April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Sheriff's department warns of heroin epidemic

By Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department-

Press release

Overdose deaths from heroin have increased recently and heroin use is also on the rise according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Within 48-hours (Sunday through Tuesday), Bartholomew County had three suspected heroin overdoses. Tuesday, a 21-year-old Bartholomew County female died of a suspected heroin overdose.

Heroin is a fast-acting opiate. When it's injected, there is a surge of euphoria that arrives within seconds. Those using the drug other ways may not feel this surge as sharply. The user will get a dry mouth and his or her skin will flush. The user's pupils will be constricted. Heroin users may nod off suddenly. Breathing will be slowed, which is how an overdose kills.

"The cause of death is presumed to be a drug overdose possibly involving 'bad heroin,'" said Sheriff Matt Myers. "Or, it could be an ultra-potent heroin that is so pure it can kill unsuspecting users instantly."

If so-called "bad heroin" or is coming into Bartholomew County, we must know where it is coming from. The sheriff's office wants to know who is bringing heroin into Bartholomew County.

Narcan is a highly effective opioid antidote that sheriff's deputies have used eight times since April 2015. Seven people were revived and Tuesday, one was unable to be revived. This does not include Narcan that was used by paramedics.

Deputies are saving lives. In the past week, they have been dealing with this almost every night.

Sheriff Myers is very impressed with all front line units who are out there saving lives.

"I commend all deputies and officers who are working these cases and saving lives in Bartholomew County on a daily basis", he said.

Bartholomew County has not yet reached crisis-mode. The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is working around the clock and now it is time for families and friends to step up and reach out to their loved ones.

Families and friends must step up to save the lives of their loved ones. Even if they have already given up on these people, don't let them die. Find out where they are getting this stuff and call the Sheriff's Office.

Heroin addicts have two choices unless families and friends get them help NOW: they die or go to jail .

In 2014, the Bartholomew County Jail had 12 heroin bookings; in 2015, the jail had 21 heroin bookings; and already in 2016, the jail has had seven heroin bookings.

As for methamphetamine bookings: in 2014 there were 48, 2015 there were 78 and already in 2016 the jail has had 26 methamphetamine bookings.

These numbers include bookings for all agencies.

Although our corrections staff does an excellent job searching inmates and their property, to the extent that the law allows, during intake, recently an inmate overdosed at the jail. Narcan was administered and saved the inmate's life,

The sheriff's department is constantly in contact with the DEA and we have been told that this problem will get much worse before it gets better.

Heroin is our number one priority just as it is for the DEA, FBI, and Indiana State Police. Meth is more predominant but heroin is killing people.

This is not the kind of information that we like to release but this must stop now.

If people have loved ones who are hooked on drugs, please view Chasing the Dragon - a 45-minute video of opioid addicts. It is heart-wrenching but should be viewed by every parent, teacher, grandparent, or anyone else who cares about others.

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