Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Baton Rouge already nearing last year's overdose death record

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BATON ROUGE- East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said Thursday that the parish is nearing last year's record of 124 overdose deaths, and there is still six months left to go in 2020.

So far, there have been 95 confirmed overdoses reported from January until now. There are 15 pending cases that are presumptive positive as overdoses, pending the return of toxicology tests.

"The opioid epidemic did not just go away because COVID became the top news story," Clark said. "We have not talked about the opioid epidemic, which is very present and more present given the numbers we are discussing today."

The problem is so dire, Tonja Myles, a peer support specialist said she has been carrying NARCAN in her vehicle wherever she goes.

"I probably give out five to six a week with family members and people trying to get in treatment," Tonja Myles said. "With COVID it is more challenging and a little longer, so I supply them with NARCAN."

Myles said she has seen the increase in cases following the issues with COVID-19.

"I don't think it's going to slow down," Myles said. "I think it's going to be more challenging. And we have to get the info out there that recovery is real, and there are a number of places that treat opioid abuse specifically."

Myles said there is help available. People can reach out to Capital Area Human Services at 225-925-1906.


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