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East Baton Rouge coroner says pandemic shifted attention from opioid crisis, alarming number of overdoses in 2020

2 years 7 months 3 days ago Thursday, October 22 2020 Oct 22, 2020 October 22, 2020 7:27 PM October 22, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge coroner is concerned about the alarming increase in deadly opioid overdoses in the parish.

Dr. Beau Clark says compared to 2019, the amount of deaths related to opioid overdoses has nearly doubled.

In all of 2019, a total of 105 people overdosed on opioids in the parish, mainly from heroine and fentanyl. As of October 22, 2020, that number is already at an alarming 194, according to the coroner.

But Dr. Clark says the opioid crisis is nothing new. He says he has been bringing attention to the matter since he first took office, but now, the focus has shifted to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"I'd been speaking on the opioid epidemic weekly. As soon as COVID hit, that completely ceased," Dr. Clark said.

The coroner is now urging the community to acknowledge the major issue at hand and urge drug abusers to take advantage of the rehab programs available in the area.

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