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We’re Talking About Heroin Dependence in Texas

White poppies lead to heroin dependence in Texas
White poppies lead to heroin dependence in Texas

Texas is a big state, and Texans have big hearts. When someone falls victim to heroin dependence in Texas, they fall in a big way. Having Mexico right across the border certainly drives heroin as a drug of choice, especially for people who can’t afford designer drugs like 30-buck pain pills. Heroin is cheap and easy, and there’s plenty of heroin in Texas.

There are also plenty of heroin arrests from the border crossings between Texas and Mexico, and the people who get in trouble with heroin dependence have an uneasy, vague worry that their drug supply could be cut off. But the big bosses of the heroin Mexican drug cartels keep a steady supply coming and they don’t have to work too hard to find ready buyers. Heroin has been cheap for decades. It’s cheap just like the destruction and death that it brings to the people who use it.

The border traffic that brings heroin into Texas has never been more brisk. Since the legalization of marijuana throughout two dozen of these United States, the cartels have had more difficulty pushing their weed for a price that makes it worth their while. American-grown weed is not only more available, it’s also a better quality than the typically seedy Mexican weed grown high atop the Sierra Madre peaks. U.S. border patrol officers have seized much less marijuana since 2011, a drop of 37 percent.

But the cartel bosses know as sure as the sun rises that the American opiate epidemic will bring them new customers every day. They are replacing their fields of marijuana with crops of beautiful flowers—the opium poppy kind. The farmers provide them with sticky balls of pure opium that go into their factories for processing. What they market is the brown and black tarry heroin that travels well as contraband.

Infections Associated With Heroin Dependence in Texas

There are dangers associated with heroin dependence in Texas or wherever you’re using it, depending on the kind of heroin you inject. The International Journal of Drug Policy published a study by Daniel Ciccarone, featured on the website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, describing the differences between types of heroin.

  • The white powdered heroin that comes from Asia is associated with a higher incidence of HIV among its users.
  • Black tar heroin, which has much lower water solubility, typically is found in areas where there is a lower incidence of HIV among heroin users. The reason is not because it’s cleaner product but because it takes more cooking in order to use it. Maybe that has something to do with cleaner needles. That’s about the only good thing you can say about the Mexican black tar associated with heroin dependence in Texas.
  • The brown heroin, which is also coming over the border from Mexico and also Colombia, is often peppered with the kind of bacteria that causes Clostridium infections. C-diff, anybody? You’ll know if you’ve been infected, because you’ll be spending a lot of time in the bathroom.
  • The black tar heroin, responsible for much of the heroin dependence in Texas, is more easily transported than the others, wrapped in plastic or encased in balloons because of its high moisture content.

Ciccarone also presents some interesting statistics on the development of the heroin trade. While South American countries like Colombia mostly focused on cocaine production by virtue of their coca plants, younger men taking over the cartels have overruled the old bosses and put a greater focus on heroin production. Growing white poppies instead of the mauve or red means that many of their fields escape detection of U.S. crop spraying meant to kill their crops. The U.S. has spent over five times more on the “war on drugs” since the year 2000, but the price of heroin from Mexico, as cheap as it was to begin with, has dropped 75 percent.

Ciccarone also puts some blame on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement that some say is responsible for the doom and gloom experienced by the U.S. economy. With more Mexican workers crossing the border, and a depression in the prices that corn crops bring, Mexicans are making up the difference by smuggling heroin into Texas, California, and Arizona.

Going From Pain Pills to Heroin Dependence in Texas

How do people descend from prescription pain medication offered by their primary care physicians to heroin dependence in Texas? How do they transition from good patients and solid citizens to desperate people shooting up heroin mixed with who-knows-what into their arms?

Typically, doctors prescribe the pain pills not realizing they are potentially sending their patients into a lifelong struggle with addiction. But when the doctors start to worry that they may have opened a can of worms and refuse to write more scripts, their patients beg and borrow pain pills from their family and friends. Then they turn to stealing them. There comes a time when they buy their pain medication on the street but then they have to weigh the choices: Thirty bucks for one pain pill, or five bucks for a bag of heroin? For people struggling with heroin dependence in Texas, it wasn’t much of a choice, it gets whittled down to shear economics.

The Mexican drug bosses know that the way to create more heroin customers is by promoting opiate addiction of any kind. There is no place like the Mexican border towns that absolutely guarantee the best kind of pain relief for your dental pain. After all, they must have the best dentists in the world working there (wink, wink). The bosses don’t care whether they get you hooked on pain pills in Mexican border towns or if you develop a heroin dependence in Texas. As long as you’re buying, they don’t care where you are or what you buy as long you buy.

People sometimes talk about whether their heroin is cut with strychnine or powdered glass or whatever. But the truth is, most people with a dependence on heroin in Texas really can’t spend the time to care about it. They might live or they might die, but they have to get their fix. Is that you?

The Job of the Methadone Programs

The doctors and counselors at methadone programs who work on the front lines with those suffering from heroin dependence in Texas track the trends in order to keep their clients safe and informed. People who are in heroin rehab in Texas need to know what’s coming over the border. Recent news stories in spots all over the country have revealed increased deaths from batches of heroin cut with fentanyl. Counselors have warned their clients in opiate treatment programs all over the country to spread the word on the street and in the 12-step rooms.

The doctors, nurses, and counselors at methadone programs also work to help their clients get their lives back on track and regain good health. Besides finding out about a medication that can change your life, you can find the resources you need in order to recover from heroin dependence.

You can make up your mind to do what you have to do and get some treatment for your opiate or heroin addiction. In Texas there are many licensed, certified methadone treatment programs that can help you. All it takes is for you to make that first phone call to find out when you can drop in at the methadone clinic and get started.

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