Foundation’s CHC to release data on regional substance abuse

Presenters from yesterday’s seminar included Jenny Belforte (l to r), Dr. Sushma Sharma, Catherine Oliveros, Lisa Boone, Scott Wells and Alan Moore.

Seven North Texas counties have higher drug and alcohol death rates than the national average and Opioids were the most dispensed prescriptions in North Texas, according to a presentation hosted yesterday by the North Texas Community Health Collaborative (CHC) at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. Before 70-plus attendees, the CHC presented findings from its Regional Substance Abuse/Misuse Needs Assessment Report covering 2017.

The drug and alcohol abuse trends covered Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties.

Additional findings included:
• More than 190,000 deaths were attributed to drugs/alcohol;
• 11 North Texas counties had higher death rates attributed to drugs/alcohol than the state average;
• More than 35,000 infants were born with positive toxicity for controlled substances.

“It’s important to understand the characteristics of substance misuse in North Texas so we know where to devote our resources,” said Dr. Sushma Sharma, director of public and population health research at the DFW Hospital Council (DFWHC) Foundation. “This is the first step to identify where education should be promoted and awareness raised for prevention services.”

Inspiring partnerships among counties and within the counties is also a goal of the report, according to Dr. Sharma.

Coordinated by the DFWHC Foundation, the North Texas CHC represents 11 area health systems with a strategic goal of improving community health services over the next three years.

The complete report will be made public in February on the DFWHC Foundation’s Healthy North Texas website at

For information, please contact Dr. Sharma at [email protected].