BATON ROUGE – Jessika Brooks stays in one of the hotels on Airline Highway near I-12 in Baton Rouge, known as a hotspot where drug users gather. Brooks has overdosed and now carries Narcan, the fentanyl recovery medication, with her.
“It’s saved a lot of lives around here. Anybody that’s overdosed, I’ve saved,” Brooks said. “Sometimes I use Narcan, sometimes a hand and a prayer.”
Community advocate and recovery specialist Tonja Myles distributes free Narcan throughout the area.
“[Fentanyl] is being used in our communities and it’s taking out people like no other drug has,” Myles said.
She says fentanyl is a cheap synthetic opiate and is being mixed with other drugs to make them more powerful.
“We’re seeing marijuana, opioids and meth. All these drugs being laced with fentanyl,” Myles said.
153 people have already died from overdoses in East Baton Rouge Parish. Last year, it was 311.
And even though this area of Airline Highway is known for drug users, Myles says fentanyl can be found all over Baton Rouge.
“We’re seeing from the curbside to the country club, Highland Road to Hollywood Street. There are some places that are dying, but it’s all over the place.”
For emergency help for those using fentanyl, you can call the new nationwide hotline 9-8-8.