Drug Overdose 'Outbreak' Claims 4 Lives, Sickens Over 50 in City- Online Report Says

Drug Overdose ‘Outbreak’ Claims 4 Lives, Sickens Over 50 in City- Online Report Says

DEBARYLIFE – Authorities in Austin, Texas, are looking into a fatal drug overdose “outbreak” that is affecting the entire city.

According to local ABC News affiliate KVUE, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (ATCEMS) and the Austin Police Department (APD) reported receiving 51 calls as of Tuesday afternoon for possible overdoses, with four suspected deaths linked to the spike.

According to APD, overdose victims are found in all racial and ethnic groups and range in age from the 20s to the 50s, KVUE said. The ages of those who overdosed and died are unknown, however, they range from the mid-30s to the mid-50s.

The majority of the calls came from the downtown area and started about 9:00 a.m. CT on Monday, according to Angela Carr, the head of ATCEMS’s EMS section, who made this announcement at a news conference on Monday night. Later, calls started to come in from all around the city, including from homes, places of business, and public spaces.

Narcan rescue kits were given out, according to Carr, and a crew was sent to the scene almost away. Narcan is administered as a nasal spray, and if someone is suffering from an opioid overdose, respiration can be rapidly restored thanks to the medication’s main ingredient, naloxone.

Drug Overdose 'Outbreak' Claims 4 Lives, Sickens Over 50 in City- Online Report Says (1)

Dr. Heidi Abraham, ATCEMS’s deputy medical director, stated that while the agency typically receives two or three overdose calls per day, the volume of calls on Monday represented a 1,000% increase in call volume.

“This group of overdoses is showing a trend of unusually high fatalities,” the spokesperson stated at the press conference. “We’ve not experienced overdoses of this volume in several years.”

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Abraham stated that the overdose victims had admitted to consuming a variety of narcotics, but he did not go into detail about which substances they had used.

According to Christa Steadman, the public information officer for ATCEMS, officials believe the “outbreak” is caused by “a new batch in town,” most likely from the same source or a combination of sources, because patient symptoms are similar.

Officials promised to keep posting updates as soon as they became available.

It coincides with a record number of drug-related deaths among Americans. Provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that there were around 108,000 drug overdose deaths in 2022, which is approximately 1% more than the almost 107,000 overdose deaths reported in 2021.

Based on preliminary data from the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), the state’s drug poisoning death rate for 2022 is 15.4 per 100,000, the highest since at least 2011.

With 308 drug overdose deaths in 2022, Travis County had the fifth-highest number—mostly among white inhabitants.

States have previously claimed that a rise in overdoses and overdose deaths may be caused by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50–100 times stronger than morphine.

According to TDSHS, early data indicates that Travis County had the second-highest number of fentanyl poisoning-related deaths—188—after Harris County, which is home to Houston.

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