In 2018, there was an increase in overall death investigation cases, with a decrease in homicide cases.Those are just some of the findings of the 2018 East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office report.
During a news conference Friday, Coroner Beau Clark pointed out some of the key findings.
- In 2018, the coroner’s office investigated 100 homicides compared to 124 in 2017.
- There were 44 deaths related to heroin compared to 45 deaths in 2017.
- There were 58 non-heroin overdoses compared to 66 in 2017.
- There were 54 deaths related to suicide in comparison to 58 in 2017.
Clark said 2018 had an increase in the number of African American men who committed suicide.
“I’ve seen an increase in the number of suicides. It usually fluctuates usually between 45 to 55 cases. In the past years, African American males have made up about two to three of those cases. In 2018, we had 14,” Clark said.
The coroner said this follows a nation-wide trend. Clark said he has reached out to community leaders to try to figure out what is causing the increase, so it can be addressed.
Clark also talked about the increasing prescense of fentanyl, a drug he calls the next wave of the opioid epidemic.
“In 2018, I saw a one percent decrease in overdoses. Even though this is less than the previous year, I still have concern because the decrease in heroin deaths were replaced with deaths that were the result of a more powerful opioid, fentanyl,” Clark said.