BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (March 1, 2016)- As our entire state continues to fight heroin, the battle has intensified in one central Indiana county.
In 48 hours, Bartholomew County experienced three suspected heroin overdoses. One of them was fatal.
“Sometimes frankly, it’s too late when we arrive,” said Lt. Matt Harris, with the Columbus Police Department.
Officials say a 21-year-old woman died from an overdose. Investigators believe the victim’s death could be linked to something called “bad heroin,” or an ultra-potent form that is so pure it can kill users instantly.
“That’s one of the dangerous things about drugs is you just don’t know what you’re getting, what’s in there, how strong it is, what it might be mixed with and that could be a deadly risk that people take,” said Lt. Harris.
Data from the State Department of Health shows the number of deaths involving heroin have consistently increased since 2010. Latest numbers from 2014 reveal 170 Hoosiers were killed from an overdose related to heroin.
“It’s not just an issue for families but it’s a community issue,” said Lt. Harris.
The Columbus Police Department and The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office have teamed up to form the JNET, the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.
“These detectives will go seek out where drugs are being dealt whether it’s here in Bartholomew County or in the adjacent area and it’s been very, very successful,” said Lt. Harris.
Last year, there were 21 people booked into the Bartholomew County jail on heroin charges. With only two months into 2016, deputies are already on track to arrest twice as many heroin offenders.
Sheriff officials say while meth is more predominant throughout the county, heroin is the drug that’s killing people.