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Heroin seizures in Baton Rouge at higher levels than last year

Police have reported a rise in the amount of heroin they are seeing in southern Louisiana, particularly in the Baton Rouge area. This is highlighted by recent criminal charges filed against a 24-year-old man from Denham Springs, Louisiana, who allegedly injected his 19-year-old girlfriend with a dose of heroin that killed her. Though a district attorney has said that such a case is hard to make, it has been done in the past. The 24-year-old was charged with second-degree murder. The charge was allowed under a law that gives authorities the ability to accuse someone of murder if they are suspected of distributing an illegal drug that contributed to someone's death.

If what authorities are reporting is true, heroin use is truly on the rise. In East Baton Rouge Parish, there were five fatal heroin overdoses in 2012. This year, there have already been 11 and there are still three months left in the year. A spokesperson for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said that last year, only 21.6 grams of heroin were seized. This year, more than 120 grams have been seized. The Baton Rouge Police Department has also reported a major increase in heroin seizures over last year - from 96.1 grams in 2012 to 198.9 so far this year. Experts believe the sudden increase in heroin usage is due to a crackdown on prescription pain pills.

One of the problems with the return of heroin is that many people are returning to the drug after a hiatus that may have been spent either in a rehabilitation program or using prescription drugs. Regardless of which, those that begin using heroin again are using doses they have in the past. The potency is reportedly three times higher than it has been in the past, meaning that the same dosage volume is much more likely to cause an overdose. Authorities are working hard to tackle this problem and, according to reports, have arrested five people and indicted them on drug charges in August.

Source: The Advocate, "BR homicide case highlights heroin resurgence" Ryan Broussard and Jim Mustian, Aug. 31, 2013

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