Latest heroin-related death pushes total three times higher than 2012

Latest heroin-related death pushes total three times higher than 2012
Photo provided by the Thibodaux Police Department.

POSTED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 6:30pm

UPDATED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 6:34pm

Another heroin-related overdose continues to propel Baton Rouge to a record number of deaths caused by the illegal drug.

The latest case brings the total number of heroin deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish to 14, which is three times the total number for last year.

“I asked several people why they use heroin and they all said that the price of prescription pills has gotten so high that it’s cheaper to get heroin,” Dr. William “Bo” Clark, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner, explained during a recent interview with NBC33. “Most of them are saying that they’re getting it from New Orleans.”

Dr. Clark noted that the heroin on the streets of Baton Rouge is much more powerful than addicts are used to, which could be a contributing factor to overdose.

"If they ingest the same volume of something that's more potent, they tend to have the reaction that leads to respiratory depression and thus death in those circumstances," he said.

Dr. Clark says he's also working closely with local law enforcement, who have also noted an increase in heroin activity.

“I would say that we’re seeing more arrests for heroin than we have had in the past,” Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, Baton Rouge Police Department, said. “We have seen more heroin on the streets, but we’re not making an effort on that particular front. We’re targeting all drugs.”

Click here to learn more about why heroin is increasing in popularity and related issues.

--NBC33’s Samantha Morgan contributed to this report.

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