Opioid epidemic seeping into Katy area

KATY,Texas -- The Katy area is part of a national trend of increased opioid abuse. Law enforcement officers and medical professionals have seen the number of prescription opioids nearly double in the last two to three years.

Last year, the Katy Police Department found 31 instances of illegal opioids-up from 2016 and 2015, which had 17 cases each. Assistant Police Chief Tim Tyler said via email most were found through traffic stops.

Harris County Emergency Services District 48 has seen a similar trend in opioid abuse with a spike from 46 patients treated for overdoses in 2016 to 62 patients in 2017. Law enforcement officials in Harris and Fort Bend counties, as well as Matt Feehery, CEO of Memorial Hermann's Prevention and Recovery Center, concurred.

President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency Oct. 26, following findings that more than 64,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Feehery said Houston's density of overdose and abuse rates is catching up with harder hit metro areas, such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

This story was through our partnership with Community Impact Newspapers