AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County and a local nonprofit have together donated hundreds of doses of naloxone, a nasal overdose reversal treatment, to Austin City Limits Music Festival this year. It’s a new initiative aimed at preventing possible overdoses, according to Travis County Judge Andy Brown.
Brown said the county supplied roughly 60 doses of the spray which have made their way to some members of the bartending team. A nonprofit supplied hundreds more, which have gone to a large portion of ACL management staff, he said.
“That’s kind of the extra step that ACL took just to make sure that a lot of their staff on the backend working there also has access to Narcan or Naloxone in case they see somebody potentially overdosing so they can give it to them right away,” Brown said.
First responders also all have the reversal treatment, which can be administered to someone without risk of side effects, regardless of whether the person is actually experiencing a drug overdose.
Gregory Roselle, with Recovery Unplugged, said it’s not just event staff that should have the treatment, he recommends everyone carry naloxone.
“I bring Narcan with me everywhere and I don’t do drugs,” he said. “It’s 2022, we live in the middle of an opiate epidemic. Especially if you’re going to a music festival, bring Narcan. Even if you’ve never done drugs in your life you would be surprised, you could probably save somebody’s life.”
Brown also went a step further, saying staff access to naloxone, or the brand name Narcan, should be something not just happening at ACL, but at all major events happening in the county.
“UT football games, Formula 1, the soccer games, they should all have similar levels of it on hand in addition to what we’re trying to do in the community,” he said.
Fentanyl testing strips
The group behind Austin City Limits also hosts other music festivals across the country, including Chicago’s Lollapalooza. The Chicago Department of Public Health asked attendees of that festival to test drugs prior to taking them, according to their Twitter.
Why isn’t that happening in Texas? The short answer: drug testing strips are illegal in Texas.
If you’re going to do drugs, Roselle recommends having people around that can monitor you and get you help, should you need it. He also recommended ordering test strips, which despite Texas law, can be done online. KXAN has previously talked to a company based outside of Texas that ships the test strips into the state.
It’s a law that Brown said he’s hoping the state will take up during this year’s legislative session.
“I actually talked earlier today [Friday] with a lobbyist who I believe is pursuing that this session, our intergovernmental relations office, that is on their agenda for this session. It shouldn’t be a partisan thing at this point,” Brown said.