Alcohol and Drug Abuse Trends in Killeen, Texas
Killeen, Texas has a population of 143,400 people and is home to Fort Hood, one of the largest military installations in America. Despite the city’s military influence, Killeen has high rates of substance abuse, particularly that of alcohol, meth, and crack cocaine. Out of all of the Central Texas counties, Killeen’s Bell County had the highest number of criminal offenses relating to drug activity in 2017. Drug-related crimes have affected the community by raising rates of robbery, assault, theft, and even murder.
Meth Prevalence in Killeen
The manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine, a dangerous and potent illicit stimulant, continues to increase in the Central Texas area. In Texas, the number of people being admitted to treatment programs for addiction to meth has doubled, as have the number of calls to poison centers specifically due to meth overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meth has become the new major drug of choice in the areas of Central Texas that were previously dominated by heroin.
The Texas Department of State Health Services data showed that in Bell County, Killeen tops the lists of deaths by accidental poisoning or exposure to noxious substances while manufacturing meth since 2013. The number of clandestine meth labs in Central Texas vastly decreased when the federal government restricted the amount of cold medicines people could buy containing pseudoephedrine, the number one ingredient used to make meth; however, they are starting to return in response to the influx of Mexican traffickers and distributors in the area. In addition to the presence of the drug due to in-state production, the kilograms of meth seized on the Texas-Mexico border are higher than ever before and increased a total of 37% between the years 2010 and 2015. Regional adolescents are also abusing methamphetamine at twice the rate of the national average, and 5.9% of Killeen youth consider drugs like meth as “very easy” or “somewhat easy” to obtain.
In an effort to reduce such staggering statistics, Killeen police are working hard to investigate the possession, delivery, and manufacturing of controlled substances within the city. The Killeen Police Department is additionally a part of the Bell County Organized Crime Unit, which works with other area agencies to investigate drug-related crimes countywide.
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Military Population and Substance Abuse
Killeen only recently legalized the city-wide sale of beer and alcohol during the year of 2011; however, Fort Hood has sold liquor on its grounds since the military base was opened. Studies have shown that service members have an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder (SUD) compared to the general population, especially those who have been deployed to combat or served overseas. In addition to deployment and traumatic events, there are a number of cultural factors in the military populace that can have a negative effect on alcohol and drug abuse, including recreational and bonding activities.
The availability of inexpensive alcohol at military bases is one of the main factors of concern because of its connection to binge drinking and underage drinking. Correlatively, Bell County has higher rates of heavy drinking and binge drinking than both the Texas and national average. Additionally, prescriptions for opioid pain medication among military service members have increased exponentially in the past 20 years. Generally prescribed due to combat-related injuries and chronic pain, approximately 22% of active military personnel have at least one opioid prescription at any given time. In 2016, there were 1,375 opioid-related overdose deaths in Texas and 17 in Bell County.
The military has responded to these increased risks by forming platforms such as the Sole Provider Program and the Prescription Monitoring Program, which help monitor opioid use and assess for potential high-risk behaviors such as unscheduled or premature medication requests. Additionally, Fort Hood has made it a point to expand prevention and educational efforts among personnel to prevent the regional abuse of meth, opioids, and alcohol. The Fort Hood Army Substance Abuse Program’s mission is to strengthen the overall effectiveness of the army’s workforce and assist any service member struggling with substance abuse recover sobriety.
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Finding Treatment in Killeen
If addiction is negatively affecting your life, Killeen has a variety of high-quality substance abuse treatment centers to help you or a loved one. To receive guidance on your options, reach out to a dedicated treatment provider today. They are here to answer any questions that you may have and help you find the path to long-term recovery.