Governor Abbott Orders State Agencies to Step Up Anti-Fentanyl Efforts | Texas Governor’s Office

September 20, 2022 | Austin, TX | Press release

Governor Abbott today sent a letter to heads of state agencies asking them to step up state efforts to address the deadly fentanyl crisis affecting communities in Texas and nationwide. With an 89% increase in fentanyl-related deaths reported in Texas in 2021 compared to 2020, the deadly synthetic opioid endangers Texans of all ages. This deadly drug is trafficked in Texas by Mexican cartels, who disguise the pills to look like legitimate prescription drugs and even candy to target children.

“The potency and deception of fentanyl, combined with the federal government’s unwillingness to take border security seriously, poses a grave threat to Texans,” the letter read. “We must take all appropriate steps to inform Texans of this danger and prevent additional deaths. Together, we can help raise awareness of the threat posed by fentanyl and do our part to address this crisis.

As the Texas Legislature prepares for the next session, Governor Abbott has directed state agencies to outline legislative changes, budget priorities, and other initiatives that will improve the state’s ability to prohibit the synthetic opioid, to provide emergency overdose treatment and to expand drug treatment programs. Agencies can coordinate with the Texas Opioid Abatement Fund Council to further amplify efforts.

Governor Abbott also directed relevant state agencies to begin coordinating efforts to raise awareness about the lethality and prevalence of fentanyl. Agency leaders are responsible for informing the Texans they serve of all the dangers of fentanyl by taking steps such as developing public service announcements, posting flyers in prominent places around regulated facilities, staff training, and providing educational opportunities to the people the agencies serve.

Governor Abbott addressed the letter to heads of state agencies that serve populations who would be affected by fentanyl, including:

  • Mike Morath, Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency
  • Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Colonel Steven McCraw
  • Cecile Young, Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Texas Department of State Health Services Commission Dr. John Hellerstedt
  • Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Jaime Masters
  • Shandra Carter, acting executive director of the Texas Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Council Commissioner Dr. Harrison Keller
  • Ed Serna, executive director of the Texas Workforce Commission
  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brian Collier

Read Governor Abbott’s letter to heads of state agencies.

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