BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish coroner talked about a deadly killer on the streets of Baton Rouge.
In a news conference Monday, Dr. Beau Clark said heroin is a bigger problem in Baton Rouge then he ever imagined. He closed a case Monday morning that was the 38th death by heroin in 2015. That eclipses the record set in 2013 by three and echoes what the Investigators first uncovered last week.
Heroin Deaths in EBR over the past few years:
2015 - 38
2014 - 28
2013 - 35
2012 - 5
The coroner said one solution begins with the person selling heroin. The troubling spike in heroin deaths for EBR might be the catalyst needed to push for tougher penalties against dealers.
"I believe that a heroin dealer is a violent offender. Their weapon may not be a gun or a knife, but it kills just the same," Clark said. "When you sell somebody heroin and they die from it, it's just as violent as being shot or stabbed. So I would put them, heroin dealers, in a different category than other drug dealers."
In Monday's press conference, Clark, called for life sentences handed out to dealers whose heroin sale leads to a death.
Clark said doctors need to better track their prescription of opiates. That education and the mental health treatment of addicts must improve.
Last week, the coroner told the Investigators heroin was one of the drugs that killed a 21-year-old LSU Sigma Chi fraternity member. Drug use and hazing conspired to have the Sigma Chi chapter banned from the LSU campus.
The heroin deaths are mostly white males ranging in age from teens to men in their 60's.