Accused by state and local governments of fueling the opioid addiction crisis, Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson settled with those governments for $26B Wednesday. (Photo via Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
BATON ROUGE – With skyrocketing opioid overdose cases in the past year and half, Louisiana 211 is launching a new texting program where Louisianians can find help for their problems with opioids.
The health services hotline announced that people can now text OPIOID to 898-211 to gain access to resources and confidential help from professionals ranging from paramedics to law enforcement to mental health care providers.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, opioid overdose deaths rose 60% from 2019-2020, rising from 539 deaths to 862. With overdoses caused by synthetic opioids factored in, the total number of 2020 opioid deaths was 1,500.
Across the country, more than 93,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, a 30% rise from the year before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Louisiana 211 hopes to dampen these growing numbers.
“In Louisiana, the number of opioid overdoses is astounding. And what already was a crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Center for Health Statistics predicts Louisiana’s overdoses will rise by more than 40% this year,” Dr. Courtney Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health said in a statement. “The 211 OPIOID texting program is a key part of Louisiana’s strategy to address the opioid crisis. So many times individuals and the families who love them don’t know where to turn.”
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