BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – According to the East Baton Rouge (EBR) Parish Coroner, this year alone, a total of 136 individuals in the parish lost their lives to a drug-related overdose.

This tragic outcome is a worst nightmare to families who are struggling to support a loved one suffering from addiction.

The journey to recovery is often beyond challenging, for both the sufferer and their family.

When one of the individuals they love most acts out of character by lying, stealing, or perhaps even resorting to acts of violence all to satiate an addiction, family members may be so stunned and hurt that they have difficulty managing their emotions.

This emotional strain is accompanied by the difficult choices families face. They must make decisions regarding the management of their suffering loved one’s situation, weighing whether or not to call the authorities, choosing a rehabilitation facility, and figuring out when to trust what the person with the addiction is claiming.

One man whose son struggled with addiction described his feeling this way, “At five years old, my son thought he was Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He used to run around the house with an orange bandanna tied around his head, brandishing plastic weapons and fighting evil. When we look at our children with addiction, at times we see that 5-year-old and mourn the loss of a child. We would try anything to get them back.”

“My son is now a 21-year-old man,” he continued, “I will always believe that Michelangelo is lost inside of him… I can grieve this loss, but it will not help either of us if we don’t move forward. A person with addiction does not live in the past or the future; they live in the here and now. If you want to help someone struggling, you must live in the same world they do, and understand where they are coming from.”

Successful management of the emotional toll that individuals like the man mentioned above faced requires help from others.

In Baton Rouge, several branches of national organizations offer such help to local families. Some of these organizations are listed below:

Click here for additional resources related to addiction.