Travis County fentanyl-related overdoses double in 2022, data reveals

Data from the newly released Travis County Medical Examiner Annual Report reveals the number of people who died of a fentanyl-related overdose doubled in 2022.

The report says 417 people died of an accidental overdose in 2022 with 245 people who died from an accidental fentanyl-related overdose. This is a 108% increase compared to 2021. 

"This continues to be a significant threat to the public's health and safety," said Travis County Judge Andy Brown.

Over the last four years, Travis County Chief Medical Examiner Keith Pinckard says the county has experienced an over 1,000% increase in fentanyl overdoses.

Accidental drug deaths with fentanyl detected:

  • 2022: 245
  • 2021: 118
  • 2020: 35
  • 2019: 22

Dr. Pinckard says fentanyl-related deaths have been a growing problem nationwide.

"I think we're just now seeing what a lot of the rest of the country has seen. Nothing unique to Travis County though," he said.

The peak of fentanyl-related overdose deaths ranged between 21–40 years old.

"And then, of course, there are cases mostly to the older side of that. The average over the last two years have been 42 to 43 years of age," said Dr. Pinckard.

Judge Brown says the county invested $350,000 into harm reduction measures. He also hopes to acquire $750,000 for the 2024 fiscal year budget to create an overdose prevention fund.

Organizations like Communities for Recovery say this is a great start, but more has to be done to address this ongoing problem.

"We have to have a plan. We have to have outcomes that we can measure and that we're held to those outcomes and those expectations of what we're trying to achieve so that, again, next year, we're not facing the same issue," said Darrin Acker with Communities for Recovery.

The Medical Examiner’s Office will present the report’s full findings at the upcoming County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, May 2.