Rash of heroin overdose deaths linked to Fentanyl

Officials believe a synthetic opioid painkiller that’s much more potent than heroin has caused of a recent rash of overdose deaths in Wayne County.

Coroner Ron Stevens and Richmond Police Department Sgt. James Mastriano think heroin laced with Fentanyl is making the dangerous drug even more deadly.

Stevens told the Palladium-Item in Richmond that seven overdoses and two deaths were reported during just one day late last week. He said Wayne County’s 2016 death toll likely is now in the teens after six heroin-related deaths were confirmed through February.

A total in the teens through March would put the county on pace to more than double last year’s average of nearly two heroin-related deaths per month.

In Bartholomew County, four adults died of heroin overdoses in a three-week period between late February and mid-March, Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher said.

A 29-year-old Columbus man was the first to die, followed by a 21-year-old Columbus woman, a 36-year-old Taylorsville man and a 31-year-old Taylorsville woman. In the most recent death, March 18, the Taylorsville woman was found in a truck in the 10000 block of Jolene Drive, believed to have been dead for 24 hours before she was found, Fisher said.

In an earlier interview, Fisher said he has been ordering toxicology tests on the Bartholomew County overdose victims and said Fentanyl has been detected in some of the tests.

In the same time period as the deaths, there were several other heroin overdoses in Columbus and outside the city where the individuals were saved through the use of of the antidote drug Narcan, police said.