Chicago: More Than 70 Overdose Cases in 72 Hours ‘Details’

Chicago: More Than 70 Overdose Cases in 72 Hours - Details

Chicago authorities are scrambling after 74 heroin overdoses were reported in the 72 hours between Tuesday and Friday afternoon, more than double the overdose rate during the same time last year, NBC Chicago reports.

​​”Hopefully, we’ll get this heroin off the streets,” Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Mary Sheridan said on Friday. No deaths have been reported yet.

Diane Hincks, an emergency room director at a local hospital, said the city may be seeing a repeat of a similar episode that happened nearly a decade ago. “We suspect what is happening is the same thing that happened in 2006 when people were getting heroin that was cut with fentanyl, which is a very strong narcotic,” she told The Chicago Tribune.

Some patients were admitted to the hospital with needles still in their arms, some requiring triple the usual dose of Narcan, a heroin antidote.

Chicago police said the drugs were mostly purchased at two locations on the city’s West Side, suggesting a single supplier was to blame.

Over the past few years, “Heroin use and overdose deaths have increased significantly in the United States,” according to the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 2011 and 2013, the rate of heroin usage was more than 60 percent higher than between 2002 and 2004. Some experts say the increase is a result of a crackdown on the abuse of prescription opiates.