Wednesday, September 19, 2018

St. Tammany Coroner cautions public about heroin overdoses

Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2018 | Views: 1207

St. Tammany Coroner cautions public about heroin overdoses
LACOMBE---St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston is cautioning residents about a recent and dramatic uptick in heroin-related overdose deaths.

"Yesterday, we have responded to three apparent heroin overdose fatalities," Preston said. "While it will take approximately two weeks to get final toxicology reports and it is too early to know for sure, this number of heroin fatalities in one day suggests that this may be adulterated heroin, potentially with Fentanyl or an analog.

"The public should be aware of the signs and symptoms of an opiate overdose, which include decreased level of consciousness, decreased respiratory effort, and pinpoint pupils," Preston said. "People should not hesitate to call 911 regarding any of these symptoms, and should consider having direct access to the potentially life-saving drug Narcan, which can arrest the symptoms of an overdose in many cases.

"My message to the families of addicts and to addicts themselves is that Narcan is available over-the-counter without a prescription. While Narcan is relatively expensive, approximately $140 for two doses, it is much cheaper than a funeral."

Preston said people with drug abuse problems should be aware of Project Angel, under which anyone can voluntarily surrender themselves and their supply of abused substances at any law enforcement agency; in such cases, they will not be arrested, but will be given immediate access to tools and resources that allow them to begin recovery from addiction.

Additionally, substance abuse treatment is available through the Florida Parishes Health Services Authority.