Governor Abbott Proclaims October 15-21, 2023 Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week In Texas
Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug crisis our state and nation has ever encountered. 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, just two milligrams of fentanyl—a dose barely visible to the human eye—is lethal.
In recent years, fentanyl has gained traction as an illicit substance. The synthetic opioid is now the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. Fentanyl-related deaths in Texas increased over 500% from 2019 to 2022, taking the lives of more than 4,800 unsuspecting Texans in just three years. Many lives could have been saved had these victims been educated about the dangers of fentanyl poisoning.
Since March 2021 under the Operation Lone Star border mission, Texas law enforcement has seized more than enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman, and child in America. Despite this progress, deadly fentanyl is still being smuggled into Texas at the behest of Mexican drug cartels to profit from the loss of innocent lives and ripping Texas families apart.
Mexican drug cartels are targeting the future of our great state—particularly our children—by strategically manufacturing and distributing fentanyl disguised as painkillers, stimulants, anti-anxiety drugs, and even candy. Far too many young Texans have been robbed of the promising lives ahead of them because they were unaware that an alleged prescription pill or other substance they took was laced with fentanyl.
One year ago, the State of Texas launched its comprehensive “One Pill Kills” public awareness campaign to educate Texans on how to prevent, recognize, and reverse fentanyl poisonings. In April 2023, my office hosted our One Pill Kills Summit with Texas families, law enforcement, education leaders, state officials, and fentanyl advocates for meaningful conversations to raise awareness about this deadly crisis and discuss solutions to save more lives. I also signed several pivotal measures to combat this growing crisis in Texas this year, including House Bill 3908—Tucker’s Law—requiring public schools to provide research-based instruction on fentanyl abuse, prevention, and poisoning awareness to Texas students grades 6 through 12. It also requires me to designate the first ever Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week in Texas.
Grades 6 through 12 are important years for adolescents as they begin learning how to face life’s challenges and overcome its obstacles both in and out of the classroom. Our schools are charged with helping prepare the next generation of Texas’ leaders, innovators, and thinkers—and that includes teaching our children critical life skills and life-saving knowledge.
Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week will have a fundamental role in our efforts to protect the next generation from this deadly drug, as Texas children will receive age-appropriate instruction about the dangers of fentanyl and fentanyl poisoning prevention. School administrators and staff will also be familiarized with emergency response protocol and the life-saving power of opioid poisoning reversal medication naloxone, such as NARCAN.
I encourage Texans of all ages to recognize Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week to help save lives and ensure Texas’ most precious resource—our children—can realize their dreams.
Therefore, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim the period from October 15 through October 21, 2023, to be Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week in Texas and urge all Texans to observe the occasion with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto affixed my signature this the 15th day of October, 2023.
Governor of Texas