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Posted on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

2 more suspected heroin overdoses reported as authorities warn about dangerous mix

By Kyle Feldscher

Two more people were treated for possible heroin overdoses during the weekend in and near Washtenaw County, according to police and medical officials.


Bindles of heroin are shown in this file photo.

Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office

The overdoses came just days after Canadian police officials warned of a dangerous influx of fentanyl manufactured in illegal labs that has been mixed with, or sold as, heroin. The warning came as a response to fentanyl-related overdoses reported in British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York and Southeast Michigan.

The latest overdoses came a little more than a week after a two-day stretch where eight people had suspected heroin overdoses, resulting in two deaths. The latest cases were not fatal, but did result in two people being hospitalized.

Huron Valley Ambulance spokeswoman Joyce Williams said medical personnel responded at 1:01 p.m. Saturday after one person suffered a possible heroin overdose in Ypsilanti Township. The patient was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in stable condition.

The next day, medical personnel responded at 8:57 p.m. to Van Buren Township for a person having a possible heroin overdose. That patient also was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in stable condition, Williams said.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox confirmed via text message that deputies responded to the Ypsilanti Township report. He echoed the HVA report that it was a possible heroin overdose and investigators could not immediately confirm the presence of the drug. The investigation is ongoing.

Southeast Michigan has seen a recent uptick in reports of heroin overdoses. A mix of heroin called Black Shadow appears to be one of the causes of the rise in heroin overdose deaths. In Washtenaw County, a 27-year-old Saline man and a 30-year-old Ypsilanti man died from suspected heroin overdoses that occurred on June 6.

According to a recent report in the Detroit Free Press, the number of heroin-related calls to the Poison Control Center from southeast Michigan nearly doubled in May from the same time in 2012.

A community advisory from the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council — based out of Waterloo, Ontario — shows the international spread of the dangerous drug.

The community advisory released on June 12 warns the public about an increase in fentanyl-detected overdose deaths.

“The onset of overdose associated with the fentanyl analogues may occur more quickly than other opioid overdoses,” the advisory states. “It is important to call 911. A standard dose of the emergency medicine naloxone may not be effective.”

Street dealers often are not aware of the dangers of the fentanyl-laced drugs, or might be misrepresenting the product to customers, the advisory states. The Peterborough Lakefield Community Police in Ontario seized pills being sold as OxyContin but were actually high-dose fentanyl.

In Metro Detroit, acetyl fentanyl is believed to be involved in heroin overdose deaths in the Downriver area, according to the Free Press report.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Though this story offers an explanation for the recent increase in heroin-related incidents, it does not offer any clues about the prevalence of drug use in the community and if it can be prevented. People who are already using drugs may not recognize the dangers that they are getting exposed to. It is the rest of the community which has a reasonable opportunity to take measures to report the drug use and seek intervention to help the users. As long as the problem remains hidden, interventions would be too late and would be too expensive.

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

Bhavana - I'm working on a larger piece for this weekend about heroin's spread and what's going on here in our area and the region at large. Hopefully, that'll address some of your concerns.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Needle and the Damage Done I caught you knockin' at my cellar door I love you, baby, can I have some more Ooh, ooh, the damage done I hit the city and I lost my band I watched the needle take another man Gone, gone, the damage done I sing the song because I love the man I know that some of you don't understand Milk-blood to keep from running out I've seen the needle and the damage done A little part of it in everyone But every junkie's like a settin' sun Neil young

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

Is heroin legal now?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

Do you think it should be legal Martha?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:10 a.m.

It's called Oxycontin.


Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Sadly, many heroin addicts face potentially lethal overdoses every single day they use. Even more sadly, many of them don't seem to believe it.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

im amazed the dealers dont dilute it more.pushers get more profit,junkies survive to buy more.everyones a (WINNER?)

Honest Abe

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

Kyle Feldscher- Do you have the names of the 2 who overdosed on June 6? If so, please release them. Thanks, -Abe

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Abe - We don't have the names at this point, and police and HVA usually withhold this information for people who have survived the overdose due to HIPAA concerns. I'm also not sure how much public good this would do as opposed to harm for the people's families, and that's something I'd have to weigh before publishing those names.

Honest Abe

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

Ann- I hear you, but obituaries are public information, and so are the names. You cannot withhold the names permanently.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:50 a.m.

Honest Abe, another commentor actually responded to your question about this in a previous article with information on the obituary of one of the heroin victims. I know isn't always consistent in their policies, decisions, and commentary (neither are us commentators) but, maybe not having the names officially posted in the articles and immediately out there for those who don't want to look into it further (because in this world of internet, instant communication and information it can usually be found) is better for the loved ones of the deceased. And, while a community that is knowledgeable about it's challenges and obstacles is important, so also is the privacy of the individual.


Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

On the contrary; the fact the stuff is "killer" lures in other hard core user looking for a higher buzz since their regular stuff has caused a tolerance to it. That was why the authorities were reluctant to tout this new deadly drug knowing that the addicts would flock to it; they are not noted for good judgement!


Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

This is a bad thing? Someone mixing chemicals together to sell to someone to get high. Maybe the government needs to regulate the production? Or survival of the fittest. Ultimatly its an illegal substance and if you choose to use, no guareentes the drug dealer cared if he/she made a good batch...... I mean if a disclaimer that heroin caused death, doubt it would deter the users so why spend the time?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Afghan heroin is mainly distributed in Europe. The US gets the majority of its heroin from Mexico and Columbia.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:09 a.m.

The U.S. Government spends enough time and effort ensuring the viability of the Afghan poppy crop. Must it be involved from "seed to spoon," so to speak?


Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

They're misrepresenting the product they are selling. THAT is the bad thing. Except they're not really ripping their customers off so much as killing them.