NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The federal government is handing out more than $50 million to help fight opioid drug addiction, and Louisiana will receive a portion of the money.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals calls opioid addiction an epidemic, one that has affected every state and city across the country. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that from 2000 to 2014, drug overdoses killed nearly a half-million people in the U.S. Six out of every 10 overdose deaths involve opioids.
In New Orleans, Orleans Parish Coroner Jeffrey Rouse says opiate overdose deaths now surpass the number of homicides.
To help prevent more deaths, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is handing out $53 million to 44 states that have seen the most severe problems for drug prevention efforts. The program is also designed to raise awareness about the dangers of sharing medications and work to address the risks of over prescribing.
In addition to the money being handed out to states, there is also a recently formed national task force specifically charged with identifying ways to curb this growing problem, before it claims more lives.