Gov. Greg Abbott announced the launch of the fentanyl data dashboard by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) late last week.

Abbott said he hopes the new dashboard will raise awareness about the deadly drug and the effects it has on Texans. The dashboard will include information dating back to 2006, with an emphasis on the rise of drug related deaths since 2014.

“More than five Texans die every day from deadly fentanyl, and Texas continues to ramp up our efforts to combat the growing fentanyl crisis plaguing our state and the nation,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texans must come together to raise awareness of this deadly opioid to our family, friends, and communities, and the data published on this website will help Texans lead the fight against this deadly drug.” 

The data dashboard states that drug-related deaths in Texas have risen every year since 2014, when there were a total of 2,111, with 79 fentanyl-poisoning-related deaths.

In 2022, there were 4,844 total drug-related deaths and a staggering 2,161 deaths related to fentanyl poisoning.

The increased use of fentanyl has been driven by the high potency of the drug, making it more effective at treating pain, but also much more dangerous if consumed at incorrect doses. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Illegally made fentanyl can be put into drugs to increase potency, but the user is often unable to notice it in any way until after consuming the drug.

In 2006, fentanyl accounted for just 3.21% of all opioid-related deaths in Texas, a percentage that increased to 75.82% in 2022, according to data from the dashboard.

DSHS Commissioner Dr. Jennifer Shuford said the department hopes to use these measurements to improve its approach to the fentanyl crisis.

“DSHS is in a unique position to analyze and share information about fentanyl-related deaths as part of Governor Abbott’s One Pill Kills campaign. I hope making this data easily accessible will allow Texas experts and leaders to continue to craft solutions to this deadly crisis,” said Shuford in a statement.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) began working with the Office of the Governor and other Texas state agencies to create the “One Pill Kills” campaign and raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl usage.

The TWC claims the goal of the campaign is to “develop and share resources with our customers to help end the opioid crisis and fight fentanyl use in the Lone Star State.”

“I thank the Texas Department of State Health Services for their hard work to make this data more accessible to those who are working hard every day to keep fentanyl off our streets and educate Texans about the strategic manufacturing and distribution of this horrific drug,” Abbott said in his statement.