Thursday, June 08, 2006

New Surge Of Heroin And Fentanyl Related Deaths In Chicago

The Chicago Tribune reports a surge in deaths due to heroin overdoses. According to the article, "many" are linked to a batches of heroin mixed with fentanyl. I suspect all of them will be so linked once the medical examiner's office has done its work. One of the victims is the son of Franklin Park Police Chief Jack Krecker.

Hospitals and outreach workers are struggling against a surge of fatal heroin overdoses in Chicago, as word has spread that more potent, though deadly, drugs have hit the street.

Police were linking 14 deaths on Monday and Tuesday to heroin overdoses, an alarming toll that shows the drug's broad reach into society.

[...]

The rise in deaths over the last few days has been alarming for police, and it has meant heartbreak for families across the Chicago area, from Englewood to Park Ridge.

Joseph Krecker, the son of Franklin Park Deputy Chief Jack Krecker, graduated from Maine South High School on Sunday. Two days later, he was found dead on the Northwest Side in the back seat of his car. He was about halfway between his Park Ridge home and the street-corner drug markets of the West Side.

"The stuff must have been so powerful that it killed him instantly," said Frank Limon, chief of the Chicago Police Department's organized crime division.

Some addicts who have survived fentanyl-laced heroin are deathly afraid of getting another dose of it, choosing to buy their fix only from drug dealers they are certain have clean heroin. Since fentanyl is so potent, a small amount can be life threatening, and users usually don't know that there is fentanyl in the drug they are taking.

More on the overdoses can be found at the Chicago Sun-Times and at CBS2Chicago.

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2 comments:

Rob Wood said...

This is one of the major problems of the current approach to drugs. The regulation of drugs would at least limit incidences like this Cutting drugs with even more dangerous substances has happened before too (though this is a particularly nasty case).

McKreck said...

I'm not sure I entirely agree. Legalization presupposes that there is a finite number of drugs that require regulation. It does not contemplate a new drug or a new drug combination. One of the problems with fentanyl is that while some addicts have learned to avoid, others are actively seeking it. I don't know how that would change in a regulated market. A savvy, illegal drug supplier would be seeking ways to exploit the addicts need for better highs.