Travis County Judge addresses drug overdose issue

The Travis County Judge spoke today about the overwhelming issue of drug overdoses in Central Texas.

This update comes after a Travis County Medical Examiner report in May that showed that fentanyl was involved in one third of overdose deaths.

From 2020 to 2021, fentanyl-related deaths rose by 237%.

In 2021, fentanyl killed 118 people, compared to 110 homicides, and 170 fatal car crashes.

In May, Judge Andy Brown said he has a three-part plan to tackle the issue – legalize fentanyl strips, provide more narcan, and get funding to help people quit using drugs and get mental health assistance.

Fentanyl strips are used to test if your substance has fentanyl in it. Currently, they're illegal under the Texas Controlled Substances Act because they're considered drug paraphernalia.

Several bills have been filed to fix that by both State Senators and Representatives.

The county says it also wants to expand good samaritan laws.

Narcan is a brand name for nalaxone, which usually comes in the form of a nasal spray. It can reverse an opioid overdose.

$175,000 has been poured into making nalaxone more widely available. It's even available in vending machines in some places.

According to the county, there has been $350,000 dedicated to overdose prevention efforts in total.