NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - According to our partners at NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune, the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office says new data shows the number of opioid-related deaths remains extremely high.
Of the 172 drug overdoses in Jefferson Parish last year, 77 of them were linked to Fentanyl and that number is a 200 percent increase from 2016.
The number of opioid-related deaths have stayed about the same the last two years ever since Fentanyl first made its mark here in our area.
Now, of course, Fentanyl has become the leading cause of overdose across the country with many people turning to the drug after first abusing prescription opioids. But, another cause is that it’s often found laced in other drugs like heroin, cocaine and meth and often times users are unaware of that.
The data from the coroner’s office shows that Fentanyl deaths in Jefferson Parish are more than four times higher than the homicide rate.
DEA agent Brad Byerley says the agency is working on new initiatives all the time to bring those numbers down but that it’s not something you can arrest your way out of.
“Just to put it in perspective how dangerous it is, I brought a visual here. I have a packet of salt and if I was to sprinkle a few grains of salt here, just a few grams of salt. But if this were Fentanyl, this would be lethal.” says Byerley.
Fentanyl is around 50 times stronger than normal heroin and Byerley says an even stronger version called Car-Fentanyl is 50,000 times stronger. And although there have been no cases of Car-Fentanyl here locally, he fears it’s only a matter of time.