Drug & Alcohol Statistics for Houston, TX

How Has Substance Abuse Impacted Houston, TX?

The detrimental impact of substance abuse on communities and families is a pervasive problem across the United States. But how does this issue affect our local community in Houston?

This article will delve into the drug and alcohol usage statistics for both Houston and the state of Texas at large.

It’s alarming to note that Texas is one of the states with the most adult illicit drug problems. Houston is one of the regions fueling this substance abuse problem.


Drug Abuse in Houston, TX and Harris County

Houston, Texas is often referred to as the dark heart of Lone Star State because of its prevalent substance abuse. It was reported that in Houston the annual average of 490,000 people age 12 and older used illicit drugs in the past year. This represents 11.8% of the Houston Metropolitan area. Houston’s drug rate is almost the same as the entire state of Texas’ drug rate which is 12.6%.

Even more concerning is the fact that 369,000 people ages 12 and up in the Houston Metropolitan area are classified as having a substance abuse disorder within the past year. This statistic is similar to the entire USA’s drug rate. These statistics paint a troubling picture of the scale of the drug abuse problem in Houston and its surrounding areas.


Drug Trafficking in Houston

A major contributor to Houston’s substance abuse problem is Houston’s drug trafficking system. In one year, the Houston HIDTA seized more than $25 million in illicit cash and assets from drug trafficking. Houston’s drug statistics are due to its location. The main drug trafficking routes from Mexico into the US run right through Houston. This has made the metropolitan area a national and international hub for drug importation and distribution.

Drug Trafficking Operations: 

  • 45% operate locally
  • 18% operate on a multi-state level
  • 37% operate internationally


In a single year, the Houston HIDTA seized more than 1.5 tons of cocaine, 108 tons of marijuana, and 400,000 units of illicit pharmaceuticals. They were all headed to cities across the US.


Alcohol Abuse in Houston and Harris County

Binge drinking is a common problem in Houston and the surrounding suburbs. According to a new study, the entire region is among the worst places in the nation for binge drinking. It’s reported that Houston has the 24th highest percentage of drinkers in the country.

In Houston, 25.1% of people ages 12 and older binge drank at least once in the last month. These alcohol abuse rates are similar to the rates of Texas and the entire US. Another report found adults in Houston and Harris County have around 364 yearly binge drinks.

Some studies show that anyone who has their first drink at 15 is six times more likely to become alcohol dependent than people who wait until 21 to drink. With the rate of 25.1% of people ages 12 and older binge drinking in the last month, the likelihood of this substance abuse problem continuing is likely.

Drug and Alcohol-Related Overdoses in Houston and Harris County

Houston, TX and Harris County also face the daunting challenge of overdose deaths due to alcohol and drug abuse. Recent data shows that the situation is dire. In Harris County, alcohol-related deaths were up 36% within a year, with 649 deaths total. Additionally, the number of drug overdose deaths rose from 840 deaths to 1,039 deaths within one year.

One of the most concerning trends is the number of deaths due to methamphetamine. In Harris County, the number of overdose deaths involving methamphetamine increase almost 600% in about 5 years, from 20 per year from 2010-2012 to 119 in 2016.

Deaths involving fentanyl in Harris County have also risen from 104 deaths per year in 2019 to 459 in 2021 — a 340% increase.

Accidental overdoses in Houston, including preventable deaths involving prescription drugs, have doubled. Houston is a main contributor to Texas’ prescription drug abuse problem with over 1,200 related prescription drug overdose deaths reported in the past three years alone.

It’s clear that the rising tide of overdose deaths due to drug and alcohol abuse in Houston won’t end anytime soon. The impact of this goes beyond just statistics on a page. It affects individuals, families, and communities.

Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center for Houston and Harris County

Renewal Lodge is an inpatient rehab facility serving Houston, TX. We personalize care for each patient and provide programs such as:

Mindfulness in Recovery Treatment

Mindfulness helps rebuild and restore healthy neural pathways in the brain. 

Emotional Intelligence Training

Focusing on emotional intelligence in recovery helps clients reshape almost every aspect of their lives.

The Family Program

This program gives families knowledge and support regarding addiction and recovery. It also initiates healing.


We create an individualized outcare treatment plan for each client so they continue to be supported.

Our beautiful facility is located in Elgin, TX which is just outside of Austin. Take 290 West, and you’ll reach our campus in just 2 hours.

Give us a call to learn more about our programs. We help our patients find victory over substance abuse.

Contact Us Today!

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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