An Update on the Texas Opioid Epidemic
This last week saw Texas health officials testifying to members of the House Committee on Opioids & Substance Abuse that the Texas opioid death rate is rising by 10 percent every year. The most recent year -2015- of data from the Texas Department of State Health Services reports that 1,174 Texans died from what is termed “accidental poisoning where opioids were involved”. US Centers for Disease Control attributes 1,375 2016 deaths in Texas to opioid-related overdoses. Physicians, pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, pharmacies, and Medicare and state Medicaid programs are some of the groups being blamed for the crisis, as are addicts themselves. Forthcoming 2017 data on opioid- related deaths reportedly will show even higher numbers of deaths. This posting provides an overview of the crisis and offers some policy solutions that will effectively reduce our reliance on these drugs, regardless of what parties may bear responsibility for the crisis.