Possibility of tainted heroin worries cops

By jholmes800 · Dec 10, 2006 · ·
  1. jholmes800
    Fear of fentanyl-laced heroin caused investigators probing two major heroin rings dismantled Thursday to stop field-testing the heroin their informants bought for them.

    “Airborne fentanyl could prove fatal to investigators,” said a warning from the state attorney general’s office, according to the arrest affidavits in the case.

    Fentanyl is a powerful prescription pain reliever that some dealers mix with heroin to enhance its potency, said Detective Sgt. Timothy J. Harding, head of the city police narcotics unit.

    “It makes it a much stronger product,” Detective Sgt. Harding said, adding that he hasn’t seen any deaths related to fentanyl-laced heroin in Scranton. “Heroin isn’t manufactured under laboratory conditions, so these guys aren’t always adhering to strict conditions.”

    Police field-test heroin after buys to make sure the drug is real, in order to establish probable cause for search warrants and arrests. The lack of testing did not deter the investigation, Detective Sgt. Harding said.

    He said junkies told police some of the heroin being sold by ring members was laced with fentanyl.

    Alerts were also coming during the summer from the state Department of Health about batches of fentanyl-laced heroin coming out of Chicago and Harrisburg, said Anthony F. Pero, clinical director at Drug and Alcohol Treatment Service Inc., the nonprofit organization that treats Lackawanna County addicts. He said it was important for clients to be warned, but wondered if they got the message.

    “It’s almost like there’s a loss of fear of danger with people with chemical dependency,” Mr. Pero said. “Most of our patients think they’re unique and nothing’s going to happen to them. ... This disease kills. It’s that simple.”


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  1. thegoodfight
    This hits close to home for swim. There were major investigations launched out of both cities mentioned (Harrisburg, PA and Chigago), and also Philadelphia. There were a large number of sudden overdoses in the surrounding areas of Philly and Harrisburg over the last 8 months.

    Here is swim's take on this as swim has been told a lot about this issue from people looking into it.

    There are a few reasons for the OD's on Fentanyl laced H. One is that it makes it much more potent for it's volume. As some may know, cancer patients use 200mcg (that's 1/5th of a mg) patches to deliver fentanyl in a continually controlled release fashion. The same patient may require 500mg+ morphine a day for the same relief, so this should give you an idea of the potency.

    Fentynal along with H can have an interaction where the heart just stops. Swim forgets the medical reasoning for it, but heart failure has been the reason for almost all the laced H related deaths.

    This is a very scary issue. When swiy is dealing with an illegal substance where profit is the entire motive behind its manufacture and there is no regard to the consumer (wow that almost sounds like big pharma w/o the FDA!!!). There are no ways to determine quality control. There are no check and balances to maintain a safe product. Swim's sure this is nothing new to most of swiy's..

    Swim puts a lot of blame on these OD/deaths on the MEDIA, due to their lack of knowledge on the issue and not doing their duty to report on the most important part of the issue at hand. OD's by drugs brings viewers/readers much more than a drug scare on a bad interaction between an illegal street drug and a prescription drug. When the story about extremely strong H hit the news, people were coming from 2 hours away to score (because they heard it on the news). Now if they had said (repeatedly, not just in one late night broadcast) "Laced heroin causes fatal interaction" that sounds much more informative than "Extremely potent Heroic causes string of OD's"

    Now swim has never used H but if he were looking for some "good stuff" the "laced" headline would scare swim off because it is more informative.

    Also, swim read an article recently about the validity of airborne fentanyl. This was used in Moscow (in pre WWII) I believe in a theatre where there was a hostae situation. It was used to knock everyone out. Also, Anesthesiologists are 500% more likely to suffer addiction to opiates, and have a relapse after rehab. Tests have shown that fentanyl is released through the patient's breath while breathing, and the anesthesiologists is usually hovering right by the patients mouth during a lot of procedures..
  2. darawk
    That was airborn carfentanyl, which is about 1,000 times as potent as normal fentanyl. I doubt airborn fentanyl is a truly legitimate concern for police.

    Heh, yea...cuz anaesthesiolgoists have access to it 24/7. If you had access to pharmaceutical grade LSD and dealt with it every day, I think you'd be 500% more likely to use it than the average person as well =p.
  3. Nagognog2
    I doubt being exposed to airborne LSD would cause one to want to have more. Matters of tolerance and being sick and tired of the constantly changing wallpaper come to mind.

    Regards the Russians killing the people in the theatre with an O.D. of the fentanyl derivative a couple years ago (alleged Chechen rebels) - yes. That likely created the media-hype of horrible Russian heroin-pushers spraying boy-scout policemen with clouds of fentanyl. Some papers never wanted to see the Cold War end. Scaring people with the Evil Russian Bear was the best thing that ever happened to sales. Next drug-pushers will be crop-dusting Washington, DC in fentanyl-laden bi-planes. Ahh the good ol' days of World War One!

    I guess they don't bother to take into consideration that this cloud of deadly-dust would dramatically cut into profits. Business is business.
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