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Travis County overdoses could be an official crisis

Thursday, May 12, 2022 by Elizabeth Pagano

Following the release of the 2021 Travis County Medical Examiner Annual Report, County Judge Andy Brown is considering declaring a public health crisis. The report found that drug toxicity is now the leading cause of accidental deaths in the county and that fentanyl-related deaths rose a staggering 237 percent when compared to 2020. “Drug overdoses are a crisis in our community and fentanyl is exacerbating the problem. In Travis County we believe that all people should have access to the mental, behavioral and substance use treatments that can save lives. Our community has asked for help in employing lifesaving, harm-reduction strategies to those who overdose on drugs,” Brown said in a statement to the press about the potential crisis designation. “As a county, we are responsible for the health and safety of all its residents – especially the most vulnerable among us. We will do all we can to address this crisis and call on other leaders to do the same. Texas should legalize fentanyl test strips, naloxone should be available throughout the community and recovery programs should be fully funded to eliminate wait lists.” Brown is currently exploring the idea of issuing a declaration to bring awareness to the issue. He has also requested funding for naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote, in the upcoming budget.

Editor’s Note: Andy Brown is on the board of the Capital of Texas Media Foundation, the parent nonprofit of the Austin Monitor.

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