Keller: Drug overdose deaths strike region

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Orleans is known as one of the murder capitals of the country.

However, for the first time, last year the accidental drug overdose deaths in New Orleans were 211, which outnumbered the 174 murders.

If that doesn’t get your attention, maybe Dr. Christy Montegut’s article a few weeks ago in this newspaper will. It’s reported that in a little over half of this year, St. John Parish had six accidental drug overdose deaths.

At this rate, we could possibly reach 10 or 12 by year’s end. The epidemic is attributed to the increase in the abuse of heroin and other opioids.

To stress the point of how we are losing the drug war, last week I spoke at a drug treatment facility. With 24 men in a meeting who were seeking help for their addiction, I asked, “How many of you have known someone who died of a drug overdose?

Twenty-two men raised their hands.

“How many of you overdosed on drugs, but with immediate help, recovered?”

Eight men raised their hands.

“How many of you really wanted to die?”

No hands were raised.

I then proceeded to tell them that regardless of the treatment center you go to, the first thing the counselor will tell you is that drugs aren’t the problem, but the symptoms of the problem.

The bottom line is that you have to recognize the symptoms and correct them in order to solve the problem.

What can we, as a community, do?

Talk to family members about the problem and reach out to anyone in the neighborhood you think might have a problem. It’s important for all of us to let people know we care.

I’m reminded of what I heard years ago: People don’t care how much you know, until they see how much you care.

If you have any questions or comments, please write Harold Keller at Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call 985-652-8477 or e-mail