Opioid epidemic hits Iberville Parish, leaders work to decrease overdose-related deaths

Local News

IBERVILLE PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) — As we navigate the coronavirus pandemic, the opioid epidemic is still impacting the state and major hotspots are popping up more frequently in Iberville Parish.

“But since COVID insists the lockdowns, what we’ve seen is that the problem has only been accelerated,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry.

City and state officials have tried to cut down on drug-related deaths. Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said an uptick has been occurring in waves on the west side of the river as more people bring foreign drugs and fentanyl to the area.

“When they talk about the uptick, you get some type of heroin or some type of drugs that they bring in this community, which may be a little stronger,” he said.

Attorney General Jeff Landry said litigation with a drug manufacturing company, they thought of a unique way to settle the case.

“They asked us if we would think outside the box in order to settle a case that really wasn’t getting us and them anywhere, and so we did. And at the time, we settled for product. And we settled for almost a million dollars of naloxone product. Naloxone and Narcan are the drugs, the antidote that takes people out of [an] opioid-induced coma,” said Landry.

“Before then, we didn’t have the proper tools to be able to revive them as quickly, we had to rely on the ambulance service to get there after,” said Plaquemine Fire Department Chief Darren Ramirez.

Parish officials said they have administered nearly 2,000 doses of Naloxone in the past three years. With this product, they hoped to give people a second chance at life.

“We have saved numerous lives, but as the sheriff said, we need to stop having to use this and just get off of these drugs,” said Ramirez.

They said not everyone gets another chance.

“There’s going to be that time where 911 is not there to call, nobody’s there with anybody. And we find them, some with the needle still in their arm,” said Stassi.

They hope to not only save a life but also change a life.

“If you need some help, we will do everything we can to try to get you. We’d rather send people to rehab,” said Stassi.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, call the Louisiana Department of Health hotline at (877) 664-2248.

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