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Fatal fentanyl: Nearly a dozen deadly overdoses reported in BR over Christmas week
BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office said Christmas week will be recorded as one of the deadliest weeks for people who lost their lives to an overdose.
Eleven people died over a week-long time frame, according to Shane Evans, Chief Investigator for the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office.
"When you get over one-a-day average, it gets very concerning," Evans said. "Holidays sometimes can lead to a little spike, but it's clear there's deadly fentanyl on the streets of Baton Rouge."
To put the 2022 week into perspective, there were nine overdose deaths during the same time frame last year. In 2020, seven people died during the week of Christmas.
"Anything you buy from the street — all the way down to marijuana, cocaine and meth — there's a high probability that it's been adulterated with fentanyl and can kill you," Evans said.
Last year, 311 people died in East Baton Rouge Parish from a fentanyl overdose. So far, there are 290 deaths with dozens that are awaiting toxicology results to confirm the overdoses.
"What would a response look like if 115,000 people in Tiger stadium were bombed and killed all at once," Evans said. "We lost 115,000 people [nationally] all at once in 2021 from fentanyl overdoses. We don't know what those numbers are this year. I do track them across the country, and I expect nationwide to be way up but we are on track to match our record last year."
There's a lot of work that's being done behind the scenes to combat this problem including peer support specialists who routinely pass out Narcan on the streets of Baton Rouge for free.
"There's a lot of work being done that I can't talk about, but law enforcement locally is looking at each death from an intel-gathering standpoint and use the death to connect the dots on who's the source of the supply," Evans said. "Who is transporting the poison to the Baton Rouge area and make prosecutable cases."
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