Delray Police: In 24 hours, 3 dead after heroin overdoses

In a period of 24 hours, three people died of heroin overdoses in Delray Beach, according to city police Friday.
Details were not immediately available on the victims who died Thursday and Friday.
Police acknowledged there has been an increase in overdoses in recent months. From January through May there were 26 heroin overdoses, four of which were fatal. Updated figures were not available from police Friday afternoon.
It is not known if the three had the same batch of heroin or if it was laced with fentanyl, a powerful painkiller. Officers asked those who witness overdoses to call authorities and not clean up the crime scenes.
“No arrests will be made of witnesses on scene where drugs or paraphernalia are located,” police said in a written statement. “This evidence is crucial in understanding why the death occurred.”
Suzanne Spencer, the executive director of the Delray Beach Drug Task Force, said it isn’t easy to get across to users and those who may become users the dangers behind a drug like heroin.
“You can’t just use the fear factor anymore,” she said.
Between discussions with city stakeholders, early education in schools and finding new ways to get the message out, the task force is trying to create immediate and long-term action.
Spencer said there are promising developments such as the state law that was passed this summer allowing first responders to carry around what’s being called the “antivenin” for heroin overdoses, Narcan, but said that alone will not stop the problem.
“You know, when is it (the number of overdoses) too much?” she said. “For us, even one is too much.”
This increase in heroin use is not limited to Delray Beach. In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new statistics that showed heroin use across the country has widely increased in the past decade.
“Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013,” according to the CDC.
The CDC said heroin users between the ages of 18 and 25 doubled in the past decade.
In May, Delray Chief Jeff Goldman said whether it is a bad batch of heroin going around or just an increase in users, it’s the police and communities who must stop the flow.
“We need to stop the bleeding, in a sense,” he said. “We have to get under control where this is coming from because (users) won’t stop. They won’t help themselves.”