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article imageHeroin-Fentanyl mix blamed for 15 deaths in Pittsburgh area

By Stephen Pope     Jan 30, 2014 in Crime
Pittsburgh - A batch of deadly heroin that is mixed with the painkiller fentanyl has killed at least 15 people and resulted in numerous non-fatal overdoses over the last week in Western Pennsylvania.
The heroin, which is believed to me more potent than morphine is being distributed in bags stamped with the word "Theraflu" and "Bud Ice," according to Karl Williams the Allegheny County Medical Examiner.
On Monday, Williams said in a press release, “Over the past five (5) days, a total of fifteen (15) probably narcotic overdoses have been identified. The average number of overdoses in that time period is approximately five (5), of which at least half would be expected to involve narcotics. The current overdoses represent at least a two to three-fold increase.”
Testing done Wednesday confirmed that the heroin suspected in the deaths was mixed with the potent painkiller fentanyl. A press release said,"Testing in the Drug Chemistry section of the Department of Laboratories Division of the Medical Examiner’s Office reveals that the stamp bags associated with the current overdose deaths marked “Theraflu” and “Bud Ice” contain a mixture of both Heroin and Fentanyl."
U.S. Attorney David Hickton said in a press release that federal resources are working with state and local law enforcement to locate the source of the deadly heroin.
According to a statement from Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, "Heroin with these specific stamps has been identified by narcotics agents not only in Allegheny County, but also in Westmoreland, Armstrong, Butler, Lawrence and Beaver counties. However, these stamped bags could already or eventually be available in other counties across Pennsylvania.
In 1988, the Pittsburgh area was plagued with 17 deaths and numerous non-fatal overdoses from another form of deadly heroin called “China White.” “The presence of fentanyl recalls the “China White” epidemics that have sporadically occurred both locally and across the nation in which some form of fentanyl is either sold as heroin or is mixed with heroin,” said Williams in the press release.
Recently elected Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto on Monday cautioned those with the heroin saying, “"Those who are in possession of this potent formula are in danger of losing their lives." "It will kill you. The danger cannot be overstated."
According to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette police are searching for two suspects who are connected with a house where 1500 bags of heroin stamped with "Bud Ice" were found Sunday.
Those with information on the deadly cocktail are urged text the Pittsburgh DEA office “by entering Tip411 (847411) in the “To” field, and the keyword “PGHOD” followed by the tip information in the text field. All information provided is 100% anonymous,” according to a press release from Hickton’s office.
More about Heroin, fentanyl, drug deaths, drug epidemic Pittsburgh
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