Opioid-related deaths are escalating across the nation and Bexar County is taking action.
The City of San Antonio has created a Joint Opioid Task Force to fight addiction and promote treatment. The task force, made up of first responders, policymakers, and social service agencies, met on Tuesday morning to discuss solutions.
University Hospital Co-Chair Dr. Bryan Alsip says that local opioid deaths are increasing.
"San Antonio is third in the rate of deaths," he noted. "We are also leading neonatal absence syndrome, where mothers get addicted and transfer that addiction to their babies."
Bexar County has received a $3 million federal grant to combat the epidemic. Dr. Alsip says that the grant will be used carefully and strategically. Some funds will help train the community to use the overdose reversal drug Naloxone.
"[Naloxone] will be widely available, not only to traditional first responders but also to [the average] person who is educated and knows how to use it," Dr. Alsip said. "The drug is already successfully used on the UT-Austin campus and has been given to undergrads at dorms and school counselors."
Dr. Also said that in addition to the drug training, the grant will also be used for public outreach through education and treatment.