East Baton Rouge Parish surpasses record for overdose deaths

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:08 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With two months left in 2021, the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner reports the parish has broken last year’s record for the number of deaths attributed to overdoses.

As of October 27, 248 people have died from an overdose. That is compared to 242 in 2020. Every year since the coroner’s office started listing the numbers, EBR has set a new record.

Coroner Beau Clark said the culprit is fentanyl. He added that nearly every overdose case he sees in his office involves fentanyl.

“You’ve got to limit the supply chain,” said Clark.

Families joined the coroner Wednesday, Oct. 27, to discuss the record number of overdoses. Each family in attendance lost a loved one to the opioid epidemic.

The theme throughout their comments is that law enforcement needs to do more and the district attorney’s office needs to prosecute dealers pushing the deadly drugs.

“We can all do more. Obviously, the numbers are going up and that’s the reason it’s necessary for that to happen,” explained Clark.

BRPD and the district attorney’s office were reached out to for comment about what can be done to curb the overdose numbers.

District Attorney Hillar Moore said prosecuting second-degree murder cases against dealers can be very difficult as proving intent and the source of the drugs is difficult when the cases go to trial. He added it does not mean his office is not trying these cases, just that there is limited success.

Moore also said his office understands the frustrations of loved ones who have lost a family member to overdose but with the difficulties his office has in prosecuting dealers, it has set up a number of programs to help people addicted to drugs overcome their addiction. The DA urged families to reach out to his office for those resources. CLICK HERE for more.

BRPD has not yet given a comment.

EBRSO said it investigates each overdose as a homicide. A spokeswoman for the department noted it has made several arrests in deadly overdoses.

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