News & Stories

Healthy SA: Tackling the opioid epidemic

By Jeremy Baker

We are now in a fourth wave of the epidemic that shows no sign of slowing down.

Watch full interview here

SAN ANTONIO — The opioid epidemic is ravaging the entire U.S. including here in south Texas. Two organizations have teamed up to battle a local surge in opioid overdoses, The Center for Health Care Services, or CHCS, and Be Well Texas' office-based opioid treatment services, or OBOT.

Dr. Jennifer Potter, the Executive Director of Be Well Texas told us, "Unfortunately, now we're approaching the fourth wave of the opioid epidemic, which includes methamphetamine and other stimulants that are also contributing to the deaths that we're seeing." 

Dr. Christopher Healey, the Medical Director of CHCS added, "In the years 2020 and 2021, the number of overdose suspected related deaths basically doubled in those years compared to what they had been in 2018 and 19." 

The latest Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration drug use survey by analyzed the rates of illicit drug use in every state across the U.S. They found that Texas had the lowest percentage of people 18 and up reporting illicit drug use in the past month out of all 50 states. 

Just how many? 9%, which is below the national average of 10.47%. But that is still a lot of people. Dr. Potter added, "Because our population is so large, that number of nine of percent of them reporting illicit drugs, that would mean two million people in Texas are using illicit drugs." 

So what do you do if you think someone close to you could have a problem, but not be seeking help? Dr. Healey said, "Try to gather persons who are close to that individual to try to come together and kind of speak in one voice, encouraging that person to seek help." 

He also told us that you should come prepared with resources if you are going to approach someone about their drug addiction, so they could take action right there, or very soon after.