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May 2022

From the Austin American Statesman

A troubling jump in drug overdoses in the community has Travis County leaders poised to declare a public health crisis — but not without a plan on how to address it.

On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court postponed a vote to declare a public health crisis, citing their desire to find out more from local experts on how to tackle the issue.

“We have more deaths on the street than ever before from overdose,” Commissioner Ann Howard said. “Our first responders are dealing with this, and we heard almost weeping officers a couple of weeks ago about their clients they’re concerned about on the street, and finding them dead. This is a real-life, right now problem ... so we have work to do.”

Travis County has become one of the top five counties in the state for opioid-related emergency calls, according to Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County health authority. A majority, she added, is occurring largely because of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate with effects similar to heroin but much more powerful. It can be found as a pill, powder, patch, solid, or liquid, and it can be lethal even in tiny doses, authorities have said.

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TAX RATE: TRAVIS COUNTY ADOPTED A TAX RATE THAT WILL RAISE MORE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS THAN LAST YEAR’S TAX RATE. THE TAX RATE WILL EFFECTIVELY BE RAISED BY 3.5 PERCENT AND WILL RAISE TAXES FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATIONS ON A $100,000 HOME BY APPROXIMATELY $10.39.

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