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As fentanyl and overdose deaths skyrocket, founders launch new recovery/addiction treatment center

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 11:44 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Tasked with investigating the deaths in Jefferson Parish, Coroner, Gerry Cvitanovich says he’s noticed a troubling trend.

“Our fentanyl related deaths have been skyrocketing,” said Cvitanovich.

Comparing 2019 to 2020, he says fentanyl deaths more than doubled. Looking at the first four months of 2021, he says they’re on pace to double again. Plus, Cvitanovich says these overdose deaths do not discriminate.

“From the perspective of the drug dealers it’s cheaper so they make more money… a lot of them are surprises a lot of people had no idea and someone was just messing around taking a pill you think you’re not gonna die from and low and behold it’s got more fentanyl in it than it supposed to and you have no tolerance and you die,” said Cvitanovich.

Knowing an opioid and fentanyl addition crisis is growing across the greater New Orleans area, city leaders joined the founders of the newly launched NOLA Detox and Recovery Center.

“As I look at overdoes numbers and I look at them weekly, but when I dig deeper and hear from my folks saying that as they administer Narcan that the response to that has been more violent, so we’re seeing or they’re saying drugs on the street that are laced in ways that we haven’t seen before… this is a step in the right direction but let me tell you the needs in our community are great and they’re even greater because of this covid-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Latoya Cantrell.

“Addiction is a highly treatable illness and I think some people don’t realize that,” said Dan Forman.

Founder and CEO, Dan Forman says addiction treatment has advanced and they plan to bring new recovery treatment approaches mixed with New Orleans’ hospitality to the new 36-bed facility.

“The addiction treatment industry is really stuck in older models which is basically you have to feel bad you have to sit in the bed and sweat it out it’s very judgment based or moral base but we treated here is an illness just like any other we treated as a genetic illness that people are typically born with,” said Forman.

Though Cvitanovich says even earlier intervention can start at home with a simple conversation.

“What it does to me personally it makes me educate for kids who live in my house and make sure they understand just trying something can be fatal,” said Cvitanovich.

Forman said there’s already a wait list for NOLA Detox at St. Luke’s Medical Center.

They’re accepting all insurance and Louisiana Medicaid, and Forman encourages those interested to call 504-446-1111 about a bed starting July 15th

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