LAFAYETTE PARISH, La. (KLFY) — Fentanyl deaths are skyrocketing in Lafayette Parish, and local law enforcement officials fear the numbers will continue to spike.
More than 60 people have died from fentanyl overdoses since January 1, 2022, according to statistics from the Lafayette Parish Coroner’s Office.
Duson Police Chief Kip Judice says if the trend continues, over 200 people could die from overdosing on fentanyl by the end of this year, setting a new record.
“We never expected to see 200 deaths in Lafayette Parish in one calendar year. We’re going to get there. If things don’t change and don’t change quickly, we’re going to get to that number, and that’s scary,” Chief Judice said.
He says it only takes about three grains of fentanyl to kill.
The chief adds they receive calls weekly for fentanyl overdoses.
“This past weekend, we received a call for service, a man with a machete attacking some dogs. When we were able to get to the guy, our determination was that he was not upset at the dogs. He was not mad. He loved the dogs. It was a fentanyl overdose. He had taken some fentanyl, and it altered his state. He thought those dogs were evil because he was on fentanyl,” Chief Judice explained.
This graph shows how much fentanyl deaths have risen in the last decade in Lafayette Parish alone. In 2009, there were around 30 overdose deaths. In 2022, law enforcement expects the number to reach over 200.
Chief Judice says if you think fentanyl overdoses will only affect constant drug users, you’re wrong.
“It can be in heroin. It can be in cocaine. It can be in methamphetamine. It can be in marijuana. They’re using it in vapes today,” he told News Ten.
He says if you do survive a fentanyl overdose, the consequences can affect you for the rest of your life. He’s seen some cases where the survivors are left in a vegetative state.
He encourages anyone with drug addiction to seek help.
“It’s hard. No one signed up for life and said, ‘This is going to be easy,’ but it’s so much better than death. We just have to find a way to get these people to this other side,” the chief said.
The Louisiana Legislature is introducing bills to fight this opioid epidemic. A bill is being presented in the Louisiana Senate on Wednesday to make distributing fentanyl a crime of violence.