Pittsburgh police detectives were working overtime to scoop up drug dealers and lean on users for information as a lethal batch of heroin caused at least 35 overdoses and as many as three deaths, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The heroin, which has appeared in at least eight neighborhoods since Saturday, is likely laced with the potent painkiller fentanyl, about 80 times stronger than morphine. Federal officials announced yesterday that they had worked with Mexico to close a lab across the border that might be the source of the fentanyl that has killed heroin users in Pennsylvania and seven other states.
John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said it was not clear whether the fentanyl was mixed with heroin at the lab in Mexico or after it entered the United States. Walters warned drug users that millions of deadly doses of fentanyl-laced heroin might still be on the streets. The mixture has caused at least 100 confirmed deaths from Philadelphia to Chicago in recent months. The heroin sells for $10 to $15 a packet. Users range from 16 to 56 years old, cross socioeconomic lines, and are white. Most are men.