Some additional articles on the heroin overdoses:
From Media Monitors, yet another site I would not have discovered had it not been for my curiosity:
(The Sun-Times article referenced above is presumably on the Sun-Times website, but either their server is having issues today or their site simply stinks to high heaven, because every time I attempt a search I get a page not found error. Here's a link to their search page if you want to try your luck.)
Fentanyl Deaths -- Severe Math Problems At FDA
On August 15, 2005, NBC News reported that police said fentanyl disguised as heroin had caused multiple overdoses on the West Side of Chicago and had been given away by members of a street gang in order to acquire new customers.
Six months later, on February 6, 2006, Chicago police warned that drug dealers on the South Side might be selling fentanyl as heroin on the city streets.
On February 7, 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times reported from unnamed sources that the drug may be linked to as many as a dozen recent fatal overdoses in a small area of Chicago's South Side.
The Sun-Times reported on February 11, 2006, that laboratory "tests on some of the fatal overdose victims who Chicago Police suspected may have died last month from a bad batch of heroin indicate the presence of the powerful pain-killer fentanyl."
At least 10 fatal overdoses are under investigation the Times said.
The Sun-Times article from April 18 includes a quote from a police spokesperson saying that "This has been going on for at least three weeks." In fact, it would appear that this problem has existed for at least three months. The article, authored by stringers, is a little unclear on the timeline, and though it makes a brief reference to "recent deaths," it fails to mention the Feb 11 article or the deaths described therein specifically. It is reporting without memory, and is so vague and inconclusive that it drains all the blood from a dramatic municpal tragedy.
From The Daily Southtown Local Digest (scroll to the end of the page). One would think the distribution of free heroin that is simultaneously homicidal heroin would merit more than a paragraph at the end of news roundup.
Here's some reports from a few days ago that describe the first news of the most recent batch of bad heroin: Free Heroin Hospitalizes 7 In Chicago (CBS News); Free heroin samples send 7 to hospitals (Chicago Tribune); and 7 overdose after taking heroin (ABC7Chicago).