8 dead, more than 50 suspected drug overdoses in around 24 hours in Austin opioid outbreak

AUSTIN, Texas – Austin, Texas city leaders are alerting the public after eight people died and more than 50 people overdosed on suspected drugs in around 24 hours. According to the Austin American-Stateman, the city experienced a 1000% increase in overdose emergency calls in one day. EMS Assistant Chief Steve White told the news agency that they typically receive one to two overdose calls each day. The patients also represented a wide range of ages and demographics.

“There were patients that were unhoused. There were patients that were housed. There were patients that were at the workplace, and there were patients that were out in public spaces as well,” EMS Capt. Christa Stedman said during a press conference.

While the deaths are devastating, Travis County Judge Andy Brown said that it could have been worse if emergency responders were not prepared to save lives. Paramedics passed out more than 200 Narcan kits, which can reverse an opioid overdose.

“It’s the largest opioid overdose outbreak we’ve seen in years,” Brown said.

The medical examiner’s office is conducting autopsies and toxicology reports on the eight bodies to determine the exact cause of death.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, patients taken to local hospitals responded well to Narcan, which most likely means they ingested opiates.

Austin Police have detained at least two people as persons of interest in the deadly overdose investigation, according to KTSM.