Oct 3, 2023 - News

What you'll find at ACL: Narcan

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Alongside the music, the food and the drinks, Austin City Limits Music Festival attendees this year will also be able to access naloxone, the opioid reversal medicine commonly known as Narcan — for free.

  • The festival runs this Friday-Sunday and Oct. 13-15.

Driving the news: Ohio-based overdose prevention nonprofit This Must Be the Place will provide the medicine and have a booth at the festival this year to educate fans about the opioid crisis, according to ACL Festival officials.

  • It's the first time doses of naloxone will be provided to ACL patrons, according to ACL promoter C3 Presents spokesperson Sandee Fenton.

Why it matters: Nearly 5,400 Texans died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending in April, a roughly 9% increase year over year, according to the latest available CDC data.

Context: The nonprofit partnered with C3 Presents in April during the Two Step Inn festival in Georgetown.

  • This Must Be the Place has supplied nearly 25,000 free doses of the life-saving medicine at C3 festivals across the country.

What they're saying: "The nationwide fentanyl overdose crisis is affecting many different aspects of our communities, and while it's not unique to festivals, we see this proactive measure as an important opportunity to educate and arm a large group of like-minded people with information and tools that can save lives," Fenton tells Axios.

  • In response to a question about whether ACL has seen overdoses in recent years, Fenton said: "The addition of This Must Be the Place is not a response to any incidents at our festivals."

Of note: In 2022, the festival provided educational resources and doses of naloxone to festival staff, vendors and first responders, according to Fenton.

The big picture: Narcan recently became the first opioid overdose treatment to be sold at pharmacies without a prescription following FDA approval in March, Axios' Jacob Knutson reported.

  • Distribution of the medicine by local and state governments has been on the rise, including a recent allotment to Texas police departments from Gov. Greg Abbott.
  • Austin ISD last year distributed naloxone to school nurses.

Go deeper: How Narcan works and symptoms of an opioid overdose

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