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Mayor's Press Releases

Posted on: January 22, 2024

Mayor Broome Announces Reduction in Overdose Deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish

Baton Rouge, LA – January 22, 2024 – Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announces a milestone in the ongoing battle against drug overdoses in East Baton Rouge Parish. For the second consecutive year, the parish has seen a reduction in overdose deaths and non-fatal overdoses. The collaborative efforts between the East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office, Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD), Capital Area Human Services, the Bridge Center for Hope, the EBR Coroner's Office, EBR Sheriff's Office, H&E Equipment Services, and others, have been instrumental in this success.

EBR Overdose Data
According to data from the EBR District Attorney’s Office, there has been a 17.05% reduction in non-fatal overdoses from 2021 to 2023. According to data available on the EBR Coroner’s website, there has been an 8.68% reduction in fatal overdoses (pending final toxicology results) during that same time. While these reductions are significant, continued efforts are needed to further reduce overdoses to levels that existed prior to the advent of fentanyl and the opioid crisis.  

When You Are Ready
Central to these reductions are the initiatives under Set Free Indeed Ministry's flagship programs When You Are Ready and Peers on Point, initially funded by Mayor Broome’s administration. Launched in 2020, When You Are Ready, led by Tonja Myles and her team of Peer Support Specialists, focuses on visiting locations most affected by overdoses. The When You Are Ready team is informed and equipped with relevant overdose data provided by the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit. To date, the program has touched over 350 locations, distributed 1,500 Narcan kits and fentanyl testing strips, distributed 17,000 treatment and resource information materials, provided 300 mental health and addiction tool kits for faith-based organizations, and provided $30,000 in funeral costs to families.

Mayor Broome said, "The success of these programs is a testament to what we can achieve when we work together. The reductions in overdose deaths in our community are not just numbers; they represent lives saved, families kept whole, and a community on the path to healing and strength."

For more information about the When You Are Ready program and its initiatives, please visit www.whenyouarereadybr.com.

Peers on Point
In 2023, we launched Peers on Point, a collaborative initiative with the Baton Rouge Police Department offering real-time support in the immediate aftermath of overdose incidents. This program provides immediate transport to treatment centers, family support, and consistent follow-up with those affected by addiction.

Tonja Myles, with her military background, has been pivotal in the success of these programs, bringing precision, efficacy, and empathy to the operations. Her team's efforts extend beyond the programs, as they share their expertise and resources with other nonprofit and community groups across the parish.

Long-term Opioid Strategy
We are expanding our opioid abatement strategies to address co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders; addressing the needs of pregnant or parenting women and their families; creating and supporting school-based prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery programs; supporting workforce development for addiction professionals; and providing connections to care for people who have or who are at risk of developing an opioid use disorder and any other mental health and substance abuse disorders.

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