Police investigating 4 heroin overdoses within 1 mile

Posted at 7:44 PM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 07:18:13-04

 In the span of a few hours and within a mile of each other, four people overdosed on heroin in Jackson on Monday.

Jackson Police Deputy Chief Elmer Hitt says two of those happened at homes on Lansing Avenue, with one involving a 26-year-old man and the other a 21-year-old.

Then officers were called to the Burger King on North West Avenue where a 22-year-old man was found unconscious in the bathroom.

Minutes later a 21-year-old man overdosed in the bathroom at the McDonald's next door. Hitt says overdoses like that in restaurants or party stores are becoming more common.

"One of the biggest concerns is, is someone going to find them in time to call 911 and get medical personnel there to help them? We've actually had a couple deaths where they've died in a restroom in a public building like that," Hitt added.

Mike Hirst has been working as a drug counselor with Andy's Angels for six years, ever since his son Andy died of a heroin overdose. He says public restrooms are popular spots because it comes down to convenience when someone buys their next fix.

"You're a slave to that drug, you're going to do what it tells you to do," Hirst explained. "Everything I need to get high is right there in a private environment. When I'm done with what I just bought I'm going to throw the wrapper, throw the needle down the toilet and when I walk out of there there's nothing anyone's going to find on me."

Hirst says when multiple overdoses happen around the same time, it's typically linked to a batch of heroin that's laced with something more powerful, which is cheaper for dealers to make.

"They're making a bundle on this. The more heroin they cut with the fentanyl the more money they're going to make," he added.

Jackson Police were able to get a sample of the heroin from one of the scenes and have sent it to the crime lab to see if it was laced with either fentanyl or the elephant sedative carfentanil.

"We can't count that out, having 4 in 1 day is unusual for us," Hitt said.

Police officers in Jackson do not carry nalaxone, the drug that reverses the effects of an overdose. In Monday's cases paramedics were on the scene and able to revive the victims.