BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– Homicides and overdose deaths in EBR Parish have now surpassed last year’s record-high numbers.
East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said the number of overdose deaths and homicides this year is now at an all-time high. He is calling it “the deadliest year on record” for East Baton Rouge Parish. He said more needs to be done to stop drugs from getting into our communities.
He held a news conference to address this growing problem Wednesday morning.
“I lost my wife August 10th and now I have to play mom and dad,” said one man at the news conference.
Family member after family member took the podium to speak out against what they said are unnecessary deaths.
“What the people take for a few dollars, they sell these press pills for five, 10 dollars. It’s not worth it. Their life is way more important,” said Jevaughdria Mabry, a relative of an overdose victim.
“It’s just gotten out of control. We are losing too many good people, too many young people,” said Paula Perry, the mother of an overdose victim.
Dr. Clark said the number of homicides and overdose deaths is alarming.
“We have had 140 homicide deaths this year, surpassing 2020. We have had 248 overdoses this year, with many cases still pending toxicology results,” he said.
He said all of this year’s overdose deaths, except for about 30, were fentanyl-related.
“His friend at the time came into the home where he was and bought him laced pills and told them it was better than what he had,” said Vereta Lee, another mother of an overdose victim.
“Everything is being adulterated with fentanyl,” said Dr. Clark.
These families believe more needs to be done.
“Why are those perpetrators getting away with murder? is the question we need to ask law enforcement. I want all of my children’s cases to be investigated as if they were murdered with a bullet,” said Pamela Rivas, the mother of three overdose victims.
Dr. Clark said this issue goes beyond demographics, and it’s going to take the entire community to fix it.
“We’ve got to limit the supply chain, if you do that then the folks that have substance abuse problems will have limited areas in which they can get these drugs,” Clark explained.
He also mentioned that fentanyl could soon make its way into other drugs like marijuana.