LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Many if not most family members of those who overdose want to see the drug dealers who sold the lethal or damaging drugs punished. Yet the Calcasieu sheriff says it’s not so easily accomplished.
The family of 29-year-old Casey Guillory, wants the dealer who supplied him with fentanyl-laced heroin to pay.
Guillory is in a nursing home with severe brain damage from which his family says he will never recover.
“This is a new drug that is being introduced to people whether they are conscious of it or not. They may be using the same heroin or buying it from the same dealer, but not knowing that fentanyl is in this," said Charlotte Hanks.
Hanks is Casey Guillory’s sister. She wants overdoses investigated. in part, to try to identify those peddling potentially lethal drugs.
Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says they do investigate when they become aware of overdoses. But he admits they have not had success tying overdoses to specific drug dealers.
“The culture we’re dealing with, it’s so hard for us to make a case and a determination. We seize phones, we do all those things in these cases to try to put the information that they’re giving us at times with what we can prove, and many times it just doesn’t add up,” said Mancuso.
Still, he encourages family members to report such cases. And he points out a 2014 law provides immunity for someone who illegally provides drugs, but then calls for medical help due to an overdose.
“It’s basically saying if you see somebody overdosing and you call for help, we can’t charge you with possession of the drugs or anything that we see,” said Mancuso.
Though law enforcement may never be able to determine who sold the drugs that severely injured Casey Guillory, Hanks says they will formally request an investigation once they compile his medical records.
The sheriff says so far this year 28 people have died of drug overdoses in Calcasieu parish. He says nearly nine times that many survived after being given the reversal drug Narcan.