ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - North City Park Boulevard is the street where Alexandria Police said Lillie Harvey was found unresponsive last Friday. They received a tip that Harvey and another person were lying on the ground.
Source: NBC News
Police said the two chose the spot to use what they thought was just heroin, but turned out to be heroin laced with Fentanyl. In an unusual move, Alexandria Police charged their alleged dealer Kendrick Davis, 35, with her murder.
"If we can prove the dope any individual distributed on our streets contributed to the death of another human being, we're going after them with murder charges," said Chief Loren Lampert. "If you sell heroin with Fentanyl in it in Central Louisiana, we are coming after you with second degree murder. We will track down the vermin."
According to Chief Lampert, the use of opioids is becoming an epidemic in Rapides Parish. In fact he said he's noticed an uptick of deaths due to heroin.
"38 deaths parish wide, and 14 in Alexandria last year,” explained Chief Lampert. “So far this year we've had 30 overdoses and two deaths."
Part of the reason is Fentanyl.
"Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid, and traditionally it's used in patches for people who have cancer," explained Dr. David Holcombe, Regional Administrator and Medical Director for Central Louisiana.
Dr. Holcombe joined the Chief and other law enforcement from around the parish at a press conference on Monday. It was there they explained their reasoning behind Davis’s arrest and delved deeper into the dangers of the synthetic drug.
Dr. Holcombe said Fentantyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
"So what's happening is it's being put in heroin,” said Dr. Holcombe. “And even if there's a minute amount, people will take the heroin, think they will just get high, and they die."
So they're taking action. The first step is making the dealers responsible.
"The whole time we were praying that this young lady would survive, but knowing that if she didn't we would have to charge this individual,” said Chief Lampert.
The arrest for murder has triggered a strong response on social media.
Steve Besson wrote: "Anyone caught dealing this poison should get a life sentence! I guarantee that would make someone think long and hard about the risk.”
But, Lahrie Owens wrote: "I worry this is enabling a huge problem with failure to accept one's responsibility and shifting the blame."
Despite mixed opinions, APD is adamant they will continue bring these charges and they have the full support from the District Attorney's Office.
"When the file gets to the District Attorney's Office, we're going to prosecute it as vigorously as we possibly can,” said Phillip Terrell, District Attorney.
Chief Lampert also told us the other victim from Friday has now been released from the hospital.
Meanwhile, Lillie Harvey's family released this statement about her death:
"if you knew Lillie Camille Harvey you knew love. Her family doesn't want her death to mean defeat. Instead, we hope it will be used as a means of awareness to a community plagued by addiction. We want the public to know that because of her death a foundation will be created that will seek to empower those looking for help."