Pointe Coupee Parish sees increase in fentanyl related overdoses

Pointe Coupee Parish is seeing an uptick in fentanyl related deaths and overdoses.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 5:31 PM CDT
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POINTE COUPEE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Pointe Coupee Parish is seeing an uptick in fentanyl related deaths and overdoses.

Eight people died of drug overdoses in 2022 while eight more have died so far this year.

“We are averaging seven to eight deaths a year. 90% are because of fentanyl,” Sheriff Rene Thibodeaux continued.

He says because of the dangerous and deadly drug, operations are having to change.

His deputies are trained to treat all overdose calls and cases as though they are Fentanyl related.

“People are just trying to save people’s lives and they are getting exposed because of someone else’s bad choices,” added Thibodeaux.

Pointe Coupee Sergeant Michael Battiste knows first-hand the risks involved in fentanyl related calls.

He recalls a time when was exposed to the deadly drug because someone simply opened a bag.

“My heart rate started going up, my heart just started pounding. I had to be taken to a hospital,” said Battiste.

He says proper equipment and Narcan have been invaluable to the sheriff’s office, who are often the first on the scene.

“We have gloves ready, boxes of masks in our unit. Then when on scene, every unit is equipped with Narcan,” Battiste explained.

But Sheriff Thibodeaux says he doesn’t just want to rely on Narcan anymore, he wants to get ahead of the problem before it becomes an overdose or death.

“We are adding to our Narcotics division. This is a threat. We have to find it and we have to eliminate it,” said Thibodeaux.

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