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Police: Tainted heroin leads to overdoses - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police: Tainted heroin leads to overdoses

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

"If you are going to choose to use heroin, that particularly right now, you need to be very cautious," said South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple.

A warning from South Burlington's chief of police after two drug users overdosed on tainted heroin since Friday. One victim was found at the Sheraton Hotel and police believe the second was dumped in the parking garage outside the University Mall.

"Both individuals were found unconscious, labored breathing and really moments away from death. When we started to unravel what had happened there, we identified that they had just used heroin, and we found the remnants of what they had used. And in each case it tested positive for not only heroin but for amphetamine,"  Chief Whipple said.

Drug investigators say it's an unusual combination. The concern is that drug users won't know the heroin is laced with amphetamines, and the outcome is more likely to be lethal.

Since September 9 Fletcher Allen Health Care says 16 people have been treated for drug overdoses, which is pretty typical for this hospital. But what's not so typical is that five of these cases have come in since November 1. Typically heroin dealers brand their drugs with stamps that allow users to stick with a product they know. But the heroin behind the overdoses is proving tough for police to track.

"In this case there was no branding. It was a plain bag that had been sealed with scotch tape, which isn't always the norm either. So in each case the packaging was the same. Not a guarantee that it's the same source but it makes us suspect it might be," Chief Whipple said.

South Burlington isn't the only area dealing with this problem. Police in Colchester say they also had two overdoses this weekend. Now they're teaming up to identify the source behind the laced heroin, hoping to catch the supplier before someone dies.

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