AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday new efforts state leaders will take to combat the opioid crisis. Nearly 1,700 deaths involving fentanyl were reported in Texas in 2021, as both state and federal leaders combat the growing epidemic.

The initiatives were unveiled during Abbott’s remarks at the 2022 Annual Montgomery Overdose Awareness Day, hosted by the Montgomery County Overdose Endeavor in The Woodlands. M-COPE is an advocacy group established by parents, friends and loved ones who’ve been impacted by drug overdoses, with focuses on substance use disorder awareness and prevention efforts.

At the event, Abbott said he’d support passing a law “that would ensure dealers who provide drugs laced with deadly opioids are charged for murder when their product poisons innocent Texans,” per a release.

“This is a phenomenon that can be prevented if we all work together and if our federal government gets serious about protecting its citizens by securing our border,” he said. “Substance abuse is a lifelong battle for many. We should muster every tool and every effort to help our fellow Texans negotiate the perils of addiction and emerge drug-free and healthy.”

Abbott added the state will expand access to Narcan, an opioid overdose treatment, and coordinate on a statewide substance abuse recovery program. As part of his remarks in The Woodlands, he recognized Aug. 31 as International Overdose Awareness Day.