Seven Opiate Overdoses Rock Brattleboro on the Fourth of July | Off Message

Seven Opiate Overdoses Rock Brattleboro on the Fourth of July

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A kit with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • A kit with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan
Brattleboro authorities on Tuesday responded to seven opiate overdoses — the latest grim reminder that the state continues to struggle with a drug crisis.

No one died, but two people remained in critical condition after they were flown to regional hospitals, Brattleboro police said.

There are similarities between the overdoses, including identifying markers on heroin bags, authorities said. Brattleboro, with a population of 12,000, has seen prior waves of suspected drug overdoses.

In the past, Brattleboro police have publicized the identity of a batch of drugs that caused overdoses, in hopes of protecting addicts.

But this time they are not. Rather than dissuade addicts from using the bad batch, the previous warnings have caused drug users to seek out the drugs — in search of a more potent high, police said.
Vermont experienced 105 fatal overdoses in 2016 — a record high — and is on pace to exceed that tally in 2017, according to the most recent Health Department statistics.

Brattleboro police said the Fourth of July overdoses serve as a reminder of the need for “treatment, dialogue and community support.”

“Yesterday’s events bring into stark relief the significant opiate epidemic that our community struggles with,” police said in a prepared statement. “While many of us celebrated our nation’s independence with friends, barbecues and fireworks, many addicts and their loved ones continued to struggle with dependence on heroin and other drugs.”


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