Watch full interview here

SAN ANTONIO - For months now, we’ve been bringing you stories about the opioid crisis and the initiatives to combat drugs in our state.

The new efforts include a $10 million awareness campaign, as well as state laws passed to promote drug education in schools.

"My daughter’s death was not an accident she unknowingly took something that had fentanyl in it," says mother Veronica Kaprosy.

We brought you this story last September, Danica Kaprosy died after taking what she thought was a sleeping pill laced with Fentanyl. Since her death, her mother has been pushing state officials to get tougher on drug dealers.

"One life is being lost in death, and the other life will be lost in prison drug dealers as young as 17, 18 that’s a loss of life as well," says Kaprosy.

Over the years 2019 to 2021, overdose deaths involving Fentanyl in the state rose nearly 400%. But passing Fentanyl-related laws like HB 6, which would let prosecutors pursue murder charges in Fentanyl deaths is helping bring illicit drug use down in the state.

“If we don’t talk about it people won’t know,” Tara Karns-Wright, PhD, Senior Dir. of Be Well Texas UT Health San Antonio.

Karns-Wright says aggressive campaigns like One Pill Kills or laws that increase awareness of the dangers of drug overdoses in schools help spread awareness to students.

“It is really important that we're putting that programming into schools and educating our kids and making sure that these risks exist," says Karns-Wright.

These numbers show that statewide Fentanyl poisoning-related deaths have increased since 2014, but you can see a dip from 2022 to 2023. Karns-Wright says talking more about the dangers of drugs should help bring those numbers down more.

"The way we talk about it is a chronic health disorder just like having high blood pressure or diabetes it's just really important we keep talking about it and we keep the message well known to everyone,” says Karns-Wright.

To watch the full Fox San Antonio interview, click here.

SAN ANTONIO - According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 107,000 people across the U.S. died from drug overdose in 2021. Over the next two days, the annual Texas Substance Use Symposium will be offering solutions.

Speaker at the conference and as a person in remission, Ariel Britt says she was a different person 11 years ago. Britt knew she wouldn’t have the life she has now if she kept abusing alcohol and cocaine.

"At some point my body just shut down and had this perfect window of opportunity and clarity that I wasn’t going to have the life that I dreamed,” says Britt.

The Symposium aims at increasing drug recovery programs to all 254 counties in Texas.

"We know when people are treated for a substance use disorder with evidence based treatment or science based treatment it reduces the likelihood of a death," says organizer of the symposium and vice president of research of UT Health San Antonio and Executive Director of Be Well Texas Dr. Jennifer Potter.

Potter says the conversation at the conference also includes drugs laced with Fentanyl.

"Young people, it’s very common they might experiment. When you experiment and there are very dangerous and illicitly made drugs like fentanyl. It makes it that much more dangerous for people to try even once," says Potter.

"Once you find recovery it doesn’t mean your life is over; it means you have a new life coming," says Britt.

And for Britt, she now works at the University of Texas for the Addiction Research Institute creating policies and serving as a true role model for change.

"I wouldn’t have this baby. I wouldn't have the amazing fiancé that I have today. I wouldn’t have this life," says Britt.