Thousands of Texans still dying from opioid abuse, asst. secretary addresses problem

The assistant secretary for health flew in to Austin from Washington, to commend UT Dell Medical School.

“UT Dell Medical School is a leading pioneering edgy medical school and is doing things the way medical schools have not done it for 100 years,” said Adm. Brett Giroir.

Giroir came to town to also address public health concerns that the school vows to fight, like the opioid crisis in the United States. He says it's the most important public health challenge of our time.

“Last year over 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. and about 49,000 of them were opioid related. In Texas about 3,000 people died of overdoses in the last year, it's a much lower rate that the rest of the country but obviously 3,000 Texans dying is unacceptable,” said Giroir.

Giroir said health officials are making some progress. The number of people dying from overdoses nationwide has flattened, and it's beginning a slight downward trend, but they are not declaring victory yet.

“We got into this crisis over a long period of time. We know over-prescribing of opioids led a lot of people who were unsuspecting to be physically dependent and then addicted,” said Giroir.

Giroir also addressed obesity, and HIV, which is still a problem in America, although not spoken of much.

“I think this country has become a little complacent about HIV. We have 39,000 new cases of HIV every year in the us, but we have all the technology to make that go away,” said Giroir.

Medical students took in the valuable information that can help them pave out objectives in their careers.

“About 50 percent of the two year olds will be obese by the time they are 35, that was really mind blowing,” said Marielle Ngoue, medical student.

The students also received inspiration to achieve the most while at Dell, and make a real difference in Austin, in Texas, the country, and the world.

“It makes me feel really privileged to be here. I chose Dell because they were really rethinking the way the healthcare system is provided,” said Ngoue.