Williamson County Emergency Medical Services will be hosting several free classes in May to educate the community about the dangers of opioids after a recent string of fentanyl-related incidents in Travis County.

What residents need to know

In conjunction with the Hutto Resource Center, Williamson County EMS will be providing demonstrations on how to administer the overdose reversal medication Narcan on May 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Hutto Lutheran Church.

Participants will also be given Narcan to take home. Those interested may call 512-688-0176 to reserve a spot.

There will be another educational opportunity on May 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the EMS North Campus, which is located at 3189 SE Inner Loop, Georgetown. Williamson County EMS will be teaching participants to spot the symptoms of an opioid overdose and again show demonstrations of Narcan administration.

Those interested may register here.

Some context

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office issued a critical warning to residents May 2, following over 70 fentanyl-related overdoses and eight deaths reported April 30 in neighboring Travis County.

"The recent spike in fentanyl poisonings in Travis County serves as a stark reminder of the deadly nature of this substance. We must all take proactive steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Sheriff Mike Gleason said in a news release.

Preliminary data from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicate a total of 34 fentanyl-related deaths in Williamson County in 2023, with fentanyl accounting for 45% of all drug-related deaths statewide.

Death data lags behind real-time data, as investigations and death certificates take time to be completed and filed, according to Texas DSHS.

In April 2023, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Narcan would be provided to law enforcement in every county in Texas to combat the uptick in opioid-related overdoses.

According to data obtained from the county and the Texas Targeted Opioid Response program, the county received 1,168 doses of Narcan in 2023, which were distributed throughout the community, including in schools and law enforcement agencies.

“We must come together as a community to confront this crisis head-on," Cedar Park Police Chief Mike Harmon said in the release. "Through education, awareness and collaborative efforts, we can make a meaningful impact in combating the spread of fentanyl."