NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana – The number of newborn babies who have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in Louisiana has tripled since 2008, mostly due to the massive rise and popularity of heroin being trafficked into the state through the U.S. southern border.
The state’s Department of Child and Family Services announced that it saw an unprecedented 1,512 cases where newborns had been exposed to drugs or alcohol during their mothers’ pregnancy. Compare that to 2008, which saw a total of 569 of these same cases.
Heroin use in the state, along with opioid-related prescription pain killers, have skyrocketed in the state. Over 6,000 people have died from drug overdoses between 2004 and 2014, the majority of which were tied to heroin or opioid use.
Regional directors with Child and Family Services told NOLA.com that they’ve never seen these kinds of numbers for newborns impacted by drug usage before.
“It’s just exploded,” Regional Director Denise Evans told NOLA.com. “I started working here in 1993, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Louisiana is not the only state with a heroin crisis.
In fact, during the 2016 presidential election, President-Elect Donald Trump campaigned heavily on the issue of a drug crisis particularly in Midwest states because of the booming business of the Mexican drug cartels in the region.
In Louisiana, multiple cartels have gained ground, mostly in the heavily populated areas of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge’s drug trade is primarily supplied by the Sinaloa Cartel, while New Orleans is shared between the Gulf, the Beltra-Leyva Organization, Los Zetas, and the Sinaloa Cartels.
Back in 2015, Breitbart News reported on the expansion of the cartels to increase their revenues through trafficking and selling heroin as marijuana became less profitable.
The increase of opium poppy cultivation by the cartels correlates directly with the spike of heroin-related deaths in Louisiana and across the country.
In 2015, heroin surpassed cocaine and methamphetamine as the number one drug threat to the country, Breitbart News reported.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.