admin Thursday, April 11, 2024 Comments Off on FIGHTING FENTANYL

“People love to say you can’t die from smoking marijuana, but in 2024, you absolutely can.” 

Tonya Doucette, Project Trey


Trey Comeaux was a charismatic and happy kid who lived with his mother, Tonya Doucette, until he was 11 years old. At that point, he started visiting his father regularly and was given a drug by an adult. This marked the start of Trey’s downward spiral.

Tonya says she noticed a change in his behavior. He began struggling with depression and started telling his mother about some of the problematic things happening at his father’s home. Concerned for his well-being, Tonya made sure he didn’t have to go there again.

At the age of 15, Tonya found marijuana in Trey’s room and learned he had started taking Xanax. She found a treatment center for Trey, but “the beast of addiction had already taken hold and he struggled with relapses and started using other substances like codeine,” she says. A few months before he turned 18, Tonya found two bottles of codeine in Trey’s room and, because she had two younger sons to protect, kicked Trey out of the house. He eventually entered a long-term care treatment facility, was clean for 15 months, and moved back in with his mother and brothers. 


“Trey was very excited to live a drug-free life. He was doing so well. He was acting like himself again and we finally had our Trey back,” Tonya says. It was just before Thanksgiving and Trey was about to start a new job. “He was so excited about his first day that he set an alarm and he had me set an alarm, too, just to make sure he didn’t oversleep. He wanted to make a good first impression.”

Trey never woke up the next morning. On Nov. 23, 2020, Trey Comeaux overdosed and died. He made a split-second decision to take one pill that ended his life. He obtained the pill (which he believed to be roxicodone–an immediate-release form of oxycodone) from a friend. The autopsy revealed that the pill Trey took contained enough fentanyl to kill several people. Trey’s story highlights the dangers of fentanyl overdose, which affect people from all walks of life and has become a major public health concern.

What You Should Know 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid historically used to treat patients with chronic, severe pain. It’s a schedule II-controlled substance 50 times more potent than heroin. In 2022, fentanyl was responsible for 200 American deaths per day. It is the leading cause of death in Americans age 18 to 45, according to the CDC. What makes fentanyl particularly dangerous is its potency. One local SWLA billboard had a deadly dose of fentanyl next to a penny. The tiny lethal dose of fentanyl was miniscule compared to the penny. How much fentanyl is needed for an overdose? About the same as 15 grains of table salt.

One of the key aspects of the fentanyl crisis SWLA residents should understand is that overdose deaths are not limited to those who struggle with drug addiction. Individuals who may not typically abuse illicit drugs, such as college students who are using drugs like Adderall for study purposes, are at risk of accidental overdose. 

Fentanyl is often mixed with other substances like pressed pills, vapes and even vitamins, unbeknownst to the user. Mexican drug cartels typically do this because it is cheap to manufacture and a small amount goes a long way.

“We have a friend who is a pharmacist and he told me even pharmacists can’t tell with the naked eye,” says Tonya. The DEA recently found that seven out of 10 fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. In 2021, 100 people in our area died from drug overdose; that number decreased to 43 the following year. 

District Attorney Stephen Dwight says, “The availability of Narcan has been instrumental in reducing fentanyl-related deaths. We’re not seeing less drug use; we’re seeing more people being saved.” Narcan (also known as Naloxone) is a nose spray available over the counter in pharmacies like Walgreens for $44.99. The medicine is an opioid antagonist that rapidly reverses opioid overdose by attaching to opioid receptors and reversing and blocking the effects. Its availability and use among first responders have saved countless lives.

It’s important to note that after administering Narcan the individual should still seek medical attention as the effects of the drug can last as little as 30 minutes. Louisiana’s Good Samaritan Law states that a person “acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for an individual experiencing a drug-related overdose may not be charged, prosecuted, or penalized for possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law (……) if the evidence for such offenses was obtained as a result of the person’s seeking medical assistance.”

Harsh Penalties 

The first fentanyl murder case prosecuted by the district attorney’s office ended just last month with a plea agreement. Zoey Bumgarden, initially charged with second-degree murder, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and drug distribution in connection with the overdose death of Sean Khoury. Bumgarden was sentenced 


By Diana Vallette

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