‘One pill can kill:’ Student group raising awareness about dangers of fentanyl in Livingston Parish

Students in Livingston Parish plan to rally to raise awareness about fentanyl overdoses
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 6:18 AM CDT|Updated: May. 8, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON PARISH (WAFB) - Members of the Livingston Parish Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to young people’s health and safety, hosted a community awareness event on the dangers of fentanyl on Monday, May 8.

In Livingston Parish, fentanyl is the leading cause of overdoses, as over 80 percent of overdose deaths in the parish in 2022 were attributable to fentanyl, according to the Livingston Parish Coroner’s Office.

In front of an audience of mostly teenagers and parents, experts and advocates wanted to spread the message across the parish, that fentanyl is killing people in their community.

“Fentanyl kills more Americans under the age of 50 than any other cause of death. And so our students have been compelled by that research and the information that they’re seeing across the country, to raise awareness for this epidemic,” said Dylan Ivy, executive director of Livingston Parish Students Against Destructive Decisions.

The Livingston Parish SADD organization has chapters in schools across the parish.

“We have this saying where we say, this is not a war on drugs, this is a fight for people’s lives because it’s all about the people who are affected by this,” said Madison Bueche, a student, and member of Livingston Parish SADD.

“In a flash, you can go from being a normal kid with no issues to an addict, and in his case, inadvertently death,” said Dan Schneider, from ‘The Pharmacist’ on Netflix.

After losing his son, Danny Jr. to a drug-related shooting, Louisiana pharmacist Dan Schneider was determined to hold the huge figures behind the nation’s opioid epidemic accountable.

The Netflix docuseries called ‘The Pharmacist’ shows Dan’s pursuit to find answers about his son’s death, and his mission to stop the overprescribing of opioids in his community.

“My message to kids is look, there’s great things in life, don’t do drugs. Nowadays it’s literally like Russian Roulette. I used to say that 20 years ago and I was probably exaggerating, unfortunately, I’m no longer exaggerating,” said Schneider.

Schneider has since formed a movement against industries contributing to the country’s opioid crisis.

Experts warned the public that fentanyl is showing up everywhere, especially in pills that people are getting off of social media.

And the number of people dying from the drug in Livingston Parish is pretty staggering.

“Last year we had about 122 overdoses and 77 of those were related to fentanyl.

When we look at our numbers from 2015, we had only 40 overdoses, and only 1 was related to fentanyl,” said Dr. Ron Coe, Livingston Parish Coroner.

These students want to promote good decision-making in their schools, community and their lives.

“So that they can be more aware so that maybe they don’t make the decisions that lead to an overdose,” said Bueche.

An official with the Drug Enforcement Administration New Orleans Division said, last year the agency seized more than 57 million fake pills across the country.

60% of those pills that were tested contained a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.

So they are urging folks to only take pills prescribed by a trusted medical provider or pharmacist.

Student leaders secured a proclamation from the Livingston Parish Council last week to make fentanyl awareness day May 9 in Livingston Parish.

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