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Texas launches website to fight prescription drug abuse

January 22, 2019

AUSTIN — As the number of people addicted to powerful opioids increases in Texas and across the country, state public health officials are launching a website to teach Texans what they can do to help prevent prescription drug addiction.

The website is called Dose of Reality. Modeled after similar websites in other states, the resources include a map of where people can turn in unused prescription medications, along with a hotline for people to call if they’re struggling with addiction. The website launched by the attorney general’s office also includes resources for parents, veterans, educators, doctors and others who either struggle with drug addiction themselves or may identify it in others.

Texas ranks relatively low in the U.S. for overdose deaths per capita, although a recent study has found several medium-sized Texas cities with particularly high rates of opioid abuse, according to a recent legislative report. Longview, Texarkana, Odessa and Amarillo are among the top 25 cities in the country for opioid abuse, according to a national survey conducted by Castlight Health.

Texas recorded 2,831 overdose deaths in 2016 — with 1,375 of those deaths opioid-related, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Opioids make up a family of powerful pain relievers. They include prescription the drugs oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and methadone. Opioids include fentanyl, a powerful synthetic pain reliever which has been illegally made and distributed in several states. Heroin is another opioid, and use of the drug is on the rise among men and women of all income levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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