Opioid overdose deaths double in Lafayette Parish in first half of 2021; experts point to fentanyl | News

Midyear overdose dying numbers from the Lafayette Parish Coroner’s Workplace present opioid and fentanyl-related deaths have nearly doubled over the identical timeframe final 12 months, placing Lafayette Parish on observe to once more outpace the earlier 12 months’s deaths.

The climb follows a yearslong upward pattern. In 2017, there have been 25 opioid-related deadly overdoses recorded by the coroner’s workplace, and 5 deaths that concerned fentanyl. In 2020, the coroner’s workplace investigated 61 opioid overdose deaths, with 50 involving fentanyl.

Coroner’s workplace knowledge exhibits there have been 46 opioid-related overdose deaths by means of the tip of Might 2021. Fentanyl was concerned in roughly 83% — 38 — of these deaths. Numbers for Might are probably the most lately out there as June and July stories are nonetheless pending, Lafayette Parish Coroner’s Workplace Chief Investigator Keith Talamo stated.

This 12 months’s opioid-related and fentanyl-related deaths have basically doubled over the identical interval in 2020. From January to Might 2020, there have been 24 opioid-related overdose deaths, with 17 involving fentanyl, the coroner’s knowledge exhibits.

Opioids are a category of medication naturally discovered within the opium poppy plant that embrace heroin, artificial medicine like fentanyl and prescription painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, in response to the Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse.

The rising variety of deadly opioid-involved overdoses is a nationwide downside. In 20 years, the variety of recorded deadly opioid-related overdoses nationally rose from 8,050 in 1999 to 49,860 in 2019, per knowledge from Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

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Mark deClouet, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and proprietor of Axis Behavioral Well being and Restoration, stated the complete image of native opioid overdose deaths is probably going worse than what’s mirrored within the Lafayette Parish coroner’s numbers as a result of not all overdose victims endure rapid dying and could also be hospitalized with well being challenges brought on by the overdose earlier than succumbing.

Every week deClouet stated he learns of one other affected person, former affected person or affected person’s member of the family in his two enterprise areas, Alexandria and Lafayette, who has died from an opioid-related overdose. Anecdotally, sufferers are telling deClouet and different service suppliers fentanyl is concerned in a rising share of deaths as a result of it’s cheaper than pharmaceuticals and turning into extra available than heroin.

“It’s having access to fentanyl and attempting to dilute it to a degree they believe is tolerable however oftentimes is just not. It’s a Russian roulette kind factor….I believe it speaks to the instances of the desperation,” deClouet stated.

Axis operates in Alexandria and Lafayette. deClouet stated in Alexandria, the place they’ve a partnership with a psychiatric hospital, they deal with 30 to 40 individuals by means of in-patient care per week, whereas seeing one other roughly 100 individuals per week in outpatient remedy. In Lafayette, deClouet estimated they see upwards of 60 to 80 individuals per day at their clinic within the Oil Heart.

A key to combating the rising variety of deadly opioid overdoses is entry to reasonably priced, handy care and prescriptions utilized in medication-assisted remedy, like buprenorphine, he stated. deClouet and colleagues have advocated for improved entry to care domestically.

Whereas remedy choices are restricted, deClouet stated individuals combating drug dependancy and relations looking for assist for a cherished one can discover assist domestically. The practitioner really helpful individuals in want contact 232-HELP or Beacon Neighborhood Connections, a nonprofit that helps individuals in disaster navigate care choices, to find out about remedy sources domestically.

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