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EBR Parish joins legal fight against opioids

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BATON ROUGE - East Baton Rouge Parish is joining the fight against opioid manufacturing and wholesale distributors. A lawsuit was filed Tuesday claiming the companies pushed false information about how addictive the deadly drug can be.

"Monday, we had a mother who overdosed and she had a child in the car with her,” Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said.

Chief Paul says the department is having to spend extra man hours responding to drug-related calls like this one.

"Just this year alone, we've already seized over 2,700 doses of heroin and 1,700 doses of opioids."

First responders are also going through extra training.

"We're doing education with the fire departments in the Parish to use NARCAN, which can be used to counter the effects of opioids,” said Chad Guillot with Baton Rouge EMS.

It's all to combat the Parish's opioid epidemic.

“Nine opioid prescriptions were dispensed for every 10 residents in East Baton Rouge Parish in 2016,” Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome explained.

Broome says someone is to blame, and that’s the drug manufacturers.

“[Manufacturers] are falsely representing to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction,” Broome said.

The blame may also lie with wholesale distributors, who Broome says failed to monitor and halt large shipments of the drugs going out. Now, the parish is looking to hold those accountable, following a long list of others filing a lawsuit against opioids.

"We have to stop this epidemic,” Chief Paul said. “As a community, we have to. We have to do this."

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