Texas fentanyl crisis discussion to be held with state lawmakers

A panel discussion hosted by The Texas Tribune will engage state lawmakers and those on the frontlines of the fentanyl crisis. 

"The legislature has heard the cries of family members who have lost loved ones," said State Rep. Oliverson at Governor Abbott’s One Pill Kills Summit held last week.

State Rep. Oliverson authored a bill that would decriminalize fentanyl test strips. It earned initial approval from the House on Monday. 

RELATED: 2 arrested in connection to fentanyl poisoning of Georgetown High School student

State Rep. Oliverson, along with State Rep. James Talarico, will be at the "What Should Texas Be Doing About Fentanyl?" discussion.

"This event is kind of about bringing some awareness to the public about the overall opioid crisis that is occurring in Texas along with some of the discussions legislators are having," said Stephen Simpson, mental health reporter for The Texas Tribune.

RELATED: State legislation filed in 2023 session would legalize fentanyl test strips

As more long-term solutions are explored, many state leaders are pushing for Narcan to be made more available. Narcan is a brand of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication.

"I know they've been talking about having Narcan at restaurants and bars and things like that, almost treating Narcan like how you would use an EpiPen or a defibrillator," said Smith.

That is something that is being pursued on the local level, as well. On Thursday, Austin City Council members are expected to discuss a resolution directing the city manager to "explore having EMS or other appropriate departments, distribute opioid overdose reversal medication, such as opioid antagonists like naloxone, and related personal protective equipment and training to business owners."

The panel will be held on Tuesday, April 11 at 3 p.m. at 919 Congress Ave. on the sixth floor. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.