New program to be launched to combat the opioid crisis in New Orleans

New program to address opioid crisis in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “He was an awesome guy. He was happy and friend, but he got addicted and couldn’t get out of it,” Danny Bolner said.

Danny Bolner says his son, Daniel was a heroin and fentanyl addict who tried so many times to get clean.

“He went in and came out. He went in and came out, and he was doing really good,” Bolner said.

Then, on Daniel’s 28th birthday -- March 9, 2016 -- he overdosed and died.

“We found him dead of fentanyl,” Bolner said.

Daniel left behind a little girl, Gracen. She was 3-years-old at the time of his death.

Bolner is now raising his granddaughter. He said the loss of his son is immeasurable.

“The pain never goes away. There are certain songs that come on the radio, and I have to pull on the side of the road to cry. It’s just hard,” Bolner said.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley said although tragic, Bolner’s loss is not uncommon.

“Opioids alone killed 47,000 people just about each year. That’s 130 people a day losing their lives to opioid overdoses, so that kind of puts it in perspective,” Byerley said.

Byerley is part of an effort to launch a new program to combat the deadly epidemic.

“There are three components to it -- the law enforcement, the diversion control and the community outreach,” Byerley said.

State, local and federal law enforcement will work together to dismantle drug trafficking organizations while engaging the health community.

“We are going to have dialogue with them. We are going to facilitate discussions and come up with solutions to the over-prescribing, and the drug abuse associated with this pain medication,” Byerley said.

Byerley said the agency and its partners will also engage the community through education, prevention and treatment.

“I mean it [cost] $15 [for] my son to die. That’s how much it costs,” Bolner said.

Bolner said a life is worth so much more, and he believes programs like the “360 Strategy” will stop others from losing their lives to an opioid addiction.

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