East Baton Rouge Parish had a total of five fatal heroin overdoses last year; thus far this year, the parish has seen 11 suspected heroin deaths. For all intents and purposed, the fatal injection of the street narcotic seems to be growing into the local murder weapon of choice, for those intent to commit the foul deed.
In the most recent alleged case of this brand of modus operandi, a 24-year-old man is accused of purposely overdosing his 19-year-old girlfriend — just one sign of the reemergence of this highly addictive opiate in south Louisiana.
The scene of the alleged crime was the young woman’s own home in Baton Rouge where the suspect injected the drugs into the victim before she died of a heroin overdose.
The suspect was arrested under a law that enables authorities to charge someone with murder for distributing or dispensing an illegal drug proven to be the direct cause of the user’s death. It is a difficult case to make, claims the local district attorney, but they have proven the second degree murder case to juries in the past.
Incredibly, heroin has taken over as a cheaper alternative to pain prescription pills, which have been increasingly targeted by authorities in a crackdown on so-called “pill mills.”
The local coroner who has examined the victims opines that the current brand of street heroin bought on the corner these days is more potent than in the past. He noted that some folks out of ignorance are injecting the same quantity — three times the old strength and dying on their own. This is one of the reasons the district attorney says the case is a hard road to hoe.
An East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said detectives seized 21.6 grams of heroin in 2012. That number has soared to 122 grams seized so far this year. Both the prosecutors and the skilled defense counsel have a lot of work in store for them.
The Advocate, “Heroin called new drug of choice for being cheaper, yet stronger” Ryan Broussard and Jim Mustian, Aug. 31, 2013