Opiate epidemic hasn't gotten worse, but hasn't improved, either - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Opiate epidemic hasn't gotten worse, but hasn't improved, either

An image of Dr. William "Beau" Clark in a campaign addressing the heroin epidemic (Source: WAFB) An image of Dr. William "Beau" Clark in a campaign addressing the heroin epidemic (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The opiate epidemic in Baton Rouge has not gotten worse, but it hasn't really improved, either.  

According to the preliminary numbers from the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office, in 2016 there were 32 confirmed deaths caused by a fatal dose of heroin. There are three cases suspected to be caused by heroin but are still pending final toxicology results.  

By comparison, there were a total of 41 heroin overdose deaths in the parish during 2015.  

Although there is a slight decrease in the number of heroin-related deaths, the overall number of drug overdose deaths is only different by 1 case (78 in 2015 and 77 in 2016).  

RELATED STORIES: The opiate epidemic in East Baton Rouge Parish

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office began tracking heroin overdose deaths in 2012 due to a spike in deaths. That year they only tracked deaths related to heroin and there were a total of 5. The following year that number jumped dramatically to 35.  

The number of drug-related deaths has been on the rise ever since. Opiates are the most common culprit in cases that are not specifically heroin. Some of the other drugs in this group classification include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and methadone.

In addition, Dr. William "Beau" Clark began the difficult task of tracking deaths attributed to synthetic drugs commonly known as "mojo."  

The first documented "mojo" death in EBR Parish happened in 2014. The following year that number jumped to 3, but there were no "mojo" deaths documented in 2016.  

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