NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— City officials sounded the alarm just weeks ago about a silent killer- fentanyl.
And today reinforcing that message was Orleans Coroner Dr. Dwight McKenna, “We’re sounding the alarm to parents, to young people to everybody who will listen to tell you about the dangers of this drug, we’ve never seen anything like this deadly opioid.”
To give you an idea of the problem, McKenna says that the incidence of deadly overdose in the city is twice that of the homicide rate. It turns out the alarming rate of fentanyl usage carries over in the drug treatment facilities
According to Matthew Engler, Executive Director of Townsend Recovery/Avenues at Townsend, “Probably 90% of the people I have in the treatment center today are being treated for fentanyl addiction. Probably the most common thing I see are people who come into treatment, who believe they’re using heroin, and when we test their urine and provide back the result, almost without fail it’s fentanyl.”
The city’s health department is providing narcan to all first responders and and even conducting training to citizens in an effort to save lives and Dr. McKenna offers a cautionary note.
“Young people, if your going to use drugs, and I don’t want you to use drugs, but if you’ve made the decision you better be doggone sure that what you’re buying or what you’re doing has not been mixed with fentanyl or you’re not going to wake up,” said McKenna.
The New Orleans Health Department conducts bystander response training that teaches CPR, stop-the-bleed, and overdose reversal. Participants will learn how to identify and reverse an overdose using naloxone (aka Narcan), the only medication to reverse an opioid overdose. Those who take the course will take home a free sample of naloxone.
The Narcan distribution sites in Orleans are available at these fire stations:
• Station 1: 2920 Magazine St
• Station 29: 317 Decatur St
• Station 36 5401 Read Blvd
• Station 40: 2500 General De Gaulle Dr.
Anyone in the hospitality business or faith-based organizations who would like to hold a training session can contact Dana Wilkosz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-444-3376.