One year ago the Parish Coroner alerted the public that a deadly national trend had made its way to Baton Rouge.
A 2013 post on the Coroner's Office fan page read, "We don't know how to say this gently. Don't use heroin. Don't snort, smoke, inject, mix it in your drink. Don't. We have had a horrible rash of heroin overdoses that have taken young, beautiful, vibrant, hardworking and productive people from our community because they did not understand the power and evil of this drug."
In 2012, 5 people within EBR Parish died from a heroin overdose. The number jumped to 35 in 2013. This year, there are 18 confirmed heroin-related deaths with 2 cases pending the results of toxicology tests.
"Obviously we'd like to stop people from using first and mainly dealing heroin," said District Attorney Hillar Moore in a past interview. "It has been a problem not only in Baton Rouge, but around the nation."
The Center for Disease Control released findings Thursday from a national study showing a slight decline in deaths from painkillers, while deaths from heroin doubled.
"Individual states and cities have reported substantial increases in deaths from heroin overdose since 2010," notes the study. "Heroin overdose death rates increased significantly for both sexes, all age groups, all census regions, and all racial/ethnic groups other than American Indians/Alaska Natives."
The study reviewed overdose data from 2012 and compared it to 2010. It focused on 28 states, which represents roughly 56 percent of the US population.
"The findings in this report indicate a growing problem with heroin overdoses superimposed on a continuing problem with OPR overdoses. Increasing use of heroin is especially concerning because it might represent increasing injection drug use."
The study also notes the demographic breakdown of those deaths.
"In 2012, the age group with the highest heroin overdose death rate was aged 25–34 years, and the age group with the highest OPR overdose death rate was aged 45–54 years."
The full study for all 50 states is expected to be released by the end of the year.