MUNCIE — Authorities assume a “bad batch” of heroin led to a dramatic spike in the number of overdoses in recent days.
Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle said Tuesday he was aware of 13 overdoses – and three related deaths – in Muncie between Friday and Sunday.
“I think we’ve got a bad batch of heroin out there,” the police chief said.
Delaware County Sheriff Ray Dudley said his counterparts in other ECI counties are reporting similar numbers. Jay County reportedly saw nine overdoses on Friday alone.
“This drug epidemic we’ve got is killing people,” Dudley said.
Delaware County Coroner Scott Hahn said – pending the results of toxicology tests, which can take 4-6 weeks to complete – it was possible the total number of overdose deaths in the county over the weekend could increase to at least four.
Jason Rogers, Delaware County’s executive director of emergency medical services and emergency management, said the county’s EMS personnel had administered 21 doses of Narcan – the medication used to counteract heroin ODs – between Feb. 1 and Feb. 5.
He acknowledged that some overdose victims require more than one dose of Narcan.
“Every time there’s a new batch (of heroin) that comes in, we see a spike in ODs,” Rogers said.
Last September, Rogers reported the county’s ambulance service had responded to seven to 10 heroin calls daily over a Friday-through-Sunday period.
Dudley recently had deputies and jail staff trained in the use of Narcan, and deputies’ cars have been equipped with the medication.
Police Chief Winkle said representatives of his department would be meeting with prosecutors to discuss a growing dilemma – what to do with those who have overdosed and then been revived with Narcan, and then insist they want no further treatment or dealings with authorities.
“It’s a very difficult issue to come up with a solution,” Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold said Tuesday. “Whatever you do, you cannot have a chilling effect on people requesting help in a life-and-death situation.
“I would be open to any suggestions.”
Arnold said the spike in overdoses in multiple counties would appear to indicate a “central supplier” was responsible.
Heroin is frequently “cut” with Fentanyl, an opioid pain medication that can make the substance even more lethal.
“It’s not a quality control product,” Arnold said.
In 2016 cases through early August, 39 deaths in Delaware County were the result of overdoses, of substances including alcohol, according to statistics provided by the coroner’s office.
Seventeen of those fatal overdoses were linked to heroin or Fentanyl.
Source: Star Press