Spike in Fentanyl-related deaths elsewhere has Baton Rouge officials concerned

The Advocate - A rash of drug overdose deaths in small towns and cities across the country has caused authorities and public health officials to raise the alarm about a potent synthetic painkiller potentially raising the stakes amid the nation's ongoing opiate crisis: Fentanyl.

Alarming numbers of overdose deaths in Orleans and Jefferson parishes linked to fentanyl -- a synthetic opiate painkiller increasingly popular on the black market -- led federal Drug Enforcement Agency officials to warn the public at a briefing in New Orleans in August. At that point, coroners in those two parishes were already reporting almost twice as many deaths linked to fentanyl as in all of the previous year.

But so far, the Baton Rouge area has been largely spared the dramatic jump in deaths tied to the drug, which law enforcement agents say is usually manufactured abroad and smuggled into the country.