What Travis County is doing as a total of 246 overdose deaths in 2020 | MCU Times

What Travis County is doing as a total of 246 overdose deaths in 2020

Counterfeit oxycodone pills confiscated by Cedar Park Police Department

Counterfeit oxycodone pills confiscated by Cedar Park Police Department. (Cedar Park Police Department Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A recent sober statistics from the midst of the pandemic – 100,000 people died of an overdose between April 2020 and April 2021 – prompted Travis County to release its own data on what this impact looked like here. Two hundred and forty-six people died from an overdose in the county by 2020, according to the county – an increase of 30% from the previous year.

Travis County said it was the leading cause of accidental death in 2020. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the factors that led to an increase in these deaths was the unintentional ingestion of fentanyl, which can occur in counterfeiting. pills.

Fentanyl line Xanax was linked to the death of University of Texas Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlinger earlier this year. Separately, a KXAN study in July profiled a family that lost their son to an overdose of counterfeit pills, and found that Travis County is experiencing a 25% increase in fentanyl-related deaths in 2021 compared to the previous one. years, according to data from the Travis County Forensic Office.

The recent increase in national awareness prompted the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to release its plan to reduce these types of deaths. It includes raising awareness and working with local organizations to do so, as well as providing life-saving drugs such as naloxone, which can help reverse an overdose, and training communities. A publication also outlined a goal of providing resources and work to change policy.

“Changes in the law may be necessary to ensure that officials and public health providers can provide tools, such as fentanyl test strips, that can prevent accidental ingestion of fentanyl. Accurate and timely data are needed to pursue evidence-based solutions. Local public health officials “is committed to increasing the resources available for education, training, treatment and life-saving medicines such as naloxone,” the statement said.

Travis County DA’s office also mentioned that the previous administration had refused to prosecute people with small amounts of drugs, but added that it had chosen to change this policy and add an exception, “when law enforcement officers believe that failure to arrest would be a threat to public security. “

In addition, the DA’s office promised to donate $ 15,000 from its estimated fund to the SIMS Foundation, which provides mental health and substance abuse recovery to those associated with the music industry.

Travis County Attorney José Garza, Travis County Judge Andy Brown, and County Attorney Delia Garza all promised to take steps to address the issue they called a “public health crisis,” with the support of the Texas State Rep. Gina Hinojosa and Rep. Donna Howard. A number of local security officials, public health organizations and music industry leaders also signed a letter in support of the effort.

There will be a free music event on December 4 called “Safer Together: Overdose Prevention & Harm Reduction Saves Lives,” organized by the SIMS Foundation and the Red River Cultural District, according to the release.

The event is free, but donations are accepted. All donations will go to the SIMS Foundation, which provides mental health and substance abuse recovery to music artists, their families and people in the music industry.

The concert will offer nine different musical performances from kl. 8pm to 2pm at three local venues: Mohawk (indoor), The Green Jay and Empire (garage). More lineup details will be announced soon.

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