These Louisiana Parishes are Where Opioids are Dispensed the Most
When you hear the term "opioid crisis" you probably think that's a big city problem and not much of an issue for small towns and communities in Louisiana. Not only would you be wrong in that thinking, you would be dead wrong in a lot of instances. Not only does Louisiana have an opioid issue, but it's an issue that is hitting home in many of our smaller communities and less populated parishes.
Now, let's be clear. Opioids when used as prescribed by a medical professional can be a great tool in the suppression of pain and the ability of a patient to heal. It's when these medicines are used improperly or abused that "the good the medicine does" is tarnished by the death and destruction its misuse can bring.
Not surprisingly a study in 2022 found that parishes that have lower instances of prescriptions for opioids also have lower instances of opioid abuse. This is part of the reason that so many medical professionals have opted out of prescribing these kinds of medicines, especially when there are other not-as-addictive options available.
Still, another study suggests that decreasing the amount of "pharmaceutical grade" opioids has actually given rise to the popularity of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. In fact, just three years ago synthetic opioids were found to be responsible for 82% of all opioid deaths.
So which parishes and communities in Louisiana dispense the most opioids? As you'll see it's not just New Orleans and Baton Rouge. There are many other smaller parishes and communities that are battling this issue. You can see the entire list on Stacker.com. But here are the top five parishes for opioid distribution in Louisiana.
The parish that is home to Monroe and the University of Louisiana at Monroe has a dispensation rate of 93.9 per 100 people. This rate is 37.5% higher than the state average and 116.9% higher than the national average according to Stacker.com
The parish that is home to Louisiana's Capital City, Baton Rouge has the 4th highest dispensation rate for opioids in Louisiana. Currently, East Baton Rouge Parish dispenses at a rate of 98.2 per 100 people. That figure is 43.8% higher than the state average and 126.8% higher than the national average.
Evangeline is the least populated parish in Louisiana's Top Five for opioid distribution. The numbers from Evangeline Parish are not pretty. The Stacker.com report suggests that opioids are dispensed at a 103.1 per 100 people rate. As you might imagine that's 51% higher than the state average and 138.1% higher than the national opioid dispensation rate.
Rapides Parish and it's Parish Seat, the City of Alexandria takes the number two spot in this not-so-good scenario. The heart of CENLA is also apparently the heart of opioid distribution in the middle of the state. The Stacker.com article suggested that the dispensation rate in Rapides Parish for opioids was 117.4 per 100 people. That's 71% higher than the state average and 171.1% higher than the national average.
This is certainly not a feather in the cap for the Shreveport area. The northwest corner of the state is apparently a hotbed for opioid distribution. Maybe it's because Caddo is the closest large parish to so many smaller communities and there are many great hospitals there. Regardless, Caddo hospitals and doctors dispense opioids at 96.9% above the state average and some 210.6% higher than the national average. In fact, the opioid dispensation rate in Caddo Parish is 134.5 per 100 people.
Just for comparison purposes, Lafayette Parish was #7 on this list while Iberia Parish was #10. Around the New Orleans area, Jefferson Parish was #6 and Orleans Parish was #8. Hopefully, recent changes in laws regarding opioids and the "antidote" Narcan for potential overdoses will help quell the tide of unnecessary deaths due to opioids.
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