Weekend overdose count rises to nine

Nine overdoses, seven of them believed to be heroin-related, were reported over the weekend in Bartholomew County.

One methamphetamine overdose and one LSD overdose were among the nine, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

All but one of the heroin overdoses occurred in Columbus, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department deputies said.

Sheriff Matt Myers sent out a warning to the public Saturday about five overdoses that had happened within 24 hours, asking for assistance in determining where the heroin had originated.

Investigators said they believe the heroin overdoses were the result of a batch of the drug coming from Cincinnati, Harris said. But it is unknown whether the drug was cut with fentanyl or another substance, he said.

All the individuals who overdosed survived, but some required multiple doses of the overdose drug naloxone before they could be revived, Harris said.

The latest series of overdoses came nearly four weeks after a string of at least 17 overdose victims in Jackson and Jennings counties Aug. 23, when investigators said they believe users may have taken heroin cut with fentanyl. A 52-year-old woman from Country Squire Lakes subdivision near North Vernon died after two doses of naloxone could not revive her, police said.

The Aug. 23 overdose victims included as many as four Jennings County teenagers who were saved with naloxone.

Last month, police were warning that some heroin coming from the Cincinnati area might contain an tranquilizer meant for large animals — with just grains of the substance lethal to humans.

Jennings County officials are waiting for lab test results from heroin recovered from some of the Aug. 23 overdoses to determine what substances might be in it.

However, just last week, a man and a women overdosed in Jennings County and required the most doses of naloxone that emergency responders had ever given, said Lt. Mike Mowery, spokesman for Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

On about 10:30 a.m. Sept. 12, dispatchers received a call that a 25-year-old male and a 25-year-old female were possibly overdosing on heroin and were unconscious in a home on County Road 315W, Mowery said.

Jennings County Sheriff’s deputy David Turner and an unidentified Indiana State trooper administered naloxone, with the woman receiving six doses and the male receiving four doses, Mowery said.

The woman was given medical help to breathe by emergency responders, Mowery said.

The male told investigators the two had taken heroin that morning. Both were taken to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital where they were later released, Mowery said. They were not arrested because investigators could not find any heroin at the home, Mowery said.

Anyone with information about heroin distribution in Bartholomew County is urged to call the Columbus Police Department or Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department tip lines to provide information, which may be left anonymously.

Tip lines

Anyone with information about the recent string of drug overdoses which occurred in Columbus and Bartholomew County may call:

  • Columbus Police Department tip line: 812-376-2621.
  • Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department tip line: 812-379-1712.
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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.