04/16 - Opiates & the Bayou State | Louisiana Public Square | LPB
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Video Playlist:

Play Button  Full Program - Full Program
Play Button  The 10 Percent - Dr. Louis Cataldie, an addictionologist, says about 10 percent of Americans are susceptible to opiate addiction.
Play Button  What it takes to get better - Addiction is a disease with biological, psychological, social and spiritual components. They all need to be treated to get over addiction according to Dr. Louis Cataldie.
Play Button  Medically Assisted Treatment - There are several medications to help with the biological component of addiction Dr. Louis Cataldie says.
Play Button  The Kiss of Death - Dr. Louis Cataldie says some opiate users become addicted because their body reacts uniquely to the drug.
Play Button  Effects of the Stigma - Chelsea Rainwater with No Overdose Baton Rouge explains the real impacts of the stigma surrounding heroin users.
Play Button  Black and White - Dr. Beau Clark, the coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish, sees addicts and dealers as two separate groups of people.
Play Button  The 12 Steps - Former drug user Travis Weisbrod says the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous work for those who really try.

04/16 - Opiates & the Bayou State

How is Louisiana tackling this serious addiction epidemic?

Deaths from drug overdoses have jumped in nearly every community in the United States, driven largely by an explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin. Heroin-related deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish reached a record high this year even after the state Legislature increased penalties for use of the drug. And opioid arrests have risen dramatically in Shreveport over the last two years.

So, how is Louisiana tackling this serious addiction epidemic? And what more needs to be done? Is it a criminal justice issue or a matter of public health? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Opiates and the Bayou State” Wednesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD and in New Orleans on WLAE.

Our panelists are:
• Dr. Rochelle Head-Dunham; Psychiatrist, Metropolitan Human Services District
• Logan Kinamore; Founder, No Overdose Baton Rouge
• Keith Stutes; District Attorney, 15th Judicial District, Lafayette
• Victor White, Sr.; Counselor, Cenla Community Awareness Program, Pineville

The program also features interviews with Chaunda Allen Mitchell, Ph.D., Director of Drug Policy for the Office of the Governor; Beau Clark, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner; Chelsea Rainwater with No Overdose Baton Rouge; and representatives and clients from St. Christopher’s Addiction Wellness Center.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and television journalist, Bob Courtney, host the program.

Our Panelists:

My story is the story of hundreds, thousands of parents. My 37 year old son has been “under the radar” for a week. He texted me last Sunday to tell me he had no money and no gas to go to work. I said I’m sorry. He’s an addict and has been one for 20 years. He checked himself into the ER to detox, no place to go, no money. He called his Dad today and says he’s getting out tomorrow and going back to work. Not sure of his drug of choice this time. He has been in every rehab in this state. Rehab, jail, in the street etc. Can’t stay sober for more than 8-10 months. A high school friend calls me today ( out of the blue) her 20 year old niece has been in jail for 3 months for drugs. My friend ask me for advice Her mom is an addict. No insurance, no family, no money. Is there any state facilities in this state? I can name 5 people that I know that have lost a son or daughter to an overdose. Over the last week when my phone rang I thought it would be someone telling me they found my son.

Posted by D. SMITH  on  04/14  at  05:05 PM

Thank you for allowing my Mother and I to participate tonight. We look forward to seeing the program tomorrow night. Lots of open discussion that was quite informative. I pray that the discussions started tonight do not end with the airing of the program. We need to push forward on educating not only the addicts, but families and our children….. Stop the Stigma, Change the Conversation, and Open your Hearts to this issue…. It could be closer to you than you care to admit…..

Posted by Mike Champagne  on  04/26  at  10:00 PM

Thank you so very much for inviting me to be involved in this program. I feel that programs like this will help to open conversations that are so necessary. I will never get my son back, but if one life is saved, my son’s death will not be in vain.

Posted by Mildred Solar  on  04/27  at  02:22 PM

I believe this is a parent problem, my Mom told me when I was young
that if you’re kid’s don’t know the difference between right and wrong by age 5 it was to late. Maybe we should look at how parent’s raise and teach their children. I think my Mom is right

Posted by Rene Vera  on  04/27  at  08:27 PM

Good evening. Ms. Tara discussed the youth who are as young as elementary age experimenting with drugs and how we need more proactive approaches. I work with an evidence based program MST that assist caregivers with being able to be the agents of change to gain skills necessary to reduce or eliminate drug use. More word needs to get out about programs like MST so that we can target our young so the the chances of them becoming adults addicted to substances is lessened. There are programs out there the schools, justice systems and medical professionals are encouraged to use these programs.

Posted by Crystal  on  04/27  at  09:59 PM

The next time you guys have a thing on heroin/Rx drug addictions, you should let me come talk from the point of view of a functional person with a chronic pain condition who is the patient no one wants.  You have no idea and neither do the “doctors” on the show.  While on a dose of opiates that would KILL anyone else, I have managed to live productively for the last 25 years while taking these meds.  I take them as directed and while there’s no doubt that after 25 years I have a physical dependence, I have never committed a crime, overdosed, gotten a DUI or anything else.  I’ve run a major company, raised a family, won a federal primary election and am now battling cancer—but no one even knows I take opiate pain meds transdermally. However, you have NO idea how badly I am treated by doctors who essentially view me as a street junkie looking to get high. Without my meds, I’d have died years ago from the infected bedsores caused by being unable to get out of bed due to severe pain—but none of that seems to matter to ANYONE. The people should hear the other side of the argument as well.

Posted by Amanda Trebiano  on  04/28  at  05:45 PM

People get addicted to a lot of things. Alot of people get lung cancer from cigarette, but no attempt to remove them from society (money is the problem). Now people get Colan cancer, their are chemicals that sit in the Colan until a trip to the bathroomis done. What chemicals gave them Colan cancer and do doctors know the chemicals. Nobody really cares (money again is the problem). I had kidney cancer and I do not know what caused it. What chemical was I addicted to. Nobody cares to find out. (Again money the problem). Nobody is ever told what gave them their cancer. But give them radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Remove the breast and disfigure the woman and that is all right. Hair is lost, but that is OK. Where is the quality of their life. Give drug addicts chemotherapy and radiqtion like cancer so someone can make money on both ends.

Posted by Wayne Guillory  on  05/01  at  12:07 PM

I disagree with editorial decision to highlight two employees of NoOverdose. I have been in AA and NA since 1978. Transferring addiction from one drug to another is not the solution.

Posted by J. Ogden Middleton  on  05/01  at  12:08 PM

An excellent story.  Sadly no mention was made that we put people in jail for doing drugs but while there, they continue to take drugs.  Law enforcement tells us they can’t keep drugs out of the jails.  Razor wire, steel bars and a building staffed by law enforcement can’t keep drugs out of the jails.
We should be asking, “You expect us to believe you are trying to keep drugs off the street but you can’t keep them out of our jails?”
Our legislature has been busy raising taxes, closing elementary schools, laying off teachers, laying off public defenders, cutting health care funding and even more cuts are planned.  Louisiana has more people in prison per population than any other state in the nation.  Shouldn’t our legislators be asking that same question because a big part of our tax dollars are spent keeping all those people in jail.
Spending money counseling drug users while allowing drugs in the jails seems a bit pointless too.
Drugs are big business for the jailers.  Releasing an unemployed drug addict makes the next arrest so much simpler and with a repeat offense we get paid to house them for twice as long as the first time.
If we do not address the question of drugs in our jails we can plan to raise more taxes, close more grade schools and build more jails.  It is big business.  2 Sheriff’s Departments and Angola are among the top 50 employers in Louisiana today and they are growing.
Another important point.  Jails are filled with criminals and sending drug users to prison is an educational experience.  A valid argument for the fact that more people are in prison today than ever before and crime continues to rise…..  With the current practices we might better call it continuing education.

Posted by B Smith  on  05/01  at  01:12 PM

I omitted a pertinent part of this story.
We have a heroin epidemic?
Our troops have been guarding the largest heroin field in the world for almost 15 years.  Before 2001, the UN reported that they produced 90% of the world supply of heroion in Kandahar Valley, Afghanistan.  In 2001, the UN reported that some people we now call terrorists, the Taliban shut that heroin production down.  Now going on year 15 and the longest war in US history, the UN reports that Kandahar regularly breaks previous annual production records.
After the 2010 troop surge, Haliburton went into Kandahar and fixed the irrigation system we built for those poor folk back in 1950.  During the surge I watched a CBS on the ground report where the lady told me the the ditches our troops were stepping across as they walked through knee high poppeys was an old irrigation system that was in terrible disrepair. After repairs, opium production surged too.
In 1979 the Russian Mafia invaded Afghanistan and tried to take over our heroin patch.  The CIA recruited Muslim Radicals in Northern Pakistan and our special forces trained and armed them.  We also armed a group called the Taliban and by 1989 the Russian Mafia retreated.  Back then we called them freedom fighters.  12 years later they shut down their heroin patch and the same year we learned that bunch were really terrorists.  Few lived to see 2002 and heroin production returned to normal.

Posted by B Smith  on  05/01  at  02:05 PM

I am watching the program on the Heroin & Opiate addiction problem in Louisiana and I have not heard anything on another contributing factor - Medicare, Medicaid and other Insurance Providers. As a disabled individual who is in chronic pain in seeking relief and what is “approved” I can receive opiates like Hydrocodone without any hesitation from the “Insurance”. However, when I try to get a low dosed transdermal patch that is designed to maintain a consistent pain relief dosage without taking oral opiates, I have an ongoing battle with the insurance over the coverage. The patches come in a four dose package that cost a little over $300 possibly more depending on the pharmacy. So I pay for them out of pocket. The other issue is dispensing preferences. While a low dose (pediatric) version of hydrocodone exists, apparently it isn’t profitable in this market to have such low doses on hand for dispensing. Because of my dislike of the effects of the opiates prescribed and the problem I am having of paying for and obtaining alternatives, I finally was approved by Insurance to see a pain management specialist. It is my hope that this Physician will offer solutions that are not opiates and the solutions will be approved by my Medicare provider. I am just one individual with specific sensitivities to Opiates dealing with Pain Management issues. I have to wonder how many other Medicare/Medicaid recipients don’t even fight and take the larger dosed Opiates that are approved for prescription leading to prescription based addiction. It is a sad situation all around.

Posted by Dr. De'Anna Ernst  on  05/09  at  12:31 PM
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Current Topic

     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?
In 2017, Louisiana’s legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which sought to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. The bill was championed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and received bipartisan support including from community and business leaders. Now, just over a year later, the legislation has become a political football. State Attorney General Jeff Landry and Senator John Kennedy, both Republicans considering a run against Edwards in 2019, suggest that the reform package is a failure. They cite murders committed by two inmates released since the Act’s implementation.

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended? Has the legislation put more residents in harm’s way or are plea deals part of the problem?

Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Revisiting Reform” Wednesday, September 26 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.

Our panelists are:
• E. Pete Adams, Executive Director, La. District Attorneys Association
• Alanah Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana & Justice Reinvestment Task Force
• Andrew Hundley, Louisiana Parole Project
• Sec. Jimmy LeBlanc, La. Department of Corrections

The program features interviews with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry; Rep. Terry Landry, D- New Iberia, with the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Council; Deputy Assistant Secretary Natalie Laborde, with the Louisiana Department of Corrections; and Stephanie Riegel, editor of the Baton Rouge Business Report.

LPB CEO, Beth Courtney and professor Robert Mann with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

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