UPDATE: Eleven Heroin Overdoses Hit Brattleboro
Brattleboro's Emergency Services Run Flat Out
BRATTLEBORO, VT - Two drug users remain in critical condition following a rash of overdoses on July 4th that had Brattleboro's police and fire services teaming up with Rescue, Inc. ambulance crews to deal with seven separate opiate-induced incidents in locations that included residences, hotel rooms, a gas station bathroom and an alley downtown.
Late Wednesday afternoon Brattleboro Police Detective Lt. Jeremy Evans said the problem was on-going and he brought the total number of overdoses dealt with in the city to eleven in approximately the past 24-hours.
"This is a significant number of overdoses for the timeframe," Evans said in a statement, adding, "While there were some commonalities observed in a few cases, preliminary investigation has not shown a distinct connection between all of the overdoses."
As of Wednesday morning everyone involved was still alive but the two most serious patients have been airlifted to regional hospitals.
"Similarities exist between the overdoses, including identifying markers or "stamps" on heroin bags. It is the practice of BPD not to publicly release these identifiers due to the resulting drug-seeking behavior that often occurs with opiate addicts," Carigna said, explaining, "In past efforts to publicly identify the particular batch of drugs so that users can avoid it, we have actually found the opposite effect. Users hoping for a particularly effective high will often seek out the particular stamped bag. Therefore, for public health and safety reasons we do not release it. That said, BPD is working aggressively with the Vermont Intelligence Center, Vermont's state forensic lab, and the Drug Task Force to share information and control access to these particular drugs."
"Yesterday's events bring into stark relief the significant opiate epidemic that our community struggles with," Captian Carigna wrote, concluding, "While many of us celebrated our nation's independence with friends, barbecues and fireworks, many addicts and their loved ones continued to struggle with dependence on heroin and other drugs. BPD continues to encourage the community to help us address this public health problem through treatment, dialogue, and community support."
Detective Lt. Evans said that all of the overdose incidents remain under active investigation and he encouraged anyone with information to call the Brattleboro Police Department at (802) 257-7950 or to make an anonymous call to the department's tip line at (802) 251-8188.