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How Hays County is addressing fentanyl overdoses

County officials are working to educate parents on the dangers of fentanyl use in local schools.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — According to state data, Texas saw an 89% increase in fentanyl-related deaths in 2021 compared to 2020. On Sunday, Hays County leaders hosted a meeting where they discussed how they’re handling the growing crisis. 

One of the focuses of the meeting was to highlight how kids are getting their hands on fentanyl. Hays CISD has reported that four kids died this summer from suspected fentanyl overdoses. One deputy said fentanyl is often sold as something else – like Xanax, percocet or oxycodone – but it takes very little to kill a person who takes it.

The family of a young boy who died of fentanyl overdose before he could graduate high school said he showed warning signs that they wished they paid attention to. In the weeks before his death, his family said he wasn’t grooming himself and he was losing weight. The aunt of the boy who passed was grateful for the opportunity to share their story Sunday.

“I think it was very productive because there's a lot of things that they did not know, and they needed the community to know. Production is just about not being silent. The drug is silent. You can't see it. You don't know that you're not buying it. Most people are buying something else in it. So it's a silent drug, and so people don't know it,” Felicia Benavides said.

A deputy with Hays County said law enforcement is taking a two-pronged approach to tackle this issue. First, they’re educating the public with events like the one on Sunday. Next, various law enforcement agencies are committing resources to catching drug dealers who may be selling this drug. 

The deputies said they’re using a Crime Stoppers website where people can anonymously send in tips related to crime, including fentanyl.

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