- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark says Baton Rouge is on track to see heroin deaths reach record numbers this year.

Shane Evans, the Coroner’s Office chief of investigations, tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1LyTIOY) the capital city has already confirmed 24 heroin-related deaths in 2015, and three more are pending from the past 10 days.

Evans says he has seen two young women die from heroin overdoses in the past three days.

The first was in a treatment facility where someone brought in heroin and gave it to her. The other woman was pregnant.

Heroin deaths in Baton Rouge rose dramatically between 2012 and 2013, going from five deaths the first year to 35 deaths the second. Clark attributed it to an influx of heroin dealers coming to Louisiana because it had weaker penalties for heroin dealing and more people looking for heroin on the streets because it became more difficult to get a prescription for opiate pain medications from a doctor. That difficulty was the result of new a monitoring program that allowed doctors to see what prescriptions a patient was getting from another doctor.

Heroin deaths dipped slightly last year but are already high for 2015. Clark said he is unsure why Baton Rouge experienced the decline in heroin deaths last year. Heroin deaths, he added, tend to be more common during autumn.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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