Addiction in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana has a rich history, culture, and blend of people. However, this is often eclipsed by the droves of college students and young people flocking to the city to have a memorable night of partying, drinking, and trouble. While this seems like a good time to many tourists, they are often blind to what is going on with the people who live there. New Orleans is not only one of the biggest party cities, but one of the most violent. There is a vicious cycle of drug abuse, dealing, and taking over turf. Tragically, the trauma that these young people go through in New Orleans actually makes them more likely to abuse drugs in the future.
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Heroin Killing More in New Orleans Than Ever Before
New Orleans is a city of indulgence to many. Naturally, with the growth of the opioid epidemic, those indulgences have grown as well. In 2015, there were 92 deaths from drugs across the city. In 2017, there were 219. A majority of these deaths, 76%, involved some opioids in some way. Cocaine, was involved in 116 deaths, and fentanyl was present in 87 deaths, up from 48 the previous year. This is especially dangerous when the most common drug to cut with fentanyl, heroin, has been deemed “a public health crisis” by New Orleans Coroner, Dr. Jeffrey Rouse.
The presence of fentanyl is actually a large reason for the current opioid crisis our nation finds itself in. Dealers use the drug to cut with heroin to keep costs down. However, their equipment is not accurate enough to measure the drugs out, so many who deal fentanyl are selling people fatal doses. As fentanyl, an opioid 100 times stronger than morphine, is becoming more prevalent, more people are dying from overdose. This is especially true in a place like New Orleans, where heroin use was already more prevalent per capita than a majority of other cities.
In 2017, there were 219 deaths by accidental drug overdose.
2017 saw the greatest number of overdoses that involved fentanyl, an increase from 48 the previous year.
There were 175 homicides in 2016. That was the first year that more people died by accidental drug overdose than murder.
Drugs and Homicide, A Vicious Cycle in New Orleans
Children in New Orleans are around a lot of tragedy growing up. Excessive deaths from drugs, homicides, and accidental causes ring through the city. These experiences create adverse childhood experience (ACEs). These ACEs add up to a score and, though it isn’t an exact science, the higher this score, the more likely someone will turn to drug abuse or develop some kind of mental health disorder. This environment in New Orleans has caused a vacuum of children being sucked into the same life of drugs and violence.
In 2017, there were 157 confirmed murders, a fall from the previous year’s 175. Unfortunately, despite the decline of murders in New Orleans deaths by drug use have climbed. 2016 was the first year that death by drugs were higher than murders in New Orleans.
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Finding Help in New Orleans
While there are plenty of options for recovery in a city like New Orleans, the small environment may make you feel trapped. Going through the same streets, meeting up with the same people, and even experiencing the same sounds and smells can make changing your lifestyle feel impossible.
If you, or someone you know, suffer from addiction, perhaps the best thing you can do is make the decision to leave the place where the addiction was born. If that seems hard, you don’t know how, or you don’t know where to go, try reaching out to a dedicated treatment provider. They can help you determine the best place to seek recovery.