Michigan authorities say a particularly toxic heroin mix known by some on the street as “black shadow” appears to be circulating, causing a rise in overdoses and at least one death this month. At the 99-bed St. John Providence Brighton Center for Recovery, more clients are coming in these days addicted to opiates, including heroin. “Our 18- to 25-year population has exploded” in recent years, said outreach and referral specialist Scott Masi. Calls to the Poison Control Center in one county have nearly doubled this year, with 27 heroin-related calls in May compared with 15 in 2012.
Poison-control officials have alerted doctors to report heroin-related hospitalizations due to the rise in overdoses. “This stuff is rapid and it's lethal,” said Dr. Cythian Aaron of the Michigan Poison Control Center at the Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. The rise in the lethal drug comes eight years after fentanyl, a synthetic drug described as heroin times 50, became a national epidemic. It killed more than 1,000 across the U.S. and more than 300 in metro Detroit.