The Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga is reeling after three separate heroin overdose cases struck the community Thursday over a six-hour period.
Assistant Police Chief Jim Speyer told Spectrum News the increase in overdoses could mean there is a bad batch of drugs on the street.
“It’s no great epiphany that we have a problem, but we do know that there is a batch out there that last night three individuals just here in Cheektowaga overdosed within a six-hour period,” he said.
“Obviously raised some red flags that maybe there was a bad batch of heroin out there or laced with fentanyl,” he added.
According to the Cheektowaga Chronicle, none of the cases were fatal, but one victim was in cardiac arrest at the time emergency crews responded.
Police records said a 20-year old man was unresponsive and in cardiac arrest when he was found at about 4:41 p.m. in a restaurant bathroom. About two hours later, a 44-year-old man was hospitalized after overdosing at a private residence. At 7:59 pm, a man whose age was not released was found in a gas station bathroom. Police said all three were revived with Narcan.
Speyer repeated a message officials have given to heroin users: Get help.
“We want them to know that you’re playing Russian roulette, we can’t drive that home enough. Need to get help, get into a program and just be careful,” he said.
He added that the police will do what they can, but it is up to the users to act before tragedy strikes.
“We distribute some information on where they can go for help, in hopes that they’ll take us up on the offer to get some help but it’s all a case-by-case basis, not everybody wants help unfortunately,” he said.
This is not the first time the community has faced a sudden spike in heroin overdoses. In December 2016, according to WKBW, two individuals died amid a spike in overdose cases.
President Donald Trump has called for raising the stakes in the nation’s war on the opioid crisis.
“If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers, we are wasting our time,” Trump said in New Hampshire last week, as reported by CNN. “And that toughness includes the death penalty.”
Trump said dealers “will kill thousands of people during their lifetime” but won’t be punished, and that action is needed against the “big pushers, the ones who are really killing people.”
“This is about winning a very, very tough problem and if we don’t get very tough on these dealers, it is not going to happen, folks,” he said.
Trump’s New Hampshire comments were a continuation of his hard-line call for action to stop drug dealers.
“The drug dealers, the drug pushers, they’re really doing damage,” Trump said earlier this month, according to Time magazine. “Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty. And by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.”
“If you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty,” Trump said. “These people can kill 2,000, 3,000 people, and nothing happens to them.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.