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Bad Batch' of Heroin Blamed for Four Deaths in 24 Hours in Pittsburgh

  1. ZenobiaSky
    Public health officials are sounding the alarm in Pittsburgh, Pa., after a "bad batch" of heroin likely led to at least four deaths in just 24 hours and possibly 15 over last five days. Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said the investigation is in the early stages but he has had 15 suspected heroin overdoses in his county in the last five days.

    "This is major increase in drug overdoses," said Williams, who said he usually will see about one suspected drug overdose per day, occasionally two

    Williams said some of the bags found at the scene with traces of drugs inside were labeled "Theraflu." In a few bags that were tested, Williams found traces of the drug fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic that is used for chronic pain relief and sometimes for anesthesia purposes.

    "[It's] very strong," Williams said, adding that it can be "10 to 100 times as strong a morphine."

    Williams said users are at risk because mixing fentanyl and heroin can mean an even more powerful narcotic that their body may not be prepared for.

    While fentanyl can be a legally prescribed drug, Williams said the fentanyl he found in the stamp bags would have to be manufactured illegally.

    "The fentanyl we're seeing as a powder has to be made by somebody," Williams said. "Somebody is making this somewhere in a clandestine laboratory."

    Williams said there have been periodic epidemics in the past of dangerous heroin batches called "China White," where the heroin was laced with a certain kind of fentanyl. He said in this case it was too early to tell how much fentanyl was being mixed with the heroin.

    Local government officials are attempting to alert potential users about the dangers of the drug.

    "Those who are in possession of this potent formula are in danger of losing their lives," Mayor William Peduto said in a statement. "It will kill you. The danger cannot be overstated."

    Although some of the bags used to transport the drugs were labeled "Theraflu," Williams said it was too early to know whether that was the only "brand" of heroin containing the dangerous narcotic.

    Williams said the suspected overdoses occurred in different neighborhoods in Allegheny County and that it was too early to know if it was a local epidemic or a sign of a nationwide problem.

    "For all we know it may be one major source that is mixing heroin in batches," Williams said.

    Jan. 26, 2014


  1. Impure157
    Two of those deaths were my cousin and his girlfriend, as one of those people that has a variety of reagent spot tests for drugs so I always know what I'm putting in my body (7 different reagent tests to be accurate) I'm conflicted as to how I feel about what happened. I want to say it was their own damn fault for not knowing what they were doing, but then again I've also got some seething hatred toward the people who knowingly sold fentanyl as heroin. Oh well, I guess these things just happen sometimes.
  2. sweetbebe
    I am sorry for your losses, my condolences. I understand your being conflicted about how to feel about this. Not everyone is smart enough to test their shit before using it. My guess is most people probably don't think to do that. But it is wise that you are testing your stuff to make sure you know what you're using. And I agree, it is upsetting that someone knowingly sold fentanyl as heroin. Fentanyl is very powerful and can be really dangerous especially when people don't know it's mixed in their drugs and have no idea what kind of dose they're getting.
  3. oliverslife
    Um - why kill off your buyers? I don't get it.

    I know that's just one line but I just don't have anything else. That's all I want to know?
  4. Cid Lysergic
    Killer dope attracts more customers unfortunately.
  5. Emin
    Officials are speculating this is the batch that killed actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman. RIP.
  6. sam_ham90
    What is it that makes it "bad"? I've never done heroin nor fentanyl but I would just assume it would be stronger. ... is it because it's too strong or something?
  7. sam_ham90
    ... i just read the article which explains the answer to my own question.
  8. tvedrode
    PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Seven more people have died of drug overdoses since Friday, bringing Rhode Island’s 2014 total to 45, double the usual number.
    That was the news that Health Director Michael D. Fine brought to a packed conference room at Miriam Hospital Wednesday evening, where an addiction recovery group held a Community Listening Forum on Overdose Prevention.
    Fine said that so far 28 of the dead had evidence of the powerful painkiller fentanyl in their blood, suggesting that the fentanyl-laced heroin blamed for deaths throughout the Northeast continues to circulate.
    The audience filled every one of the 165 chairs set up for the event, with a few allowed to stand and a few also turned away, as the epidemic of addiction draws growing attention in Rhode Island.
    “The energy in this room is tremendous,” said Michelle McKenzie, director of an overdose-prevention program at Miriam. “This is exactly what we need to address the crisis of overdose deaths in our community.”
    Sponsored by RICARES (Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts), the forum featured nearly 20 leaders from government, law enforcement and medicine as a “listening panel.”
    Many in the audience spoke of their experiences with addiction or the loss of loved one to overdose, and how isolated they felt. “When you have a child who’s using drugs, there’s such a stigma,” said a woman who identified herself only as Debbie and said her son died of an overdose in 2010. “You tend to try to take care of it by yourself.”
    Several people called for greater openness and political activism. Audience members also had some suggestions for the listeners, including: providing training in overdose prevention for people leaving prison, because they are at highest risk; establishing “safe injection rooms” so that people who are not ready to stop using drugs stand a better chance of surviving; providing support for families of those struggling with addiction; and fighting reductions in state funding for behavioral health programs.
    Rebecca Boss, the state’s administrator of Behavioral Healthcare Services, called for an end not just to the stigma attached to addiction, but to the stigma attached to addiction recovery through the use of such drugs as methadone or Suboxone. “Medication-assisted treatment is recovery,” she said. She described hearing about a doctor who denied a patient treatment because he “doesn’t like methadone,” and she likened it to a cardiologist who “doesn’t like angioplasty.”
    -Providence Journal dated Feb. 20, 2014

    (Reuters) - A high-profile law enforcement crackdown on prescription painkiller abuse in Florida has addicts turning increasingly to heroin, resulting in the highest number of overdose deaths and hospitalizations in recent years, a report on drug abuse said.
    Deaths from heroin - now more potent and widely available than ever - rose 89 percent statewide from 62 in 2011 to 117 in 2012, with the problem reaching epidemic proportions in South Florida, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institute of Health.
    In Miami-Dade County, deaths jumped 120 percent, from 15 in 2011 to 33 in 2012.
    "We're talking here about the mother of addictions," said James N. Hall, an epidemiologist at Nova Southeastern University who authored the report with 20 NIDA researchers nationwide who have met biannually since 1976 to track drug use trends.
    "The crossover from the prescription products to illicit heroin complicates that and will fuel the continued epidemic," he added.
    Statistics for drug-related deaths in 2013 are not available yet, but Hall predicted "this problem is certainly going to get worse before it gets better."
    The bulk of the drug supply comes from Mexico, where drug cartels once known for making a less pure black tar or brown powder form of heroin, now produce a more potent white powder version, Hall noted.
    Most worrisome, medical experts say, is that the latest spike in heroin use and deaths is among young adults, ages 18 to 29, who are using it in place of prescription pain pills.
    "A student misses two days of classes, gets kicked out of (college), kicked out of their house and arrested and you're seeing consequences in 72 hours because of the drug and the impulsive young adult mind," said David Vittoria, assistant vice president at Baptist Health South Florida's Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center.
    Until recently, Florida was the nation's capital for the illegal prescription pain medication trade. The state once had 90 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing physicians in the nation and 53 of the top 100 pharmacies supplying the pills.
    Many of those pills made their way up the East Coast, sold at high markups in rural communities stretching from northern Alabama to western Pennsylvania. Interstate 95 was dubbed Oxy Alley for the dealers who regularly drove hundreds of miles to South Florida to buy cheap pain pills.
    On Monday, Pennsylvania health and law enforcement officials said 22 people died over a six-day period from a fatal mix of heroin and the powerful narcotic Fentanyl, sold in bags stamped with names like "Theraflu" "Income Tax" and "Bud Ice".
    Earlier this month, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin used his State of the State speech to address the problem, saying there had been a more than 770 percent increase in treatment for all opiates since 2000.
    "What started as an Oxycontin and prescription drug addiction problem in Vermont has now grown into a full-blown heroin crisis," he said, outlining a plan to combat the problem, while requesting more than $1 million to fund expanded recovery and treatment programs.
    In 2010 and 2011, Vermont had the highest rate of illegal drug use in the country, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
    Similar funding and programs are needed nationwide to treat substance abuse problems before they turn into full-blown addictions, Vittoria said.
    "In Florida, we had a full force effort at cutting the supply (of painkiller pills) without ever addressing the demand, which was a fatal mistake," Hall said.
    (Editing by David Adams and Gunna Dickson)

    that shit's spreading everywhere!
  9. jazzyj9
    It's "bad" because it tends to cause greater respiratory depression than other batches. I'm not sure if the euphoria is greater; but the capacity to cause death is higher because of the effect on respiration.
  10. Ghetto_Chem
    Having tried both at their purest. I could see how people would OD on this stuff if they thought it was H. Jazzy your absolutely right. Pretty much it'll put you down before you feel the euphoria you'd get off good heroin.

    I kinda liked fentanyl before I got opiate addiction, I'd smoke a hit and it would instantly give me this strong opiate like high that would make me want to sleep every time. The first time I did it I was nodding out without control, and felt like if I wouldn't have fought it I might have gone out for good.

    Also like another poster said, batches that kill people tend to get more customers. As fucked up as that is. Sadly there logic is that means its more pure heroin, but forget that other opiates can be used that kill much easier than heroin.

  11. detoxin momma
    this epidemic is all over the missouri news right now to..3 died in 24 hours last week in illinois..the police/detectives are even trying to get involved with the "junkies"to help them get a better understanding of why people want to subject themselves to this knowing how bad it can be..

    as for the dealers "wanting"to sell bad stuff...unfortunately ANYONE can go buy a big batch and split it up into 10 or 20 dollar bags and sell it off,not knowing anything about what theyve just purchased..it doesnt have to be a "dealer"selling it.anyone can..its a terrible terrible drug..

    here in missouri,if you sell heroin to someone,and they die.you've just committed man slaughter...not sure if thats so in other parts of the world tho
  12. Ghetto_Chem
    ^^^It is.. The guy I used to roll with, my shooting buddy, is doing time right now for someone dying because of the bag he got them. I never thought of him as a dealer, just a guy trying to keep his habit going by selling some here and there. In fact he was a really nice good guy that just got caught up with a bad drug, he was the kind of guy that would actually help you out even if it was one of his last hits, that says something about a person I believe.

    It sucks that people can get charged for manslaughter over providing drugs, I don't agree with it completely but there are reasons it exists. Another incident thats happened in my life comes to mind, where a guy deliberately kept giving this girl (one of my best friends at one point in my life) line after line of cocaine and heroin while she was already smashed drunk and she wound up dead. She was begging him for them but I still think it was his responsibility as the drug dealer to realize that she had enough, it was obvious to him being right beside her, and stopped. But on the other hand it sucks when someone buys a drug then goes off on their own and uses it irresponsibly to the point of their own demise..

    Basically everyone I knew who had a good connection for cheap product was using that to keep their habit alive. Its like a fucked up pyramid scheme.

    I pray that this stuff gets taken off the streets quick and no one else dies from this shit.

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