BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The number of deaths caused by an overdose of drugs continues to rise in East Baton Rouge Parish.
According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office, 111 people died from an overdose in 2017. In 2017, 45 people died from heroin and the remaining died from a mixture of drugs, which were primarily opioids.
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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. In 2016, the number of deaths reached 89.
Coroner Dr. William "Beau" Clark recently participated in a press conference regarding a lawsuit that is being filed by the parish against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Dr. Clark spoke on using opioids for treatment. He says the risks outweigh the benefits when using opioid prescriptions for pain treatment.
"I firmly believe that the use of opioids for the treatment of any pain should be done in a very, very rare circumstance," Clark said. He said chronic scenarios such as cancer would be an example of the use of opioids.