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Bridge Center set to open this week as opioid crisis spikes in East Baton Rouge Parish

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BATON ROUGE - The doors to The Bridge Center for Hope will soon open to the public.

Those in desperate need of help will have a new way to access care.
This news comes as the opioid crisis runs rampant in the Capital City.

"We are not only a mental health facility, we also do substance use. It will be another added continuum to the care of individuals here in East Baton Rouge Parish," said Executive Director, Charlotte Claiborne.

Claiborne says overdose deaths have been on the rise for a while now, and the Bridge Center will offer a solution.

"We know that there's an opioid crisis is not only in East Baton Rouge Parish, but state and nationwide. The Bridge Center for Hope just adds another piece to help these individuals," Claiborne.

East Baton Rouge Parish is already on track to match the high number of overdose deaths last year.

The Coroner's office reports 126 overdose deaths in 2019, 245 deaths in 2020, and 21 deaths so far during 2021.

"People who thought they were getting opioids are now getting straight up fentanyl and it's killing people," said Peer Support Specialist, Tonja Miles.

In a news conference today, EBR Parish leaders addressed the city's opioid crisis.

While dressed in black, residents who attended mourned their loved ones who lost their lives in the fight.

"It's never the ones you think that are going to be the ones to go. It's always someone you least expected," said Rochelle Daigle, organizer of a local recovery group called Agape Angels.

The Bridge Center is now a spark of hope for many in the community.
The facility's grand opening is on Thursday, February 11 at 10 a.m.

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