Huntington Police Respond to 26 Overdoses in 4 Hours

Aug 16, 2016

 

After over two dozen overdoses in a four-hour span Monday night in Cabell County, local officials gathered Tuesday to outline the situation.

Jim Johnson, Director of Drug Control Policy along with Joe Ciccarelli, Huntington Police Chief speak at press conference.
Credit Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In a span of a few hours Monday evening, there were 26 reported cases of overdose throughout the Huntington metro area. Most happened in one neighborhood in east Huntington near the Marcum Terrace housing projects where it was reported that heroin samples were being handed out.

Of the 26 overdoses, 12 doses of naloxone were administered, but one person required as many as three of the doses. The rest were revived using an apparatus called a bag valve mask that helps pump air into the victim’s chest. Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli said officials aren’t sure what might be different about this batch, but there have been reports in the region of heroin being mixed with fentanyl, a strong pain reliever, or carfentanil, a pain reliever meant for large animals.

“We can speculate, but we don’t know for sure,” Ciccarelli said. “When such a batch of heroin comes into town, that’s exactly what someone who is addicted is looking for, they search that out, they want that drug and they want to push themselves right to the edge of overdose or death sadly.”

Ciccarelli said tests are being conducted at the state crime lab to figure out what was in the drug. The 26 overdose victims are all still alive.  

 

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.