Kevin Seals grew up around drugs but never imagined being involved in that type of lifestyle. However, when he was 16 years old, he started smoking marijuana and from there he started dabbling in other drugs.
“For a long time it was marijuana and alcohol. I experimented with cocaine before (and) ecstasy pills. When it was a thing people were doing, I tried it but as far as what I wanted to do everyday was marijuana until opioids came,” Seals said. “I found myself in trouble after a while and I did time.”
Seals did two years in prison the first time around and about three and a half years the second time. Seals says prison doesn't work.
“One thing that has to be done: they need to push the treatment banner more,” Seals said.
Wednesday, City of New Orleans officials laid out an action plan to fight the opioid epidemic. NOPD will soon be able to administer Narcan to overdose victims. There will also be opioid counseling available and more help for overdose victims by linking them to treatment resources.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu says, “The biggest issue is to treat it like a public health threat.”
The mayor said you can’t simply throw people in jail; it’s about saving lives.
Seals agrees that saving lives is crucial especially because he just lost a friend Tuesday night.
“We were a part of each other’s support group. We lean on each. I talked to him yesterday and he died last night,” Seals said. He says his friend was going through a tough time and overdosed.
According to Landrieu, 166 people in New Orleans died last year from a drug overdose. That’s more than the number of people shot and killed in the city.
NOPD is working on a training schedule so officers will be able to administer Narcan in the field to overdose victims. Officers should have the life-saving drug on the streets within a few months.