The Texas Opioid Response site mobilizes information on spotting opioid problems, safe use of prescriptions and how to access treatment
By Jason LangendorfFebruary 11, 2021
As the U.S. opioid epidemic has exploded over the past 20 years, no region or demographic of the country has been spared. In Texas, lawmakers recently mobilized a prevention and awareness campaign they hope will build on the promising gains already made.
In January, the state launched the Texas Opioid Response website as part of its Texas Targeted Opioid Response program (TTOR), which was created in 2017 using the first of four grants totaling $176 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The website, a requirement of state bill HB 3285, is the latest step in lawmakers’ efforts to identify the risks of opioid use and help more Texans access treatment and recovery services.
We are dedicated to preventing prescription opioid misuse, overdoses and opioid use disorder. With awareness of the risks and how to take medications safely, Texans can prevent opioid misuse and help put an end to the opioid crisis.”—Kasey Strey, TTOR director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
“One in Five Texans”
“One in five Texans has experienced an opioid overdose or knows someone who has,” said Kasey Strey, TTOR director at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHS). “We are dedicated to preventing prescription opioid misuse, overdoses and opioid use disorder. With awareness of the risks and how to take medications safely, Texans can prevent opioid misuse and help put an end to the opioid crisis.”
From 1999 to 2017, the rate of overdose deaths in Texas from any drug—including opioids—more than doubled, from 3.9 to 9.0 per 100,000 residents. But the state’s measures have already had an effect. In the two-year period from May 2017 through April 2019, more than 130,000 Texans received TTOR services and nearly 200,000 overdose-reversing naloxone kits were distributed, according to the THHS.
The Texas Opioid Response site, available in both English and Spanish, provides information for the safe use of prescription opioids and information about the dangers of misuse. THHS press officer Elliot Sprehe suggests that the site is intended to be more than just a static resource that Texans may or may not find on their own.
“The website will continue to be updated in the future and will include additional resources for caregivers learning how to speak to someone about their harmful substance use,” Sprehe says. “We also continue to test messaging to ensure our audience is engaged in a way that aids acceptance. Beyond statewide digital advertising, we will be pilot-testing TV and radio advertisements as well as cross-posting to several state websites, such as MentalHealthTX.org or the Texas Department of State Health Services.”
Photo: Enrique Macias