Heroin overdose deaths related to fentanyl on the rise - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Heroin overdose deaths related to fentanyl on the rise

Photo Source: Flickr Commons Photo Source: Flickr Commons
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The heroin epidemic that’s sweeping across the country is being felt here at home, and overdose deaths are rising at an alarming rate.

“Several years ago, they actually doubled from about 35 to 70, and then last year, we were at 80. This year, we’re on pace for about 80 again,” said Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich.

Cvitanovich said what makes last year and this year different is the amount of heroin overdose deaths that are related to fentanyl.

“A couple of years ago, we had seven deaths. This past year, in 2015, we had 16, and this year, we’re on pace for the mid-30s,” he said.

Drug dealers are now cutting heroin with fentanyl, and in some cases, using pure fentanyl to pass off as heroin.

“It’s much more potent than heroin, and the number one side effect is it makes you stop breathing. We’re getting more and more accidental deaths from heroin and heroin-related products,” Cvitanovich said.

In New Orleans, 36 percent of all heroin overdose deaths so far this year were related to fentanyl. Of the 81 people who died, 29 of them involved the synthetic drug.

“You get a dose that is super potent or not what you’re expecting to buy. One dose is fatal,” Cvitanovich said.

It’s believed that overdose deaths would be much higher if it wasn’t for heroin antidote Narcan, which is now available over the counter without a prescription. Cvitanovich believes Narcan is used to save lives every day. Overdoses that involve fentanyl could be different.

“Since fentanyl is a super opioid, it sometimes requires more than one injection of the Narcan,” said Dr. Peter DeBlieux.

There’s a serious concern about how much higher the death toll will rise because of the heroin-fentanyl mixture. Parish leaders are hoping that educating the public about the deadly combination will help.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Mayor and city officials provide updates on winter weather

    Mayor and city officials provide updates on winter weather

    FOX 8 photoFOX 8 photo

    MOBILE Users can view the live press conference here. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials will update residents on winter weather precautions. The update is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Expected to be in attendance: Mayor Mitch Landrieu Aaron Miller, Director, NOESEP Chief Michael Harrison, Superintendent, NOPD Chief McConnell, Superintendent, NOFD Dr. Jeffrey Elder, Director, EMS Dani Galloway, Director, DPW Dr. Joseph Kanter, Director, Health Departmen...

    more>>

    MOBILE Users can view the live press conference here. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and city officials will update residents on winter weather precautions. The update is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Expected to be in attendance: Mayor Mitch Landrieu Aaron Miller, Director, NOESEP Chief Michael Harrison, Superintendent, NOPD Chief McConnell, Superintendent, NOFD Dr. Jeffrey Elder, Director, EMS Dani Galloway, Director, DPW Dr. Joseph Kanter, Director, Health Departmen...

    more>>
  • Testimony continues in Gasser trial

    Testimony continues in Gasser trial

    Jefferson Parish Sheriff's OfficeJefferson Parish Sheriff's Office

    Testimony is set to continue Tuesday in the Ronald Gasser murder trial.  Gasser is accused of murdering former NFL player Joe McKnight in December 2016.  Gasser claimed he killed McKnight in self-defense, but prosecutors said it was murder.  Several witnesses have already testified describing the events on The Crescent City Connection that day.  According to deputies, it all started with a road rage incident between the two men that eventually made its way...

    more>>

    Testimony is set to continue Tuesday in the Ronald Gasser murder trial.  Gasser is accused of murdering former NFL player Joe McKnight in December 2016.  Gasser claimed he killed McKnight in self-defense, but prosecutors said it was murder.  Several witnesses have already testified describing the events on The Crescent City Connection that day.  According to deputies, it all started with a road rage incident between the two men that eventually made its way...

    more>>
  • Shelby: Grab a coat, cool mornings for the next few days

    Shelby: Grab a coat, cool mornings for the next few days

    Source: FOX 8 viewerSource: FOX 8 viewer

    The latest weather forecast from Your Weather Authority.

    more>>

    The latest weather forecast from Your Weather Authority.

    more>>
Powered by Frankly