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Gov. Abbott hosts roundtable on fentanyl crisis with local law enforcement

One Pill Kills campaign
Posted at 10:12 PM, Oct 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 23:15:28-04

WACO, Texas — Governor Abbott visited the Texas DPS district headquarters in Waco on Tuesday for a roundtable discussion on the fentanyl crisis across the state.

DPS director Steve McCraw and McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara joined Abbott as he shared more about his office's 'One Pill Kills' campaign.

More than 1,600 Texas died of a fentanyl overdose in 2021, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Abbott said he is working with DPS to put a stop to the crisis.

"They're working with local law enforcement as well as federal law enforcement to identify gangs that support Mexican drug cartels and seize their assets and disrupt their cartel networks," he said.

CDC data showed a 15.6 percent increase in drug overdose deaths in Texas in 2021. Abbott pointed to President Biden's policies at the border as the source of the growing problem. He said he is requesting that the president works to classify drug cartels as "terrorist organizations."

Abbott is also calling for expanded access to Narcan, or naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug. He suggested that the state consider implementing the tool in schools, pointing to recent cases of teens overdosing on fentanyl.

As recently as this summer, Texas overdose prevention groups were struggling to get the life-saving overdose treatment naloxone, or Narcan, as the state runs out of federal funding.

Governor Abbott said the issue will likely be addressed in the next legislative session.

"We will have funding available that we can figure out the right pathway to provide the funding, but I think we can all agree on the necessity of making sure Narcan is there," he said.

Sherriff Parnell McNamara said McLennan County law enforcement is doing everything it can to put a halt to the epidemic.

"In the last year and a half, I believe we've had five or six cases pop up here in Central Texas, as opposed to three for the last three or four years," he said, also pointing to the border crisis as a growing source of the fentanyl supply in Central Texas.

Both McNamara and Abbott support tightening laws to ensure that those who knowingly manufacture or distribute fentanyl-laced drugs are charged with murder.