Heroin deaths on rise in Capital region
BATON ROUGE - Deaths from heroin overdoses could reach record highs this year in East Baton Rouge Parish. It's a troubling trend that's occurring across the region.
The EBR Coroner's office is predicting 50 deaths for 2015, after there were just five in 2012. The cause is two-fold, according to the coroner's office: a decrease mandatory sentencing for possession and tighter controls on prescription pain medicine.
The Louisiana Prescription Monitoring Program tracks prescription drug use, preventing abusers from getting excessive pills from multiple doctors. The program has dried up the supply of opiate pain killers on the street, according to Coroner Beau Clark, so addicts buy heroin because it's often a cheaper, albeit more dangerous, alternative.
"You could get a product that is five or ten percent, or you could get a product that is fifty percent heroin," said Dr. Clark.
The EBR Sheriff's Office reported that deputies and narcotics investigators seized 246 grams of heroin in 2014, up from 21 grams in 2012.
The Livingston Parish Corner's Office also reported a noticeable increase in heroin related deaths. Sheriff's deputies there said they've responded to 27 cases where heroin was involved so far this year, up from 18 for the same period in 2014.