BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- Halfway through the year east Baton Rouge is on pace to pass last year’s fatal overdose count at a current number of 145 deaths. The number of opioid overdoses has skyrocketed, and it’s a grim reality for the EMS professionals who tend to these calls.
“A lot of the people we’re seeing are young people with whole lives ahead of them it’s just such a waste, it is so hard on the families,” said Mike Chustz a paramedic, and spokesman for EMS
For the families and those seeking help Louisiana 211 has launched a first of its kind opioid crisis referral and crisis texting program providing resources in just seconds. CEO of Louisiana Association of United Ways, Sarah Berthelot says it’s about leveraging technology to make access to healthcare easier.
“We have built a platform that where it’s a semiautomatic reaction that provides a wide range of resources based on where you live and what you’re looking for,” said Berthelot.
This resource is for those seeking helping and their families who care about them, the 24-hour service is also confidential.
“People are feeling vulnerable and for those at risks of opioid misuse the stressors of the past year, make it even tougher” said Berthelot.
Anyone in Louisiana can text the word OPIOID to 898-211 for confidential help and connection to resources.
Users of this program will be prompted to text their zip code after the initial text so that the information provided is in or near the zip code they’ve entered.
Following that message, a text tailored with options for whoever has the current need will be sent.
Providing equitable access to help and resources is the goal for the statewide team.
For more information people are encouraged to visit Louisiana211.org.