Three recent overdose deaths shock Avoyelles Parish

Coroner says deaths are not due to 'tainted' drugs

Three recent deaths from drug overdoses has shocked Avoyelles Parish. Dr. L.J. Mayeux, parish coroner, said the deaths “appear to be straight overdose deaths” and not a result of “tainted” drugs circulating in the parish.

He said lab tests to determine the type of drug are pending. In all three cases, the drugs used were pills -- not injections or smokable substances.

Two of the overdoses occurred together in Fifth Ward. The other overdose victim died about a week later in Marksville.

“There is no connection between the first deaths and the most recent one,” Mayeux said.

‘FOLLOWS A TREND’

While three deaths in a short period of time causes community concern, Mayeux said it actually “follows a trend we have been seeing over the last three years. This not a particularly sharp spike in deaths. The sad fact is there are a lot of people doing drugs and so we have a lot of people overdosing on drugs.”

Mayeux said a potentially lethal problem with drug use occurs when the person needs to take more of the drug to get the “high” he felt when he first started using.

“They don’t realize the body can only metabolize so much of a drug,” he said. “It’s like pushing a pencil on a table. You can only push the pencil so far before it falls off the table.”

Mayeux said the lab results on the first two deaths should be reported within two weeks. The lab results on the most recent death should be back a week later.

The deaths have been mourned and discussed on social media.

One man said the person who sold the drugs should be found and prosecuted in connection with the deaths.

While these deaths are not related to the synthetic marijuana epidemic in the parish, Mayeux said the use of “mojo” is a serious problem.

Hospitals continue to receive many cases related to synthetic marijuana use.

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