TERREBONNE PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Parents are using heroin with children in the home and sometimes sharing the drug with them, according to Terrebonne Parish narcotics agents who say they're battling an epidemic.
Agents said of the four people who overdosed this past week, two died. The drug has claimed seven lives in the rural parish so far this year, five since September.
Narcotics Supervisor Darryl Stewart sees the problem almost daily.
"[There] used to be the fear factor of the syringe, the dirty needle, the tourniquet on your arm," Stewart said. "Well you don't just have to take heroin intravenously anymore. You're able to snort it and smoke it, so you've got three different ways you're able to take it. So it becomes a little more attractive to people because there is not that fear factor."
Deputies found a 35-year-old woman dead from a heroin overdose in a Houma hotel on Thursday. They said 27-year-old Shantelle White injected her and is now wanted for second-degree murder.
In another instance on Thursday, two small children were found in a home in Shriever where a 27-year-old man also died from an overdose.
Stewart said more and more, parents are using heroin with their own young adult children.
"We saw a situation where parents were using freely with their children, in the presence of their children, sharing needles, doing things, and that's not something that you are used to seeing," Stewart said. "That's not something that is common, and that's not something that I look forward to if that is going to be a pattern that we are going to continue to see, and that bothers me."
Terrebonne neurologist Don Gervais said the effects of heroin are unlike any other drug.
"I see the real tragic ones aren't already dead in the field, but are dead when we get them, unfortunately, and it happens at least weekly if not more," Gervais said.
He said addict who are revived after an overdose are often looking for their next fix as soon as they're released from the hospital.
"You see them doing anything they can do to in order to fulfill their needs, and it becomes so severe that they inevitably resort to crime," Gervais said. "Even wealthy people run out of money very quickly or can't hide their addiction. It's devastating from a social perspective."
Police said one of the victims who overdosed and survived last week was admitted to the hospital Sunday night for another overdose.
Deputies said the hospital does have services for addicts who want help.