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Governor Greg Abbott announces statewide initiative to fight fentanyl crisis

Posted at 10:40 PM, Apr 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-08 14:59:59-04

UPDATE (4/8):
To fight the growing national fentanyl overdose crisis in the state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott announced two initiatives under the "One Pill Kills" awareness campaign awareness.

During a press conference Thursday, Gov. Abbott unveiled one of the efforts, a new $10 million multimedia awareness initiative through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to educate Texans on how to prevent, recognize, and reverse fentanyl poisonings.

The other plan is to distribute 20,000 doses of Naloxone, or Narcan, to all 254 Texas counties by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). The drug reverses fentanyl poisonings and helps bring the person out of unconsciousness.

"Thanks to President Joe Biden and his reckless open border policies, the historic levels of fentanyl flooding across our border remains the single deadliest drug threat Texas and our nation have ever seen," Governor Abbott said during a summitin Austin. "With five Texans losing their lives every day to this clandestine killer, I launched our statewide 'One Pill Kills' campaign last fall to combat the growing fentanyl crisis wreaking havoc on innocent Texans and communities across our state."

Overdose deaths involving fentanyl in Texas rose nearly 400%, from 333 people dying in 2019 to 1,662 dying in 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 5,000 people have died of drug overdoses between July 2021 and July 2022.

Currently, House Bill 3908, which is under consideration in the Texas Legislature, would require fentanyl education and awareness in schools across the state.

In addition, two other bills have been approved by the Senate which could help fight the fentanyl crisis. Senate Bill 645 by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would open the door for prosecutors to deliver murder charges against people who make, sell and deliver fentanyl.

Governor Greg Abbott has launched a statewide initiative in effort to take control of the opioid crisis here in Texas.

Abbott is calling it the "One Pill Kills" campaign and it's part of a $10 million awareness plan to distribute doses of Narcan to every county in the state.

This new initiative is designed to warn Texans of the dangers to opioids, specifically fentanyl.

Last year, at least 2,000 Texans died from fentanyl overdoses. It's actually 100 times stronger than other drugs such as morphine.

Narcan is a drug that reverses opioid poisoning.

Under the new campaign, at least 20,000 doses of the medication will be distributed to the state's 254 counties.

Sheriff Oscar Rivera with the San Patricio County said this initiative will be a game changer as Narcan has already saved lives in the Coastal Bend.

"Narcan has been an asset to the city of Aransas Pass especially and we use it quite often here," Rivera said. "And if it saves someone's life, why not. I'm also concerned about parents who have kids at home and loved ones they care for and they get involved in this kind of stuff. At least we can give a family member a fighting chance."

The senate has also approved bills that could help achieve Abbott's goal of fighting this crisis.

One will open the door for prosecutors to deliver murder charges against people who make and sell fentanyl.