Jefferson Parish Coroner Jerry Cvitanovich says the parish is on track to exceed the 66 fatal heroin overdoses recorded in 2013, with 45 deaths already on the books this year.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports the number mirrors trends nationwide and reflects heroin's increased availability and cheaper cost.
Health authorities say users have turned to heroin in the wake of a crackdown on prescription drugs.
Though cocaine remains Louisiana's biggest drug threat, heroin moved up to second place last year, bypassing even prescription drugs. That's according to Donald Petty of the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program.
Petty says the profile of heroin abusers has changed from the 1950s and '60s, when it was found in inner cities and poorer neighborhoods. Now, he says, it is a suburban problem.
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