Louisiana ranks 10th in the country for Opioid abuse. Opioids are anything from Oxycodone and Morphine which are typically used to treat pain. More recently we’re seeing people switch out from pain pills to harder and more drugs, specifically Heroin. I’ll take you through the life of an addict and the every day men and women who fight this dangerous drug effecting your loved one.
If you walked past him in the grocery store or shared a quick, “hi, how are you?,” you’d never know just by looking at him the battle 22 year old Stephen Barnett has been fighting. Although he’s in the military, Stephen hasn’t seen combat. His warfare is within him. His battle, addiction.
He’s one of the thousands who’ve fallen victim to a life that spiraled out of control because of Heroin. This is his second bout with recovery. He’s not doing it for his mother, or his little sister, or even for his father. He says he had no other option, “I was using so much Heroin that it was enough to kill anybody and if I had gone out there I know I wouldn’t have slowed down, I would have been dead in a matter or weeks if not days.”
According to DEA Special Agent Brad Byerley with the Baton Rouge division, “approximately 52,000 [people] died in 2015 from overdose, 33,000 died from Opioid overdoses that’s 63 percent.”
He says this epidemic stems directly from Opioid use, saying Heroin is cheaper and much more readily available. A scary statistic according to Byerley says, “Louisiana for example per 100 people has 111 prescriptions just to put things in perspective so we have more prescriptions in this state than we have people.”
And this epidemic is not discriminating. Byerley says we’re seeing heroin in every neighborhood, it’s in the inner cities, the impoverished low income neighbor hoods, it’s in the upper, middle, and low income classes. Worst of all it’s hitting teens and adults alike.