Woman dies of drug overdose marking 10th drug-related fatality this year

Bartholomew County had two heroin overdose cases, including a fatality, within 24 hours of the kickoff event for the new community initiative aimed at addressing Bartholomew County’s opiate-addiction epidemic.

The Bartholomew County Coroner’s office confirmed Wednesday that a 33-year-old Jewel Village woman died from a polydrug overdose — the use of two or more drugs to obtain a certain effect — after first responders were sent to her home in the 500 block of Patterson Road at 9:33 a.m.

Bartholomew County Deputy Coroner Jay Frederick said initial testing showed the woman tested positive for opiates, but toxicology testing is being done to determine specifically what drugs were in her system at the time of her death.

The woman is the 10th drug overdose fatality in Bartholomew County this year, Frederick, said, with four of those confirmed as heroin overdoses. Two of the fatal overdoses have not been classified yet as toxicology tests are pending to determine what type of drug was involved, he said.

In addition to the woman’s death, an unidentified man who is believed to have overdosed while in a car at a Taylorsville gas station received four doses of opiate-antidote naloxone before being transported to Columbus Regional Hospital on Tuesday night.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the gas station in the 11000 block of North U.S. 31 at 5 p.m. Tuesday, deputies said.

The male was in the driver’s seat and keys were in the car ignition, deputies said. The multiple doses of the antidote had little effect, and the man’s medical condition was not immediately known, deputies said.

Witnesses told deputies the car had been at the gas station for about 45 minutes, and although the male was alone when deputies arrived, they said a female had been seen in the vehicle before police were called.

Earlier this month, two area men in their early 20s died of apparent drug overdoses within 15 hours of each other.

A 25-year-old Hope resident was pronounced dead at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin at 9:23 a.m. April 6 by the Johnson County Coroner’s office after police were called to a home in Edinburgh in the 900 block of South Roosevelt Street about a suspected overdose.

In the second case, the North Vernon Police Department has opened an investigation into the death of a 21-year-old North Vernon man who was found unresponsive and not breathing on the floor of a residence in the 10 block of Harms Street at 12:20 a.m. April 7, Lt. Randall Marshall said. Two people were attempting to revive the man when police arrived and officers administered several doses of naloxone, but it was not effective, Marshall said in a press release.

On Wednesday night, the Substance Abuse Community Response initiative formed through Columbus’ Healthy Communities coalition conducted its kickoff event at The Commons with presentations about opiate abuse and its effect on the Bartholomew County and Columbus communities.

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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.