Friday, August 26, 2016

Rash of drug overdoses reported in Ind., Ky., Ohio and W.Va.; man arrested with 5 lbs. of fentanyl

A rash of heroin overdoses reported this week or last week in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, has officials concerned the drugs came from the same batch, "likely mixed with either fentanyl or carfentanil," Harrison Jacobs reports for Business Insider. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, "is 80 to 100 times as powerful as morphine and about 40 to 50 times as potent as pure heroin." Carfentanil, frequently used as an elephant tranquilizer, "is 100 times as potent as fentanyl, which makes it roughly 10,000 times as strong as morphine."

Twelve heroin overdoses were reported in rural Mount Sterling, Ky.; five in rural Winchester, Ky., and 10 in rural Southern Indiana. Huntington, W.Va., next to Kentucky and Ohio, had 27 overdoses. Cincinnati had 36 on Wednesday and 90 last weekend. Also, a man was arrested this week on Interstate 70 in Henry County, Indiana, with 5 pounds of fentanyl. (Map shows driving distances to overdose locations)
Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, "said it’s too early to say whether the more potent heroin reported in neighboring areas of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia are from the same source," Greg Kocher reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He told Kocher, “When something like this is happening within the same time frame, happening in Cincinnati as it is happening in Mount Sterling, it begs the question about supply routes. Is that where Mount Sterling’s heroin is coming from? It certainly would give some indication of that, but without extensive lab testing there is no way to know."

"It’s a very scary thing," Ingram said. "What we see across the country is the drug cartels moving away from heroin and moving toward these opioids they’re going to produce themselves. People think they’re buying one thing and they’re actually buying another. The stuff they’re selling is so powerful. Some of the stuff we’re seeing produced is 50 times more potent than heroin, as if heroin wasn’t bad enough.”

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