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City declares a public health crisis

Friday, June 17, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

Austin City Council joined Travis County in declaring the opioid overdose crisis a public health emergency on Thursday. The resolution, which was approved unanimously by Council, asks the city manager to invest in harm reduction strategies, including increased access to naloxone kits as well as a comprehensive plan that explores prevention, treatment and services for substance use disorders. In response to the vote, Texas Harm Reduction Alliance’s Cate Graziani released a statement that read, in part, “We’re eager to see this resolution supported even further through the upcoming budget and millions of dollars coming down from opiate settlement funds. … For 50 years we have been funding war on drugs strategies. The results have left us with the worst overdose crisis our country has ever seen, and the impacts extend far beyond policing and incarceration. Austin is no exception – we see the impacts of the drug war on our streets every day. People are trapped in poverty, lose access to housing, health care, and so much more. If the city wants to address the overdose crisis in the long term, we must address deep underlying needs that drive deaths and harm.”

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