Denton is a step closer to offering naloxone at festivals as council continues discussion
Naloxone could soon be available at festivals in Denton if a majority of City Council members agree to partner with a nonprofit during their next meeting in February.
Council member Paul Meltzer pitched the idea Tuesday afternoon at a work session shortly before a special-called council meeting.
“The goal would be for Narcan and overdose awareness to become as common as the Heimlich maneuver,” Meltzer told fellow council members.
Naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan, can be used to reverse an opioid overdose.
Meltzer brought the item forward for council consideration after a Jan. 5 informal staff report about the city’s fentanyl response in early January. The report was in response to the increase in fentanyl-related deaths around the country.
The number of synthetic opioid-related deaths reported in Texas, for example, increased 80% in 2021 from 2020, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
In the Jan. 5 report, city staff highlighted the city of Austin’s partnership with nonprofits to provide naloxone doses. They’re available via a variety of methods, including in vending machines at events and around the city where anyone can get naloxone for free.
At this week’s meeting, council members Brian Beck, Brandon Chase McGee, Vicki Byrd and Joe Holland all gave direction for city staff to move forward with the work session to discuss making naloxone nasal spray available at festivals in Denton.
Denton has several festivals throughout the year, including the Denton Black Film Festival this week, the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival and the Denton Blues Festival.
“I’m amazed how we as a society continue to find ways to hurt ourselves,” Holland said.
Mayor Gerard Hudspeth was hesitant to host a work session to discuss it.
“I have legal questions about what we can mandate to festivals,” Hudspeth said.
City staff will answer those questions in two weeks.