone.  Seizures during detox are not uncommon as well as other medical emergencies.  Under the supervision of recovery specialists, detox can be monitored to ensure success. Medical conditions can be watched closely and medications administered to help you through the difficult process. 

Handling Withdrawals

You must prepare for the severe withdrawal symptoms. For some drugs like heroin and alcohol, the feeling of “tearing up” has been described by those who have gone through it. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within a few hours of detox.  Symptoms may include:

  • Feelings of extreme tension
  • Constantly runny nose
  • Severe chills
  • Disturbed and fitful sleep
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Achy bones
  • Hypertension
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Extreme feelings of anxiety
  • Severe headaches

The Process of Long-Term Residential Addiction Treatment

After detox is completed, residential treatment programs are your next step for the long-term treatment to severe addiction. During inpatient treatment, you may continue to receive medications to manage cravings and the lingering withdrawals that may last well after detox. Also, any medical conditions will continue to be monitored and therapy sessions will begin to aid in the recovery process. The overall goal is to ensure you stay sober once you leave the facility.  The risk of relapse into addiction is greatest during this period. That is why most residential programs insist on either thirty-day or ninety-day stays within a residential recovery center.

Through group therapy sessions, you will interact and learn from other recovering addicts. You will share stories and experiences and receive support from these like-minded souls, which helps you realize that you are not alone in your struggles with addiction.

Residential therapy centers often include wellness opportunities. Fitness centers, nutrition counseling and even alternative holistic practices such as yoga and meditation may be available. These additional services can provide the chance to relearn healthy living without drugs.

Residential treatment also provides a protective sanctuary from the causes of drug addiction. Within the walls of a recovery center you will not encounter other addicts, the influence of dealers or the stresses and pressures of a life that may be driving addiction.

Variations in this treatment can range from regular therapy sessions that will help you begin relearning a life without drugs, to individual sessions that focus on personal issues related to your addiction. Because drugs have transformed your mind and body, the process for reversing that condition is slow and methodical.  There are two types of treatment in residential care that may be followed, depending on your addiction.

  1. General Residential Treatment- You will stay in the facility attending either individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions or a combination of both to work toward recovery.
  2. Partial Hospitalization-provides for more severe drug addiction assistance by administering close medical observation to ensure there are no long-term reactions after the detox process is completed.

The Outpatient Treatment Option. Is it Right for You?

Outpatient programs are an additional option to bypass residential treatment. But you must meet the criteria. If your addiction is not severe, you may opt in for outpatient treatment which allows you to attend group therapy sessions, then return to a normal working life. Outpatient is helpful for many who are struggling with a minor addiction to drugs which has not yet compromised the responsibilities of a sober life.

Much like residential treatment, outpatient offers the experience of other recovering addicts and the guidance of a trained counselor.  The flexibility of outpatient allows you to continue managing all aspects of your personal life without interruption, avoiding the stigma of entering residential care and keeping your treatment private from loved ones and employers. Outpatient also offers many optional therapies which you may find useful.   

Experiential Treatment

If you wish to regain your engagement in active living, experiential outpatient offers group sessions that engage in outdoor activities and other interactive group projects with the intention of rejuvenating your interest in a positive sober life outside of drugs.

Faith-Based Treatment

If you have religion in your background, many outpatient programs offer a faith-based option that focuses on Bible study and prayer as part of your treatment.

Relapse Prevention Therapy

If you continue to struggle with relapse, relapse prevention therapy focuses on ways to avoid slipping back into addiction.  Understanding your drug triggers and how to manage stress are some of the techniques that are taught in these sessions.

Skill-Learning Sessions

If long-term drug addiction has left you feeling unable to function socially, skill-learning sessions through outpatient help you relearn skills that are necessary in everyday life. For example, managing financial responsibilities, conducting a conversation and learning to work with others are some of the many skills that can be learned while recovering.

Specialized Group Therapy

Seeking group therapy with individuals going through specific personal experiences is also an option through outpatient.  For example, age-based group sessions can be composed of just teens.  Other sessions may involve only certain types of participants such as war veterans who can share like experiences and how it relates to their addiction.

Twelve Step Programs for Maintaining a Sober Life

Twelve-step programs are the cornerstone of drug treatment. They have helped millions of recovering addicts maintain sobriety through regular meetings. Creating goals that recovering addicts can achieve in personal life has allowed many to see the deeper meaning of staying drug-free, not just for personal health or as a social responsibility, but as a goal of inner peace and a genuine appreciation for sober living.  Twelve step programs accommodate many different addictions. 

HA – Heroin Anonymous

MA – Marijuana Anonymous

AA – Alcoholics Anonymous

CA – Cocaine Anonymous

CMA – Crystal Meth Anonymous

PA – Pills Anonymous-focusing on addiction to prescription medications

Most Twelve Step Programs include the following steps which recovering addicts work to achieve:

  1. Admitting a powerlessness over the drug
  2. Accept a greater spiritual power than yourself
  3. Choose to turn to a deeper, spiritual approach to life
  4. Self-examine without fear
  5. Admit to the wrongs you have done to yourself and others
  6. Accept the removal of defects through spiritual healing
  7. Ask God to remove shortcomings
  8. Revisit those you have harmed and make amends
  9. Make direct amends whenever possible
  10. Continue to take personal inventory and admit to wrongdoing
  11. Seek salvation through prayer and meditation
  12. Experience a spiritual awakening

Aftercare Assistance Options

Aftercare assistance may be a critical part of the recovery process, after treatment.  Unfortunately, long periods of addiction create numerous consequences for the recovering individual.  If your addiction was severe there may be many ramifications that must be mended now that you are sober.  Assistance with these issues usually involves volunteers and social workers who offer insight into various matters that recovering addicts face. These aftercare assistance programs extend sobriety into everyday life and address the complex issues that may be present after treatment. Aftercare specialists may bring many talents to work and they work hard to make those talents achieve results for recovering addicts.  Aftercare programs may focus on some of the following:

Personal Relationships. Addiction may have caused the breakdown of family or marriages. Many aftercare programs will either help heal those wounds or help an individual move on from broken relationships with acceptance.

Child care.  When children are involved, drug treatment becomes complicated. How to go back to work, afford quality daycare and handle the stresses of parenthood are all issues that as recovering addict you may need to learn.

Housing and transportation issues. Often addicts have become homeless or lost their driver’s license because of their addiction. Helping them get back on track with finding a place to live and renewing their driving privileges are ways aftercare support can renew a life with responsibility.

Money Issues.  Financial management can be complex for anyone, but for someone struggling with addiction, financial issues may seem especially difficult. Learning how to manage money can be a part of aftercare learning.

Legal Issues. Often incarceration or other legal problems become a consequence of addiction. Getting help resolving those legal matters is sometimes found with aftercare professionals.

Employment. Lost jobs and the inability to find work are a common struggle with recovering addicts. Often a criminal record has impacted employment options. Aftercare workers can work on changing that scenario and finding gainful employment for recovering addicts who are ready for independence.

Education. In many instances for teen addicts, education is sacrificed to addiction. Without a basic high school education, many recovering young adults feel helpless. Aftercare focuses on regaining their confidence in learning and not only getting their GED but also moving onto college.

Medical issues. Often health issues may impact recovering addicts after they have left residential treatment. Helping them get the medical care they need becomes an important part of aftercare assistance.