A. Statewide Overview of Substance Use

Substance use by parents in CPS cases is very common. Current trends show that methamphetamine continues to be the primary drug threat ranked by Dallas, El Paso, and Houston law enforcement and treatment providers. Indicators of drug use (poison control calls, treatment admissions, deaths, and toxicology reports on substances seized and identified) all show methamphetamine use as the largest problem in Texas. Cocaine remains a continued threat; poison control center calls and treatment admissions are decreasing, although related death and toxicological data are on the increase in certain populations.

Death rates associated with heroin have increased since 1999 with the highest number of deaths occurring in the 24-34 age group. There has been a decrease in heroin-related poison center calls, yet a rising number of toxicology reports, deaths, and seizures are being identified, however, Texas has not suffered the epidemic of overdoses seen in the northeast United States.[129]

1. Useful Definitions from the HHSC

•   Substance Use: use of a substance.

•   Substance Misuse: using a substance not consistent with medical or legal guidelines (i.e. using two pills rather than one as prescribed to assist with sleep).

•   Risky Use: refers to using a substance in ways that threaten the health and safety of the user or others (i.e. drunk driving).

•   Substance Use Disorder (SUD): a medical condition in which the use of a substance leads to a clinically significant impairment or distress in a person's life. Substance use disorders range can range widely in severity (Mild, Moderate, Severe) with severe substance use disorders typically including clinical criteria of tolerance and withdrawal.

•   Recovery: per the HHSC, is not only the elimination of substance use but a personal journey of increased hope and personal identity.