Two Detained After Rash of Austin Overdoses

( – A wave of overdoses in Texas has left several people dead, and law enforcement has two suspects in custody who may be connected to the deaths.

By Wednesday, May 1st, the Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) responded to over 70 suspected overdose cases over a period of a few days, and more soon followed. On Monday, April 29th, alone, there were 37 overdoses, and the following day there were 27, and then seven more on that Wednesday.

The spike sounded alarm bells amongst local enforcement. In a press conference on Tuesday, April 30th, APD Assistant Chief Eric Fitzgerald said it was “apparent” that the community was dealing with “a deadly batch of illicit narcotics.” At least eight people have reportedly died during the overdose outbreak. The ATCEMS would not respond to questions of whether or not those deaths were related to opioids such as fentanyl.

The influx of reports prompted a mass response from EMS, nonprofits, and the homeless strategy office to respond to the calls to administer Narcan to treat possible or known opioid overdoses. Narcan, or naloxone, is an over-the-counter drug usually given in the form of a nasal spray to treat opioid overdoses. According to the ATCEMS, over 400 doses were administered over a period of three days, and the drug is “unquestionably” helping to deal with the crisis.

Captain Christa Stedman, a spokesperson for the ATCEMS, said the numbers declined “dramatically” after a few days, which she said is a “great thing” and “speaks to the incredible work” of the community’s paramedic team and its partners. She said the effort essentially flooded the city with Narcan to combat the wave of overdoses, and that the ease of use for the dosage required little training.

City EMS Captain Christa Stedman said that sudden widespread outbreaks of overdoses like the current one are often due to “a new ‘batch’” of drugs in town, and that “the same couple of sources” most likely provided the drug based on “similar signatures” in the symptoms.

The APD Narcotics Support Unit has made two arrests and is tracing the source of the narcotic, as well as pursuing leads for suspects who may be involved in its distribution. They have not released any further details of the suspects in custody.

Copyright 2024,