1 person dying from fentanyl poisoning every two days in St. Tammany

Published: Feb. 12, 2023 at 1:50 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 13, 2023 at 3:44 PM CST
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ST. TAMMANY PARISH (WVUE) - Since the beginning of February, the St. Tammany Parish coroner says one person died from fentanyl poisoning every two days.

It’s a situation that the coroner’s office says is getting worse.

“This ain’t your granddad’s marijuana (sic),” said Deputy Coroner Robert Stigillito. “It may end up killing you.”

Three deaths this week followed three people dying last weekend of suspected opioid overdoses in a 24-hour span. The most recent three victims were men in their 30s from all walks of life.

One died Monday in unincorporated West St. Tammany near Madisonville, and the other two men died in the North Shore village of Lacombe.

In St. Tammany, 140 people died of fentanyl poisoning last year. Officials say that number could double at the current rate.

MORE: Three dead in 24 hours from apparent drug overdoses in St. Tammany Parish

St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston says the overdoses are 100% preventable.

“Although toxicology reports will take some time, all three of these deaths are very likely due to opioid overdoses,” Preston said. “Our office and agencies around the country are finding the toxic opioid Fentanyl in many other street drugs.”

Fentanyl is used in combination with other drugs, sometimes mimicking the look of familiar narcotics like Percocet, Adderall, and Xanax.

“I wouldn’t take one tablet if it didn’t come from a licensed pharmacy. You don’t know what you’re getting off the street,” said Dr. Malcom Armstrong with Mandeville Pharmacy.

Narcan is being used now more than ever to counteract the deadly effects of fentanyl. You can find Narcan at most local pharmacies with a prescription.

Preston advises anyone with addiction problems seeking help should call 998.

A support group for families of victims of fentanyl overdoses will hold its first meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the Safe Haven Facility. For more information, contact the coroner’s office.

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