The capital of, and second largest city in, Louisiana is Baton Rouge. As the capital city, it is the political hub for all of Louisiana and is also the second largest metropolitan city in the state with an ever growing population of 229 thousand people and the metropolitan area around the city, known as Greater Baton Rouge, having a population of 820 thousand.
Throughout the American South, Baton Rouge is known as a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture and growing technology center. The Port of Baton Rouge is the ninth largest port in the United States with regards to tonnage shipped.
Baton Rouge's European-American history starts in 1699 when the French explorer Sieur d'Iberville led an exploration party up the Mississippi River. While on this exploration he spotted a reddish cypress pole adorned with carcassess that marked the boundary between the Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds. They called this location "le bâton rouge" (the red stick), but the local Native American name for the area was Istrouma.
The settlement of Baton Rouge began in 1719 with the construction and establishment of a military post by the French colonists. Most settlements during this time were around New Orleans.
Since the European settlement, Baton Rouge has been governed by many different countries including France, Britain, Spain, Louisiana, The Florida Republic, the Confederate States and finally the United States. It was officially incorporated as a city in 1817 and then went on to become the Louisiana state capital in 1849.
Baton Rouge Prescription Drug Abuse Out of Control:
Death rates and overall addiction statistics from prescription drugs are increasing throughout the country and Baton Rouge is not excluded from this. The most dangerous of these drugs are the opioid analgesics which were responsible for 75 percent of pharmaceutical overdose deaths.
Opioids are synthetic opiates that are similar to heroin, both in the high felt by drug abusers and in the risks associated with them. Despite this, their use is increasing for recreational drug users. This is in part due to ease of access to them, being a lot easier and safer to obtain than street drugs, as well as the implied safety of these drugs due to their legal status and controlled creation in regulated labs.
One recent case involved a 19 year old sophomore who died after taking a combination of alcohol, Suboxone and Xanax. The combination of these three substances lead to respiratory failure due to the central nervous system getting depressed until the brain go longer relays signals to the diaphragm to move up and down. No diaphragm movement means no breathing.
Xanax is a benzodiazepine, which is a class of psychoactive drug that causes sedative hypnotic, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxing properties. Benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal as well as a relaxant before medical and dental procedures.
Suboxone is a buprenorphine, a semisynthetic opioid. It is a mixed agonist antagonist opioid receptor modulator. Buprenorphines are designed to control moderate acute pain in people who have built a tolerance up to non-opioid painkillers.
Both Xanax and Suboxone have a long list of side effects when taken by themselves, Suboxone for instance can cause respiratory failure by itself. When taken together and then adding alcohol on top of that, the risk of complications is very high and death is not uncommon when this combination of drugs is heavily abused.
Baton Rouge Officials Battle Against Cocaine and Synthetic Drug Rise:
Louisiana law enforcement in East Baton Rouge Parish are continuing to deal with the issue of illegal drug manufacturing, distribution and abuse. They are saying that cocaine and heroin continue to be the drugs with the most risk. Baton Rouge Police Department Public Information Officer Lieutenant Don Kelly said:
"According to our agents, cocaine is still our most 'violent' drug, meaning there are more violent crimes associated with this drug than others. This has been true for many years.""Heroin had completely disappeared in Louisiana for many years but seems to be returning."
Another drug is on the rise as well now, synthetic marijuana. This does not actually contain any cannabis but instead is different types of herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that have a similar, and often times much more potent, effect to marijuana. I recent raid of an Baton Rouge grocery store yielded $21 thousand in cash and 100 pounds of synthetic marijuana.
The enforcement of keeping these drugs off the streets is tough because of the constantly changing chemical composition of these drugs and the difficult process of identifying them. The illegal compounds can only be identified with State Police crime labs so enforcing the laws is a lengthy process when compared to illegal drugs that are much easier to identify. Lieutenant Don Kelly said:
"Very often once the chemicals are seized and tested they are not actually on the list of outlawed compounds, meaning they are technically legal, at least until the legislature amends the law and adds them to the list."
These drugs go by names like "25-I" or "N-Bomb" and although they are marketed as synthetic marijuana, the risks associated with them are much higher. One user took only a single drop in his nose at a festival and within 30 minutes he had had a seizure and never regained consciousness, dying after being put on life support at the Tulane University Hospital.
Baton Rouge Treatment Options:
There are 14 rehab centers in Baton Rouge, many of which have special treatment programs for people in different circumstances. Examples of such special programs are:
- DUI/DWI Programs: People who got a DUI or DWI may be required to fulfill certain requirements, these programs help you not only get through your addiction, but make sure that you meet those requirements as well.
- Pregnant Women, Postpartum Women: Treatment programs are available for women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth. Very special care is needed during these times and some centers also provide residential stay for the women during this time as well as for children who need to stay with them.