High Point police: 5 heroin overdoses in 24 hours

The Associated Press

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HIGH POINT — Authorities in High Point and Guilford County say there were seven heroin overdoses in a 24-hour period, and they point to a dangerous strain of the drug coming through the county.

Capt. Mike Kirk of the High Point Police Department told reporters Friday that one of the recent victims was in critical condition at High Point Regional Hospital. Maj. Jim Albright, director of emergency services for the county, said a spike so high in a single day raises concern.

Statistics from the police department show that through Friday, there had been 34 drug overdoses, with 31 involving heroin. In 2013, 25 drug overdoses were reported, with 17 involving heroin. Five of the overdose victims died. There were 19 overdoses in 2012, with 13 involving heroin.

“I don’t think people realize how big of a problem this is,” Kirk said. “You’re playing with your life every time you put a needle in your arm.”

Police also don’t know yet whether the heroin in High Point contains acetyl fentanyl, a powerful drug that, when added to heroin, increases the strength of the drug.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s 14-person Triad task force is assisting High Point police in its current investigation of heroin use in the city. The DEA also has been helping law enforcement agencies in Guilford, Alamance, Surry and Davie counties with their heroin investigations.