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Mayor Broome announces significant reduction in overdose deaths

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BATON ROUGE - Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced a milestone in the fight against drug overdoses in East Baton Rouge Parish with an eight-percent decrease in overdose deaths since 2021. 

According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office, there were 311 fatal overdoses in 2021. That number dropped to 296 in 2022 and to 284 during 2023. 

While the parish may be seeing a slight decrease, the stats are still alarming to Tonja Myles, the founder of When You Are Ready. 

"Even though those numbers have went down, we are not satisfied," Myles said. 

Miles started the 'When You Are Ready' campaign in 2020. Her team has visited more than 350 Baton Rouge neighborhoods, and provided 1,500 NARCAN kits and fentanyl testing strips.

"We know that addiction kills, steals, and destroys but we also know that there's hope. Addiction does not discriminate. It's from the curbside to the country club. Whether you're broke or have billions. It does not matter." Myles said.

Their goal is to get the number of overdose deaths down to the level before the fentanyl and opioid crisis. 

"We still have a long way to go but we are making progress by supporting initiatives like this," Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said.

Two solutions to help decrease overdose deaths, as stated by EBR Parish Coroner, Dr. Beau Clark, is to target drug dealers and provide more resources to those struggling with substance abuse.

"We're going to continue this work until there's no deaths in our community related to this crisis, but the work is not over," Clark said.

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