Opioid overdose outbreak in Austin is cause for concern for local officials

Bexar County Sheriff weighs in after 51 opioid overdose calls in Travis County

SAN ANTONIO – A bad batch of drugs has led to an opioid overdose outbreak in Austin. Its proximity to San Antonio and surrounding areas has local officials on high alert.

“I mean, we’re talking less than 60 miles up the road. So what affects them has a strong possibility of affecting us here,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

The deadly situation in Austin has led to 51 overdose calls in a little more than 24 hours. At least four people have died from an overdose, and the Travis County Medical examiner says four more deaths are suspicious but still under investigation.

“It is apparent that there is a deadly batch of narcotics in our community,” Austin Assistant Police Chief Eric Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said Austin police typically get two to three overdose calls a day.

“It’s quite possible that the suppliers in Austin are maybe starting to panic because the heat is on. Well, they’re not just going to throw away that product, they’re going to pack up shop and move somewhere else,” Salazar said.

The fear is sparking warnings from multiple agencies closer to San Antonio. The New Braunfels Police Department posted a warning on Facebook, asking people to be extremely cautious and that illegal narcotics often spread through the I-35 corridor.

“The I-35 corridor runs from the Mexican border straight through San Antonio, straight through New Braunfels, straight through Austin. 96 percent of the fentanyl entering our country is coming in through the southern border,” Salazar said.

The overdoses in Austin have not been linked to fentanyl at this time, but Salazar believes there is a strong possibility.

“We’ve even seen it with vapes being laced with fentanyl, again the cartels are using that to drive addiction,” Salazar said.

The Austin Police Department has two people of interest in custody, but so far, no charges have been filed in connection to the overdose outbreak.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has tried spreading overdose awareness for the past year, with its One Pill Can Kill presentation.

If you’d like to request the presentation, you can do so at, onepill@Bexar.org.

About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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