A recent string of deadly heroin overdoses in western Pennsylvania has not left the Ambridge area untouched.
Three people have died this week from suspected heroin-related deaths in the Ambridge area, most recently on Thursday with the death of a 22-year-old woman, according to Beaver County officials.
Authorities say a lethal combination of heroin and a pain killer called fentanyl has been making the rounds in western Pennsylvania, and other counties. Bags of the heroin being distributed are labeled “Theraflu” and "Bud Ice," but NPR reports that authorities suspect dealers might be re-branding the fentanyl-laced heroin.
A 48-year-old woman who overdosed early Tuesday in the 800 block of Duss Avenue in Ambridge was found with two stamp bags marked "Thor," according to borough police.
Ambridge Police Chief James Mann said the 22-year-old from Thursday's fatal overdose had a plain green bag marked "100% Pure."
The woman had been released from a halfway house just a day before police were called at 11:54 p.m. to her apartment in the 800 block of Duss Avenue. Police were told a woman with a history of drug and alcohol problems was down and not breathing.
"We were averaging about a couple a month," Mann said. "There's definitely an epidemic with this heroin."
Tatalovich-Rossi said she hasn’t seen any bags stamped with "Theraflu" in Beaver County, but cautioned that none of the heroin-related deaths should be minimized.
“We have heroin drug overdoses often," she said. "It’s just that, since this Theraflu has been brought to attention, people think this is the new thing. Unfortunately, this is nothing new to our office, as far as the drug-related deaths. Surrounding counties are in the same boat.”
U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton with the Western District of Pennsylvania, issued a statement last week promising to uncover the source of the highly dangerous drug, and to prosecute those responsible for the tragic deaths.
Police have arrested several people, including April Operman, 41, of Zelienople, a mother of three, who was found with 18 bags stamped with "Theraflu" in her home.
“We urge persons who are addicted, and those of you with loved ones who are addicted, to use this outbreak as a reason to seek treatment,” Hickton said.
Anyone with tips or information should contact their local police department. For resources and help dealing with substance abuse, click here.
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