Alaska News

‘Lethal batch’ of heroin has caused at least 6 deaths in Mat-Su, according to Alaska State Troopers

Hypodermic needle hypodermic needle and syringe opioid crisis

PALMER — A “lethal batch” of heroin circulating now in Mat-Su has caused at least six deaths and 17 overdose emergencies, Alaska State Troopers say.

Troopers, along with Palmer and Wasilla police departments, responded to several suspected overdoses just this week, troopers said in an online dispatch. “Law enforcement believe that a lethal batch of heroin is currently circulating in the Mat-Su, causing the rise in overdose events.”

The deaths and emergencies — any overdose that required a 911 call for help or other request for assistance — were all within the last 30 days, according to troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel.

McDaniel said he couldn’t yet provide more information about the people who died as the presumed result of a heroin overdose.

“We generally wait for the final toxicology results to confirm cause of death, however due to the increase that law enforcement is seeing we wanted to alert the public to this fatal batch that is in circulation as soon as possible,” he said.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Service’s Project Hope provides naloxone free of charge. The drug can help reverse an overdose. The project also offers free fentanyl test strips that can detect the presence of the powerful synthetic opioid up to 50 times stronger than heroin that’s been linked to numerous drug deaths.

The batch at the center of the increase in deaths and overdoses is heroin, McDaniel said.

Troopers say law enforcement officers in Southcentral are “aggressively investigating” the source of the dangerous heroin. They ask anyone with information about drug trafficking in the Mat-Su area to call troopers at 907-352-5401 or submit an anonymous tip on the AKtips smartphone app or online at: tip411.com/alerts/81954

Zaz Hollander

Longtime ADN reporter Zaz Hollander is based in the Mat-Su and is currently focused on coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska. She also covers the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at zhollander@adn.com.

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