Odyssey House in-take floods

Odyssey House In-take floods

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A snapshot from last Saturday's deluge looks more like the aftermath of a hurricane.

"It's pretty high, and it was there for a long time too," says Odyssey House Executive Director Edward Carlson.

The Odyssey House at 732 North Claiborne was flooded with 3 feet of water. Patients at the detox center had to be evacuated.

"Our clients and staff from our adult program located on North Tonti got into a van and went over to get the clients out," says Carlson.

It's one of many businesses that flooded on Aug. 5, but Carlson, says this loss is vital to fighting the growing opioid epidemic .

"I think the important thing to understand is we are the only medically assisted detox in South Louisiana for indigent populations, and we only have 19 beds. Every morning, in the middle of this opioid epidemic, we have people lined up around the block," says Carlson.

Carlson points out that in 2009, there were 10 opioid deaths in the whole state of Louisiana. Last year, there were more than 260 opioid deaths in the city of New Orleans.

"I think the state needs to have a better plan. We need a better plan locally to deal with this issue," says Carlson.

"There are no boundaries. There are no boundaries geographically as it relates to opioids and heroin," says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

As Carlson deals with the loss of the North Claiborne detox facility, mayors from across the country are gathered here in New Orleans for a conference to discuss ways to fight the opioid epidemic.

One of those ways, they say, is to have more treatment facilities.

"This is an opportunity for us to work with the federal government and the local governments to get the resources that are needed to address this problem," says Mesa Mayor John Giles.

The Odyssey House hasn't been able to take any new detox patients since the Aug. 5 flood. They're setting up an alternative site at their North Tonti location that will open Monday, but it could take 60 days before the Odyssey House can reopen in Treme.

Carlson is frustrated, especially after finding out that so many pumps were not working last Saturday.

"You know, we're looking at trying to be able to operate and to be able to provide basic services, and this is an important piece that we need to be focused on and be able to do that," he says.

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