WASHINGTON (BRPROUD) — Senator Bill Cassidy says the state’s health department will be receiving $4,861,204 to improve response and prevention of fatal drug overdoses.

Funding will be coming from the Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) program, according to Cassidy.

“Louisiana’s drug overdose deaths have been hitting record highs,” said Cassidy. “We need to give first responders the tools they need to save lives.”

In a committee hearing co-led by Cassidy last month, he laid out a plan to combat surging fatal overdoses while urging Congress to pass the HALT Fentanyl Act. The act would classify fentanyl as a Schedule I drug permanently.

An estimated 100,306 fatal overdoses happened in 2021, the CDC reported in November of last year. Currently, in the Capital City, the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office has reported 173 fatal overdoses in 2022 as of Aug. 8.

To combat the issue in EBR, one million dollars were appropriated to the sheriff’s office to enforce fentanyl and human trafficking prevention.