VIDEO: AG Paxton Releases PSA About Fentanyl Crisis

Attorney General Ken Paxton | Image by WFAA
Attorney General Ken Paxton | Image by WFAA

As fentanyl continues to claim the lives of Texans at alarming rates, Attorney General Ken Paxton has released a public service announcement warning about this ongoing epidemic.

As AG Paxton explained, “Texas drug overdose deaths have increased over 75% during the last five years alone.” He underlined the importance of fentanyl awareness, noting that the “first step toward ending the devastation starts with understanding what we’re facing.”

The drug behind this crisis is a synthetic opioid known for its high potency, making it both more addictive and fatal than other drugs in the same class. It is also relatively easy and cheap to produce, making it a recurring additive to counterfeit pills.

Fentanyl-laced pills passed off by dealers as popular prescription medications, such as Percocet or Xanax, at rates as low as $3 per pill have led to tragic consequences on both state and national levels. People taking the pills — an estimated 42% of which contain a potentially lethal dose of 2 milligrams — often aren’t aware they contain fentanyl and accidentally overdose within mere minutes of ingesting them, as previously covered in The Dallas Express.

Joining the attorney general in the video spot were family members of those killed by fentanyl.

“You do not get a second chance. Don’t stand on the sidelines; get in the game; get involved. Don’t put yourself in a box where you think, ‘That won’t happen to me, not my kid.’ You just never know,” a montage of speakers urged.

Stefanie Turner was one of those appearing in the PSA. She recalled the fentanyl-related overdose death of her 19-year-old son, Tucker Charles Roe, which led to her creating the nonprofit Texas Against Fentanyl and advocating for state action.

Her efforts helped bring House Bill 3908, also known as Tucker’s Law, to fruition last year, as covered by The Dallas Express. The measure requires public schools to teach an anti-drug curriculum in order to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

Alongside Tucker’s Law, Gov. Greg Abbott signed other fentanyl-related legislation that same June day. In part, the bills designated October “Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Month,” saw that Narcan — a nasal spray that reverses opioid overdose symptoms — be distributed to colleges and universities in the state, classified fentanyl overdoses as poisonings, and increased the criminal penalties for fentanyl-related crimes by making them felonies. For instance, someone supplying a fatal dose of fentanyl to another in the state of Texas can result in them being charged with murder.

Even with these measures coming into effect, fentanyl remains a visible problem in North Texas. Recently, a school resource officer at Allen High School — the largest in Texas — spoke to CBS News Texas about the overdose crisis due to fentanyl.

“It’s everywhere and the scary part is these kids think they’re doing a real prescription pill,” Matthew Johnson said, recalling having had to administer Narcan to three students already this year.

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