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Fentanyl overdoses continue to be a problem in Acadiana

Posted at 9:22 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-12 18:30:49-04

Fentanyl related deaths continue to be a problem across Louisiana, including here in Acadiana.

KATC has the message from health officials and one family's story they hope will save a life.

Dr. Tina Stefanski, Regional Medical Director for Louisiana Department of Health said, "Pills that people might be ordering online, getting from friends or acquaintances on the street in clubs thinking its Xanax or Adderall to help you study or a pain killer, but these are none of that."

It was September 16, 2021, the day Denise Konow's life changed for the worse. Konow's 24 year-old daughter, Gabrielle Konow, overdosed on fentanyl and died.

Denise Konow, Lafayette Chairperson for Millie Mattered said, "She was a person and she was a very loving, loyal, fun person."

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, a lethal dose of fentanyl is equivalent to a few grains of salt.

Fentanyl is a drug much more potent than heroin or morphine and it's incredibly addictive.

According to the Lafayette Coroners Office, in 2021 there were 137 overdoses and 101 of them contained fentanyl.

From January to May of 2022 there were 82 overdose deaths from fentanyl.

Dr. Tina Stefanski, Regional Medical Director for Louisiana Department of Health said, "Right now what we've seen the biggest increase in around the country and our community is fentanyl being put into drugs that are on the street like cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin to make it more potent. As a result of making it more potent, it's also linked an increases in overdoses. It's so strong that is suppresses your respiratory rate and someone might stop breathing. So that's how strong fentanyl is, and it's also being found now in these fake pills you can't tell the difference. So it might look like Xanax, it might look like Adderall it might look like Vicodin. It's a fake pill you can't tell the difference."

According to the Lafayette Coroners Office there is an increase in fentanyl production and easy access of counterfeit drugs, further stating 4 out of every 10 of counterfeit pills contain a deadly dose of fentanyl.