GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — An initiative by Williamson County EMS and Bluebonnet Trails Community Services has placed about 60 boxes of Narcan, the opioid overdose-reversing drug, in county buildings. The number of overdoses in the county has already surpassed the amount seen last year.

Amy Jarosek, the community health paramedic program captain for Williamson County EMS, said while the county is not experiencing waves of overdoses like those seen in Hays and Travis County, she and partners at Bluebonnet Trails are trying to spread information on how to get the lifesaving drug.

“There shouldn’t be a stigma associated with this. Everyone should have access to a lifesaving medication,” Jarosek said.

Currently, the boxes in county buildings are being placed inside the same wall units that hold emergency AED defibrillators.

Jarosek said the number of overdoses in the county has increased by 8% from 2021 to 2022, but a more drastic jump of 20% happened from 2020 to 2021.

According to statistics she shared from the WCEMS response area, 172 overdoses happened from the beginning of this year through Oct. 31. Last year, the total number of overdoses was only 158.

The Bluebonnet Trails Director of Substance Abuse Services Jack Housworth said as many as 15 opioid overdoses come into the agency’s facilities every week.

He said the push to make Narcan more available everywhere is because these overdoses are happening everywhere.

“One of our case managers was in a Starbucks in north Austin, and somebody started overdosing inside of the Starbucks,” Housworth said.

Both Jarosek and Houseworth said making Narcan available to the community does not send the message that it is OK to abuse drugs but is instead a way to save people from becoming casualties of the opioid epidemic.

Jarosek said, under the current national standing prescription for Narcan and naloxone, anyone in need of the drug can get it from a pharmacy.

Housworth said Bluebonnet Trails also has Narcan at all of its facilities for those experiencing an overdose.