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Overdose deaths in Calcasieu Parish doubling in 2021

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 7:53 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - As of March 9, there have been 19 deaths in Calcasieu due to drug overdose in 2021.

With an average of two deaths per week, Charlie Hunter, Chief Investigator for the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office says the alarming increase of overdose deaths is due to the highly potent opioid fentanyl that’s beginning to be unknowingly laced with other common drugs.

“People that are taking these drugs are not knowing what exactly the contents of those drugs are, and unfortunately, they are getting fatal amounts of fentanyl. At most times, the use of Narcan and Naloxone cannot reverse the effects of the opioid.”

Hunter explains the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office is a part of a task force in the parish trying to answer two major questions.

“Number one, where are these narcotics, especially the fentanyl coming from, and what can we do to stop it? We do see trends, before it gets to Calcasieu Parish. We see trends in the larger cities such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge. And then those trends make their way towards the Lafayette area. So it kind of goes along the I-10 corridor.”

Kristen Gonzalez, Harm Reduction Outreach Coordinator for the SWLA Area Health Education Center says, as a community, we need more awareness to prevent these deaths.

“It’s just reminding people that right now is not the time to take risks with your drug use. Now is not the time to be risky. Now is not the time to take chances because of the nature of drugs.”

There are treatment options and resources available at the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center 24-hour hotline (337)-930-2286.

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