AUSTIN (KXAN) — There were 308 overdose deaths in Travis County in 2021, which is a 20% increase from 2020.
“We have seen the increase in opioid-related deaths skyrocket over the last few years,” State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) said.
Travis County has started a campaign to raise awareness about this issue. It’s called Safer Together and the goal is to reduce the number of overdose-related deaths.
“Right now, there is a crisis where people are inadvertently ingesting fentanyl and it is killing people,” Garza said.
Claire Zagorski with UT Austin’s College of Pharmacy helped get Narcan on campus, making it more accessible to students and staff.
“We had a need for having Naloxone on campus,” said Zagorski. “The library is constantly asking us for more doses and we are always needing to restock and replenish them.”
Resources are key to saving lives, but tracking where these overdoses are happening is important as well and right now that can be hard.
Now there is an app called TxCOPE which is an application designed to track overdose data. Kasey Claborn, Ph.D., helped start the app to track overdoses.
“We have been working to develop a platform that will help to improve real-time response for overdoses,” Claborn said. “This allows our public health officials, it allows our first responders, it allows our decision makers to make data-driven decisions to inform community response for overdose locally.”
Once opened, users can enter in where an overdose happened, what time of day it happened and what kind of drug was used. Claborn said users can stay anonymous. That data can then paint a better picture of what kind of drugs are being used in an area and if there are hot spots where more people are overdosing.
“We are seeing fentanyl within Adderall and Xanax and things like that now so we really need to be able to identify where bad batches of drugs are,” Claborn said.