An Overview of Addiction in Louisiana
In Louisiana, it’s not the types of drugs that are necessarily the root of the problem – it’s the widespread availability of drugs like cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. Cocaine and its derivative, crack cocaine, remain the greatest drug threat in Louisiana. Louisiana’s other drugs of choice have been prescription drugs and methamphetamines, but drug survey participants in the state now report heroin as the number two threat, supplanting pharmaceuticals. Abuse rates have increased along with this expansion resulting in rising rates of overdose incidents and deaths.
Key Substance Abuse Issues in Louisiana
- Louisiana has the 19th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States, with 13.2 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities.
- Cocaine, in both powder-form and crack, its smokable base-form, is the primary concern of law enforcement agencies. Cocaine and crack cocaine are the leading contributors to both violent and property crime in the region.
- Heroin is viewed as one of the most significant drug problems impacting homicides in Orleans Parish.
- Drug trafficking organizations in New Orleans are increasingly switching to heroin distribution as their principle product due to increased profit margins and availability to which legislators responeded by introducing Senate Bill 87. The Bill proposes to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for heroin possession – with the intent to distribute or manufacture – from 50 years to 90 years.
- Much of the meth that is sold in Louisiana is sold in the rural northern parts of the state rather than the southern coastline. This is a rapid change from just a few years ago, where meth wasn’t more of a problem in Louisiana than in other states.
- A lot of the meth that is distributed and sold in Louisiana, however, isn’t made in the state. Rather, it is made in states, such as California or Florida, or other countries like Mexico, and then imported into Louisiana.
- Sixty-five percent of Louisiana treatment/prevention providers reported an increase in admissions for prescription drug addiction and abuse in 2013.
- Louisiana reported a substantial increase in Opana (oxymorphone) during 2013. Opana is similar to morphine and is highly addictive.
- Young adults who abuse pharmaceuticals switch to heroin when medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone are no longer readily available or become too expensive.
- Acetyl fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which is being used illicitly as synthetic heroin. It is 40 times more potent than heroin and 80 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is often used to cut heroin to increase its potency.
- Fewer people die in Louisiana due to excessive drinking, compared with the national average, according to a new CDC stud. However, Louisiana is also slightly above the national average for fatal crashes involving alcohol.
Finding Addiction Help in Louisiana
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