GEORGE TOWN, Texas (KXAN) – An initiative of Williamson County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Bluebonnet Trails Community Services has placed approximately 60 boxes of narcotics, a reversal drug opiate overdose. The number of drug overdoses in the county exceeded last year’s number.
Amy Jarosek, director of the community health nursing program at Williamson County EMS, said that while the county hasn’t seen the same wave of overdoses as Hays and Travis counties, she and Bluebonnet Trail Partners are working to spread the word about how to get life-saving drugs.
“There should be no stigma associated with this. Everyone should have access to life-saving medicines,” Jarosek said.
Currently, boxes in county buildings are placed in the same wall units that house emergency AED defibrillators.
From 2021 to 2022, the county will see an 8% increase in overdoses, but from 2020 to 2021 the increase will be even greater, a 20% increase, Jarosek said.
From the start of the year to October 31, there were 172 overdoses, according to statistics she shared in the WCEMS response area. Last year, the total number of overdoses was just 158.
Jack Housworth, director of substance abuse services at Bluebonnet Trails, said up to 15 people with opioid overdoses per week enter agency facilities.
The drive to make Narcan more accessible everywhere is because overdoses of these drugs are happening everywhere, he said.
“One of our case managers worked at a Starbucks in North Austin, and someone started overdosing inside the Starbucks,” Houseworth said.
Both Jarosek and Houseworth said making Narcan available to the community does not send the message that drug addiction is okay, but rather a way to prevent people from falling victim to the opioid epidemic.
According to the current national prescription for Narcan and naloxone, anyone who needs the drug can get it from a pharmacy, Jarosek said.
Bluebonnet Trails also provides Narcan at all of its facilities for those who have overdosed, Housworth said.