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Texas Targeted
Opioid Response

Understanding the Opioid Crisis in Texas

Opioids are a type of medication used to reduce pain. When taken as directed by a doctor, prescription opioids — such as Vicodin, Ultram, Oxycontin or Percocet — are one way to safely manage severe short-term and chronic pain.

However, misusing prescription opioids can put you at risk of physical dependence, addiction and overdose. Misusing your medications includes taking more than prescribed, taking someone else's medication and any non-medical use.

The Costs of the Opioid Crisis

Every day, 128 people in the United States die after an overdose involving either prescription or illicit opioids (like heroin). Nationwide, nearly 80% of people who use heroin report misusing prescription opioids prior to heroin.


Four of the nation's top 25 cities for opioid misuse are in Texas — Texarkana, Amarillo, Odessa, and Longview.


From 1999 to 2016, 15,410 people died of an opioid-related overdose in Texas.


Prescription drug overdose is a leading cause of maternal deaths in Texas.

For additional data about the opioid crisis in Texas, visit Texas Health Data.

How Texans Talk About the Opioid Epidemic

When talking about opioids, our words matter. Stigmatizing language can cause harm to people with opioid use disorder. Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. Language that labels or blames people can make them feel ashamed, alone or hopeless, and less likely to seek help. Below is a list of words and phrases you can use to talk about opioid use disorder that's helpful for everyone.


  • A person with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)
  • Prescription opioid misuse
  • A person who misuses prescription opioids
  • Drug-seeking behavior
  • Negative/positive/substance-free
  • Person in recovery


  • Addict/pill popper/junkie
  • Drug abuse/doing drugs
  • Drug user/abuser
  • Doctor shopping/pill pusher
  • Clean/dirty
  • Recovering addict