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Austin reports nearly 40 overdoses in one day, at least 4 dead

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File photo (Credit: ATCEMS)

Police in Texas are investigating a series of opioid overdoses in Austin which has claimed the lives of at least four people, local officials say, warning drug users not to take unknown substances. Dozens were saved by paramedics.

The incident began at around 9 a.m. on Monday when Austin experienced a “sudden surge” in opiod-related overdose calls, with most of them coming from the downtown area. Calls later spread to all parts of the city, including at homes, businesses and areas accessible to the general public.

“Upon our arrival, our team swiftly distributed Narcan rescue kits throughout the area to counteract the effects of the opioid overdoses and provide life-saving intervention to those affected,” Chief A. Carr, of Austin-Travis County EMS, said at a briefing on Monday night.

Heidi Abraham, the agency’s Deputy Medical Director, said the number of overdose calls had reached the “mid-to-high 30s” on Monday night, including four people who were pronounced dead. Others were saved with Narcan rescue kits.

“It’s thanks to a lot of first responders – like the Austin Police Department – that some of these people are alive today,” Abraham said. “Austin Police Department was first on scene for some of these incidents and administered Narcan. It definitely helped save these folks’ lives.”

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the surge in overdoses, which were continuing on Monday night.

“The initial couple of calls started about 9 o’clock this morning and it’s progressing as we speak,” a spokeswoman said at the briefing. “The calls are still happening, we’re still finding patients. And like I said, the situation continues to evolve.”

“When we see outbreaks like this, the suspicion is that essentially there’s a ‘new batch in town.’ I can’t speak to any investigative pieces but it’s fairly likely that it’s all from the same source or same couple of sources because of the similar signatures that we’re seeing in the symptoms,” she said.

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