LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Deaths from fentanyl overdoses have been doubling every year in Acadiana since 2018, according to statistics from the Lafayette Parish Coroner.
In 2018, 13 people died from fentanyl overdoses.
It then grew to 25 people in 2019.
Last year, that number doubled to 50.
So far in 2021, there have been 37 deaths in Lafayette Parish from fentanyl overdoses.
Local activist groups say that’s because fentanyl is now being found in nearly every drug on the streets.
“Right now fentanyl is in the Lafayette area, no doubt about it. It’s not a rumor. It is proven. We have had people die from fentanyl almost every day now,” Kady Douglas, founder of Acadiana Harm Reduction, said.
Douglas says what makes fentanyl so dangerous is that it only takes about four grains of sand worth of fentanyl to kill.
“A lot of people didn’t heed the warnings about fentanyl at first because they thought it was just a heroin problem. They thought it was just a problem of heavy addicts, but it’s actually able to touch everyone right now. It’s in all sorts of drugs,” Douglas added.
She says the amount of fentanyl circulating in Lafayette and the number of drugs its being found in is growing fast.
“Right now it’s in Xanax bars, fake Xanax bars, it’s in heroin, it’s in cocaine, it’s in some marijuana that we found,” she said.
“Typically it was found in heroin. More recently in the younger kids, they’re doing party drugs, going to prom. They’re taking a pill they think comes from the pharmacy and actually it’s a pressed pill and it contains fentanyl,” Christy Couvillier, a board member of Acadiana Harm Reduction, said.
Couvillier says she knows this first hand.
Her own son had to be put on life-support after he took a pill laced with fentanyl, but she says this drug has the potential to touch anyone in Acadiana right now. She says people need to be aware.
“You have the mom that’s taking a pill from somebody she thinks is for her nerves, and it contains fentanyl. People will take a pill thinking it’s for a back ache or something, and it contains fentanyl. It literally is affecting everybody in Acadiana, not just people that are deep in addiction,” Couvillier told News Ten.
Acadiana Harm Reduction does offer free fentanyl test strips and free Narcan to anyone in need.