Gov. Edwards proclaims July 28, 2021 as Opioid Crisis Awareness Day

July 28, 2021, has been proclaimed Opioid Crisis Awareness Day in Louisiana.
July 28, 2021, has been proclaimed Opioid Crisis Awareness Day in Louisiana.(WAFB)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Opioid overdoses have skyrocketed over the last several years, particularly the last two years.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is using his proclamation to bring awareness to addiction and the number of loved ones in Louisiana struggling right now.

“I’ve been here for nine years and this is the highest percentage of opioid users we’ve had,” said Emily Tilley, clinical director of the O’Brien House.

Just before the pandemic, Louisiana had the largest increase in opioid overdoses in the country. And right now, the trend continues to be moving upward.

Tilley wants people to know how important it is to be aware.

“It’s very important. Um, I believe opioids is like the silent killer because people think taking prescription drugs is not harmful but that’s how it starts,” explained Tilley.

The O’Brien House offers several treatment plans for addicts seeking help, such as a 90-to-120-day program, intensive outpatient services, veteran support groups, and perhaps most importantly, a family support group.

“Because the family is in recovery, too, not just the addicted person,” added Tilley.

In 2020, Louisiana was the top state in drug overdose growth during the pandemic. And with the rising number of cases, Tilley hopes that we won’t see another lockdown.

According to Tilley, the lockdowns only made things worse for those who desperately needed that in-person support.

“There was nowhere else for them to go because everything was locked down, so a second lockdown is definitely going to be a huge hindrance to those people that are in recovery or those people that are looking for treatment,” noted Tilley.

And with opioid-related fatalities outpacing firearm and motor vehicle deaths in Louisiana, Edwards has declared July 28, 2021, as Opioid Crisis Awareness Day in Louisiana.

“As a social worker, I want to be able to help those who can’t help themselves. And you know, resources are out there. You just have to want it,” said Tilley.

To reach the O’Brien House, call (225)-344-6345.

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