The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner is calling for a "preemptive strike" against three new deadly drugs that have made their way to the parish, none of which have any medical purpose.
Two new opioid substances and one psychoactive substance were found in a recent toxicology report from an overdose death, said Coroner William "Beau" Clark, which means the harmful drugs are in this area.
The three drugs are: Furanyl Fentanyl, an opioid similar to fentanyl; U-47700, called "pink" and "pinky" on the street that is an opioid-like substance; and Etizolam, a novel psychoative substance. All are deadly.
The drugs involved are not necessarily new, but have been manipulated into new and deadly chemical compounds, which Clark said is done to exploit temporary loopholes in current laws.
A rash of drug overdose deaths in small towns and cities across the country has caused autho…
"We had been following those drugs on a national level, and we have now had a death in East Baton Rouge parish," Clark said.
He said these drugs are particularly worrisome because they are manufactured purely for people who are struggling with addiction, as they have no medical purpose, and are often sold over the internet.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark gave a group of parents and teachers a soberi…
They are also extremely potent, he said, with the "pinky" drug having about 7.5 times the potency of morphine. Etizolam can cause death with just one tablet, and Furanyl Fentanyl can be fatal in even very low dosage, according to the coroner's office.
"These drugs have no medical use whatsoever, the only intent is to sell it illicitly," Clark said. "If you take one dose of this powerful substance, you can be dead."
Clark has been monitoring drug overdose deaths in the past few years, especially since the heroin epidemic really hit locally in 2013. Baton Rouge’s biggest spike in heroin-related deaths came between 2012 and 2013, when the number shot up from five deaths in 2012 to 35 deaths in 2013. This year, Baton Rouge has reported 31 heroin-related deaths, and three more are pending toxicology review, Clark said.
However, there have also already been 39 non-heroin overdose deaths this year and three are also pending, Clark said, and the majority of those were from opiates. Those numbers are similar to overdoses from 2015, but Clark said he wouldn't compare years until 2016 is officially over.
Three days before Christmas, John Allen Smith and his girlfriend decided to shoot up heroin …
Though these three new drugs were confirmed through toxicology, they have not specifically been found by the Baton Rouge Police Department's narcotics team or the East Baton Rouge Sheriff Office's narcotics detectives. Both agencies said they are on the look out for them.
Logan Kinamore, the executive director of No Overdose Baton Rouge, said he thinks the coroner's decision to alert people about these new drugs, and how deadly they are, is a smart move.
"Attacking these situations from a public health standpoint is the best way to preserve people's live and prevent overdose deaths," Kinamore said.