Heroin deaths, pill useage rise in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - The Drug Enforcement Administration is calling heroin an epidemic in the greater Baton Rouge area, saying it's the most dangerous drug on our streets.
The Centers for Disease Control ranks Louisiana 19th for heroin related overdoses. Law enforcement has been on high alert since the death toll jumped from five deaths to 35 within a year.
The DEA blames the drug's low cost and easy access for the spike in use and deaths, but says the biggest problem is new users switching from prescription drugs to heroin in order to save a buck.
"They can no longer afford those pills," said local DEA agent Terry Davis. "They've switched over to heroin, unfortunately."
Davis says heroin is more dangerous than pills because it's not regulated and can't be measured.
"Every time a potential user injects heroin, it's like playing Russian roulette," Davis said. "Especially if you're a first time user, switching from prescription drugs to heroin, it's very likely that you could potentially face an overdose, which could result in death."
So far this year 18 people have died in Baton Rouge. On Oct. 21 the DEA will host a summit with Louisiana State Police to discuss the epidemic facing Baton Rouge.