Fentanyl present in 3 DuPage County heroin overdose deaths
The drugs that caused at least three of seven recent heroin overdose deaths in DuPage County have been found to be tainted with the painkiller fentanyl, authorities said Thursday.
DuPage County Coroner Rich Jorgensen said toxicology reports for three heroin overdose deaths in the county since Sept. 19 found the presence of fentanyl, which is believed to be connected to a string of 74 reported heroin overdose patients treated in 72 hours late last month in Chicago.
The presence of the painkiller in the heroin could have increased the drug's potency and caused users to overdose and stop breathing, authorities said.
Jorgensen said he could not identify the victims of the fentanyl-laced heroin or say when and where their deaths occurred because their death investigations are ongoing.
The cases could be closed next week, he said. At that time, further toxicology report data could be available from the remaining four suspected heroin deaths that occurred during roughly a three-week span between Sept. 19 and early October.
The high incidence of heroin overdoses during that concentrated period has not recurred in DuPage or elsewhere in the region, Jorgensen said.
Authorities said the fentanyl-laced heroin was being sold only in isolated areas on the West and South sides of Chicago. This week, Chicago police announced they made 15 arrests on the West side in connection with the rash of overdoses.