This City in Texas Has the Highest Heroin Consumption Rate in U.S


Heroin is a very dangerous and addicting opioid drug that can lead to serious health issues or even death. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that the use of heroin has grown among men and women of all ages and income levels in the US. However, heroin use is more common in some places than others. El Paso, Texas is one of those cities.

The Heroin Problem in El Paso

El Paso is a city in western Texas. It is close to both Mexico and New Mexico. About 681,000 people live there, and 83% of them are Hispanic or Latino. El Paso is also a major center for drug dealing because it is one of the busiest routes for bringing heroin and other illegal drugs into the US from Mexico.

A study from the University of Texas at Austin says that in 2020, people in El Paso used heroin more than any other city in the US. They smoked an estimated 5,639 kilos of heroin. About 8.3 grams of heroin are used by each person every year, which is more than twice the national rate of 3.6 grams. The study also found that 16.4 deaths per 100,000 people in El Paso from heroin overdoses in 2020 were the highest rate in Texas. This was higher than the state average of 5.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

The study said that El Paso’s high heroin rate was caused by many things, including its closeness to the Mexican border, its large Hispanic population, its low social status, the lack of treatment and prevention tools, and the fact that heroin use is seen as normal in the culture.

Black tar heroin, which is sticky and dark, makes up most of El Paso’s heroin market, according to the study. This type of heroin is often shot or smoked. Black tar heroin is less expensive and stronger than other types of heroin, but it also comes with a higher risk of disease and infection because the drugs are shared.

What Heroin Use Does to El Paso and Other Places

Heroin abuse is very bad for people’s health and the health of their families and communities. Heroin users can become physically and mentally dependent on it, build up a tolerance, go through withdrawal, overdose, and even die. They also have a higher chance of getting HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases.

They also have a higher chance of getting infections, sores, veins that don’t work right, and organ damage. Heroin use can also make it hard to remember things, make decisions, and use good sense. This can lead to problems in school, work, and social life.

Heroin use also has an impact on society as a whole because it leads to more crime, violence, prison, homelessness, and higher health care costs. In 2020, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that heroin was the reason for 11% of all drug-related crimes in El Paso and 18% of all drug discoveries.

Heroin was also the cause of 23% of all drug-related trips to El Paso’s emergency rooms and 28% of all drug-related illnesses that year. In 2020, it was expected that heroin use cost El Paso’s economy $1.2 billion. This amount includes the costs of medical care, jail time, lost work time, and early deaths.

The use of heroin in El Paso affects the rest of the country as well since it raises the demand for heroin from Mexico and makes the drug easier to get in other places.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says that El Paso is one of the main places where heroin is sold in the United States. El Paso sends heroin to markets in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Heroin’s rising supply and demand also make the border between the US and Mexico more dangerous and dishonest as drug gangs fight for control of the lucrative trade.

Why We Need to Act and Find Solutions

El Paso’s drug problem is complicated and has many sides. To solve it, many people and groups, including the government, health care workers, law enforcement, community groups, and individuals, need to work together. Here are some things that could be done and methods that could help solve the problem:

1. Making prevention and education efforts stronger to make more people, especially young people, aware of the risks and effects of heroin use and to lower the shame and biases that come with it.

2. Increasing the number of people who can get treatment and recovery services for heroin users, such as care with medication, behavioral therapy, group support, and drugs that can reverse an overdose.

3. Improving the collection and study of heroin-related data, like use, overdose, death, and treatment, so that trends can be tracked and the success of measures can be judged.

4. Making it easier for local, state, and federal agencies, as well as cross-border partners, to work together and coordinate their efforts to stop the supply and trade of heroin and to uphold laws and rules against drug-related crimes.

5. Providing money for research and development of new technologies and tactics that can help stop, treat, and lessen the harm of heroin use, like digital tools, implants, and medicines.


El Paso, Texas, has a big heroin problem. In 2020, the city had the highest rate of heroin use in the whole country. The problem is made worse by being close to the Mexican border, having a lot of Hispanic people living there, and making the culture normal. Crises in health, crime, and the economy are all caused by heroin abuse. For a complete answer, strong prevention, care, and law enforcement methods must be put in place by working together.

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