AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin-Travis County on Monday announced one of its partner organizations received a shipment of 9,900 doses of naloxone to help fight the opioid crisis.
Local Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes, Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Mayor Steve Adler gathered in downtown Austin to provide details about the shipment and how it will be put to use.
Walkes said the one-time shipment is going to the Texas Harm Reduction Alliance. She explained this organization helps people in the community experiencing substance use disorder and is able to provide naloxone to them.
When given in time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose, including those from fentanyl and prescription opioid medications.
In September, Travis County officials were working on an agreement with community organizations to distribute more naloxone doses and train staff on how to administer the drug.
In May, Travis County declared a public health crisis in response to a growing number of drug overdose deaths. The Travis County Medical Examiner’s 2021 report showed for the first time in a decade that drug overdoses were the leading cause of accidental death in the county.
Walkes added on Monday that the county saw 308 people die from overdoses last year — a 237% increase over 2019. She said 118 of those deaths were attributed to fentanyl, and the average age of those overdosing is trending younger.
She also urged all pharmacies in the area to get stocks of naloxone to help address the crisis.
Brown added officials are working with the Austin Independent School District to ensure naloxone is available in schools, and nurses are getting trained on how to administer it.