FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Killeen, TX – 01/24/2024
Killeen, Texas, a city known for its armed forces base (Ft Hood), aquatics park, outrageous trampoline amusement center, vibrant community, and cultural diversity, is not immune to the nationwide challenges posed by drug and alcohol abuse. Recent statistics have unveiled a complex reality, emphasizing this country’s pressing need for awareness, prevention, and support.
What is the Extent of the Drug and Alcohol Problem in Killeen?
A comprehensive study conducted by the Killeen Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with local organizations has provided essential insights into the city’s drug and alcohol landscape. The results uncover a complex scenario, highlighting achievements and areas requiring concentrated focus.
Key Drug & Alcohol Statistics:
Prevalence of Substance Abuse: According to data from 2021, among residents aged 12 or older, more than 3% misused at least one form of stimulant, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription pills. That percentage increased dramatically (6.3%) among young adults aged 18 to 25. Of the more than 3% of residents who misused drugs, about one-fourth misused only prescription stimulants, and about one person in six used only methamphetamine.
Alcohol Consumption: more than 22% of persons aged 12 or older admitted to binge drinking alcohol at least once during the previous month. Killeen residents engage in regular alcohol consumption slightly above the national average. Over 14% of Killeen residents aged 15 to 17 admitted to moderate drinking, while nearly 7% of those interviewed admitted to binge drinking.
Opioid Crisis: While alcohol is the drug of choice, among high school students in Killeen, nearly 20% of residents admitted to abusing prescription drugs at least once in their lives. While efforts to curtail prescription drug abuse have seen moderate success over the past five years, the statistics point to an ongoing problem with teens and abuse.
Youth Substance Abuse: Overdose deaths in Killeen began climbing in 2015, nearly doubling in number between 2011 to 2019. While the majority of opioid-related deaths were among males in Killeen, females accounted for over 50% of fatal overdoses involving opioids in combination with at least one other drug. Fentanyl is fast becoming a drug of choice among the youth in Killeen and is often found in other drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and pressed homemade pills. Of the thousands of deaths reported from overdosing between July 2019 and December 2021, fentanyl was involved in nearly 85%.
Treatment Gap: Even with these worrisome statistics, Killeen faces a significant treatment gap. Right now, only a small percentage of individuals who truly need substance abuse treatment get the help they require. This highlights the pressing need to make treatment more accessible and affordable. Only roughly 10% of Killeen residents in need of substance abuse treatment end up getting help.
In response to these statistics, the Killeen community is coming together to address the issue of drug and alcohol abuse comprehensively. Local organizations, government agencies, and concerned citizens are taking proactive steps to make a positive impact.
Initiatives and Programs:
Education and Prevention: Several junior high and high schools have implemented school-based prevention programs utilizing cognitive-behavioral skills-training techniques to enhance social and personal competence skills and drug refusal skills. Initial data were gathered from students in the classroom. The results revealed that individuals who participated in one of the prevention programs during junior high or high school exhibited lower rates of overall lifetime illicit drug use, as well as lifetime marijuana use, marijuana intoxication, and lifetime non-medical pill use, in comparison to participants in the control group. These findings provide support for the hypothesis that comprehensive, universal school-based prevention programs can have lasting effects on illicit drug use behavior.
Treatment Centers: New treatment centers and facilities have opened their doors to provide accessible and affordable services for individuals struggling with addiction. These centers, like Virtue Recovery’s Killeen center, offer a range of evidence-based therapies and support.
Support Groups: Killeen boasts a strong network of support groups for those in recovery and their families. These groups play a crucial role in fostering a sense of community and empathy. Prominent organizations such as STARRY FAYS and Safe Harbor offer valuable resources to Killeen residents, equipping them with essential skills and coping mechanisms to assist those grappling with drug and alcohol addiction.
Law Enforcement: Drug-related crimes have continued to rise in Killeen; however, the Killeen Police Department continues its efforts to combat drug trafficking and substance abuse through targeted enforcement actions. Killeen law enforcement has committed to complete transparency. Killeen officially adopted the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to help collect data on many types of crimes, including drug-related ones. The new way of reporting enables the collection of data that can be more easily used.
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The statistics provide a stark depiction of the drug and alcohol difficulties confronting Killeen while also serving as a rallying cry for residents, community leaders, and policymakers to take action.
What You Can Do:
Raise Awareness: Share these statistics with your friends, family, and colleagues to raise awareness about the issue and encourage open conversations.
Support Local Initiatives: Get involved in local organizations and initiatives to combat substance abuse in Killeen. Your time and support can make a significant difference.
Seek Help: If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, reach out to the numerous support services available in Killeen, such as Virtue Recovery in Killeen. There is help and hope available.
Advocate for Policy Changes: Get actively involved in collaborating with local policymakers to champion the creation and enforcement of comprehensive policies that delve deeply into tackling the fundamental factors and root causes contributing to substance abuse within our community. Your engagement and advocacy have the potential to spark transformative changes, improving access to treatment and fostering a supportive, nurturing environment for individuals on the path to recovery. Your voice holds significant sway in driving positive, community-wide transformations.
Moving Forward Together
While the drug and alcohol statistics for Killeen, Texas, present challenges, they also reflect that Killeen is not merely a community that acknowledges its challenges but a resilient and determined collective that faces these issues head-on with unwavering commitment. Community members from all walks of life have come together with a shared vision of addressing the multifaceted aspects of substance abuse, understanding that it takes a collective effort to bring about meaningful change. This determination to confront the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse is a testament to Killeen’s resilience and the inherent spirit of unity that thrives within the city.
Killeen stands poised to build a safe and secure future for its residents. As residents work together, they envision a city where everyone can thrive in an environment that promotes health and well-being regardless of their background or circumstances. Through collective actions, Killeen aims to foster a vibrant city that provides support to those in need and empowers its residents to lead fulfilling lives, contributing to Killeen’s overall prosperity and unity. In this journey, shared determination and collaborative spirit will continue to be the driving force behind the positive transformations that shape the future of our beloved community.
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About Virtue Recovery Center Killeen, TX
Virtue Recovery Killeen, a nationally accredited, trauma-informed treatment center in Killeen, Texas, offers a luxury program with a full continuum of care, including medical detox and residential treatment. Specializing in addressing alcohol, heroin, meth, cocaine, marijuana, opioids, fentanyl, and prescription drug addictions, our focus is on achieving long-term recovery success. At Virtue Recovery Killeen, our approach to addiction treatment encompasses holistic healing of the mind, body, and spirit, ensuring a comprehensive and enduring recovery. Our treatment center features executive chef-prepared meals, state-of-the-art amenities, a low staff-to-client ratio, an on-site gym, and private and semi-private rooms.
Disclaimer: The statistics presented in this press release are based on the latest available data from reputable sources. For the most up-to-date information and additional resources on drug and alcohol abuse in Killeen, please refer to the Killeen Department of Health and Human Services and other relevant local agencies. https://www.hhs.texas.gov/
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Gigi Price holds licenses as a Master Social Worker and Clinical Drug Counselor. She completed her master’s degree in Social Work at Texas State University. Over the last decade, Gigi has been dedicated to utilizing evidence-based practices to enhance patient care and treatment planning, resulting in positive, long-term outcomes for patients and their families. Her passion lies in creating a treatment environment where professionals collaborate to bring about positive change and provide a safe, trustworthy therapeutic experience. Patients can be confident in receiving top-quality care under her leadership.
In her role as the Clinical Director of Virtue Recovery Houston, Gigi conducted research to identify the most effective approaches for treating patients with acute mental health diagnoses, PTSD, and Substance Use Disorder. She then assembled a team of skilled clinicians who could offer various therapeutic modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
(DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Somatic Exposure, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Gigi takes pride in overseeing the development and implementation of Virtue Houston’s Treatment Program, which includes two specialized therapeutic curricula tailored to the unique needs of individuals struggling with mental health issues, addiction, and PTSD.