Lethal heroin combination kills dozens across the country

A deadly combination of drugs has killed 37 people since September. 
The mixture of heroin and a powerful painkiller has been hitting the streets around the country.

MGN Online

Pittsburgh, PA (CBS) - The state of Maryland said Friday that a deadly combination of drugs has killed 37 people since September.

The mixture of heroin and a powerful painkiller has been hitting the streets around the country.

In Western Pennsylvania, 22 overdose deaths were reported in
the past two weeks.
Lab technicians in Pittsburgh immediately knew the heroin found on overdose victims was something different. The powder was white, instead of yellow.

Dr. Karl Williams, Allegheny County Medical Examiner/ CBS
"They found almost exactly the same substance in those stamped bags, a fifty – fifty mixture of heroin with Fentanyl," said Dr. Karl Williams, Allegheny County Medical Examiner.

He describes Fentanyl as a very powerful narcotic. Allegheny said depending on how you formulate it, it can be 10, 20, 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Fentanyl offers a higher high than heroin alone. It also carries a higher risk of an overdose.

CBS News spoke to a Pittsburgh man who took the Fentanyl-laced heroin. The dealer told him to just be careful, which the first time he has heard that warning from the dealer.

"I go home, lock myself in my bathroom and I do them, and within 20 seconds I was out," said the heroin user. His mother had to resuscitate him after the overdose.

Heroin-Fentanyl blends caused nearly 100 deaths over the past year in Rhode Island, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Other fatalities were reported in Louisiana and New Jersey.

Dr. Neil Capretto at Gateway Rehab believes that whoever made the drug knew it could kill.

"They're willing to lose four or five people to a drug overdose death to maybe attract 30 or 40 new customers and that's just the cost of doing business," said Capretto.

Last night police arrested a man investigators suspect is a local distributor of the blend. It is known on the street as "Theraflu" and "Bud Ice."

He agrees that people are just chasing a high, even if that kills them.

"You got people thinking they are macho man - nothing can kill them."

A doctor at a rehab center in Pittsburgh told CBS that dealers are willing to lose a handful of old customers to overdose deaths in the hopes of attracting dozens of new customers.

Dealers view it as the cost of doing business.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 243025671 - local8now.com/a?a=243025671
Gray Television, Inc.