A City of Dallas task force, set up to combat rising opioid deaths, has lent its support to a Texas House of Representatives bill seeking to expand and allow overdose mapping.
HB 3540, authored by Rep. John Lujan (R-San Antonio), allows cities to bypass HIPAA medical privacy rules and map locations of overdoses.
In a television interview with WFAA, District 9 Council Member Paula Blackmon endorsed the plan:
“What we can find out is where communities are having those overdoses and then we can deploy resources there, whether it through be [sic] enforcement, whether it through be [sic] recovery, education.”
Nationwide, over 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, as tracked by the Centers for Disease Control.
In Dallas, Narcan administrations increased 70% between 2021 and 2022, according to Dallas Fire-Rescue. Narcan is a life-saving drug that can rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
According to the City of Dallas Opioid Response website, the easiest way to prevent an overdose is to avoid illegal drugs:
“The best and easiest way to prevent fentanyl overdose is never to use illicit drugs and to avoid buying prescription pills through social media or e-commerce platforms because they may contain deadly amounts of fentanyl or methamphetamine.”
Still, Council Member Blackmon believes that in-depth education can prevent deaths where “just say no” education has failed to do so.
“We’re going to bring families together and have a really hard conversation about how to have these hard conversations with our youngsters. We’re going to focus on putting up ads. We’re going to put it out there everywhere we go because I do believe that when parents know what outcomes can happen from one pill, they will have these conversations,” Blackmon told WFAA.
The Dallas Express reached out to the offices of Council Member Blackmon and Rep. Lujan for comment but did not receive a response from either by the time of publication.