Police Chief: 2 Deaths Suspected from Heroin Overdoses - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Police Chief: 2 Deaths Suspected from Heroin Overdoses

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CABELL COUNTY, WV -

UPDATE: Aug. 16, 5:00 p.m.

According to Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry, one person is confirmed dead following the heroin overdoses in Huntington Monday.

Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarilli says he suspects there could be as many as two deaths.

That brings the total of heroin overdoses to 27 in just a span of 4 hours.

Merry says the 27th patient came into the emergency room suffering from cardiac arrest. That person later died at the hospital. Blood work later determined that overdose was the cause of death.

UPDATE: Aug. 15, 11:06 p.m.

In just a four hour period, between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m., there were 26 heroin overdoses in Huntington on Monday, according to Cabell County EMS Director Gordon Merry.

This spike reflects a more than 5,000 % increase from a typical four-hour period, as the department ordinarily sees an average of only 20 overdoses per week.

"It makes it very difficult, we're having to move ambulances from the county into the city to help cover. Every ambulance in the city of Huntington went out in 10 minutes on these overdoses," said Merry.

None of these Monday evening overdoses were fatal; but Matt Boggs, executive director of Recovery Point of Huntington, still said the city is dealing with a very dangerous new batch of heroin.

"It's dangerous. Heroin is so potent, you never know what you're getting your hands on," Boggs said. "One day, you would do one amount and it could affect you a certain way and the next day you could do even less than what you did the day previous and you could overdose because you never know what's in it or what the potency is."

Merry agreed, saying that this is the worst day for overdoses he has ever seen in the Jewel City. And this new batch of heroin is one of the strongest the city has ever seen, as EMS workers are having to double the dosage of Narcan they're giving to overdose victims. 

"It's kind of scary because the heroin they're using is much stronger than what we're normally used to, we're having to administer more Narcan than normal," said Merry, adding, "If you have heroin, please do not use it. It's stronger than you think and it could be the last time you ever use it."

Boggs said he has a simple message for all of the struggling addicts in the community.

"You don't have to die from this disease," he said. "There's folks all across our community, wonderful agencies working to curb the epidemic and I know they would accept you with open arms."

UPDATE: Aug. 15, 8:46 p.m.

Cabell County EMS tells 13 News there were 26 overdoses in a four hour period on Monday.

Original story: Aug. 15, 6:25 p.m.

The Director of Drug Control Policy Jim Johnson tells 13 news there were 10 heroin overdoses in Huntington on Monday.  The 10 overdoses reported happened over a 90 minute period.

Nobody died yet from the overdoses. Dispatchers report the overdoses happened at several locations in the city.

Later on 13 News we will hear from the Cabell County EMS Director to get his thoughts on the situation.

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