JERSEY VILLAGE, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbot is scheduled to tour the Department of Public Safety drug warehouse and crime lab in Jersey Village on Thursday.
At the DPS Region II Headquarters, Abbott will receive a briefing about the growing fentanyl crisis plaguing Texas and hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m.
Abbott will be joined by several other leaders, including DPS Director Steve McCraw, Texas Public Safety Commission Chairman Steven Mach, Senator Joan Huffman, Senator Paul Bettencourt and more.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse released data showing law enforcement seizures of pills containing fentanyl increased dramatically between January 2018 and December 2021.
DEA agents said four out of every 10 pills on Houston's streets right now are laced with the drug, and dealers are adding it to heroin, cocaine and counterfeit prescription drugs. Most victims are dying after taking these pills, not even knowing what they're taking is laced with fentanyl.
"This situation is truly tragic," said William Kimble, DEA Houston's assistant special agent in charge. "It's raging across the United States like a brush fire."
With properties similar to morphine but 50 times more potent, a little fentanyl can wreak major havoc in a community. A dose small enough to fit on a pencil eraser can kill a person.
Last year, there were 466 deaths in Harris County. The latest CDC data reveals fentanyl killed nearly twice as many people last year as COVID-19, car accidents, cancer and suicide.
Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences reports fatal drug overdoses increased 52% from 2019 to 2021, with fentanyl as the principal factor in those deaths.
In December, DEA officials warned that Mexican drug cartels are mass-producing deadly fentanyl and fentanyl-laced fake Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Xanax and other pills, using chemicals sourced largely from China. These pills were found in every U.S. state in 2021.