Coroner Chuck Harris’ quarterly report, released on Wednesday, reveals a
disturbing trend in heroin usage in the region: the increasing presence of
Fentanyl in addicts’ supply.
Over the first
three months of 2017, according to Harris’ report, the Coroner’s Office
investigated 16 fatal drug overdoses. Of those, 14 involved opiates. Of
those 14, nine involved heroin. And of those nine, Fentanyl was detected in
Fentanyl is a
synthetic opiate “50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent
than morphine,” Harris said. “Frequently, drug users do not know that the
heroin they are using is laced with Fentanyl. Therefore, when injecting
their usual amount, they end up taking a lethal dose.”
Fentanyl can look identical,” Harris added. “Drug dealers include Fentanyl
in the heroin to increase the potency. However, their measuring equipment is
often inaccurate and the Fentanyl that is used is almost always produced by
a clandestine lab and is of poor quality.”
“The use of these types of illicit drugs is like playing Russian roulette
with a fully loaded gun.”
Other numbers from
Harris’ quarterly report:
* 434 deaths were
recorded in Porter County.
* Of those, 117
were investigated by the Coroner’s Office.
* 83 of the 117
were determined to be natural and 23 accidental, 10 were ruled suicides, and
the cause of one other was undetermined.
* 16 of the 23
accidental deaths resulted from drug overdoses.