Six overdose deaths reported in Richland Co., contaminated heroin could be a factor

Posted at 2:11 PM, Oct 10, 2016

Six people have died over the last several days from overdoses in Richland County, and Mansfield police are saying contaminated heroin could be a factor. 

In at least four of the deaths in the county, the Montgomery County Coroner said carfentanil was involved. 

Carfentanil is an extremely powerful drug used to sedate elephants, rhinoceroses and zebras that has recently been detected in Northeast Ohio.

Mansfield police said other "designer" opiates have also been found.

“In over 20 years with the police department, this is the worst drug epidemic I’ve seen," said Lt. Joe Petrycki of the Mansfield Police Department.

Petrycki said his department averages about four overdoses a day. To date, there have been 361 overdoses in Mansfield in 2016, mostly heroin and/or fentanyl related. Of those overdoses, 25 have resulted in death.

“We cannot arrest our way out of it so here we’re pushing treatment, presentation along with enforcement," he added.

Petrycki said one of the biggest problems is that addicts refuse to identify their dealers which prevents detectives from curbing the problem at its source. 

"They're so addicted, and that's all they live for, their next dose," he said.

Members of the community are asked to turn in known dealers by calling 419-755-9728.