Abbott launches campaign to combat opioid 'crisis'
(KTEN) — Gov. Greg Abbott's One Pill Kills campaign aims to help combat what he calls a fentanyl "crisis," and to highlight the opioid's deadliness.
To help stem the tide of overdoses and fentanyl-related crimes, Abbott — a Republican who is running for a third term as Texas governor — is pushing new laws for the legislature to consider next session.
"Because it is a poisoning, I want to make it a law that makes it murder for someone to knowingly provide fentanyl-laced drugs that lead to someone's death," Abbott said.
He also wants to see the overdose medication Narcan more widely available.
"It blocks the opioids from basically getting to those receptors," said Sherman police spokesperson Sgt. Brett Mullen. "It can immediately reverse the effects of an overdose, and it's a very effective thing."
Sherman police officers started carrying Narcan last year to deal with any potential exposure to the drug.
"It was smart for us to start carrying Narcan to administer to those in the public who we believe have had exposure, overdosing, and also to our officers, because it is a danger to them, working with narcotics and things like that," Mullen said.
The State of Texas has designated Mexican cartels that may be trafficking fentanyl into Texas as terrorist organizations.
"Cartels are not humanitarian whatsoever, and so it just fits the pattern with them that they're in it just to make money," Abbott said. "And this past year, the reports, cartels have made a record amount of money,"
The governor said 1,700 Texans died as a result of fentanyl overdoses last year.
Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Abbott in the November election, would work to legalize fentanyl test strips and to provide police departments with state funding for Narcan, campaign spokesperson Tori Larned told The Texas Tribune last month.