Addiction specialist discusses opioid epidemic following parish president's arrest

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NEW ORLEANS- Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Oxymorphone. Three prescription pain medications a person would typically take for acute or severe pain, like a dental procedure. 
 
The fact that all three were found in St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran's blood while driving is what some find troubling. 
 
According to a report released by the Kenner Police Department test results show the opioids were allegedly present in Cochran's system during the early morning hours of September 2nd, when the parish president was stopped and arrested. 
 
Police say the 55-year-old had "Red, glossy eyes and delayed speech." 
 
Cochran reportedly told an officer after his arrest, "Well, I guess this means I should fill out my resignation papers. Man, I should have stayed at home." 
 
"It can make a person drowsy. It can slow down reaction time. It can give a feeling of euphoria and a sense of well being," Dr. Ross DeLeonardo said. 
 
DeLeonardo is an addiction specialist at LSU Health Sciences Center. DeLeonardo says while a doctor would not typically recommend each of these painkillers at the same time, it's very possible that someone could easily have them at their disposal. 
 
"There could have been a change in medication regimen where there was overlap and so more than one of these medicines were taken or, he might have had multiple providers," DeLeonardo said. 
 
Dr. DeLeonardo says opioid abuse is an epidemic nationwide. 
 
"As a preventable cause of death, it's one of the top, if not the top. We see about 50,000 annually across the country die from overdose of an opioid or opioid like medicine," DeLeonardo said. 
 
Cochran is now out of jail due to overcrowding. He is scheduled to appear in court December 4th.  Dr.
DeLeonardo says opioid addictions could take years to overcome. But, it's something that we need to talk about. 
 
"We have the ability to help these people, it's just a matter of the will, and the resources to be able to make the treatment happen," DeLeonardo said. 
 
With treatment resources and support, those battling the addiction could once again, take control of their lives.
 
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