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LPD urges safety as city sees an increase in heroin overdoses



LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Lawrence Police Department is urging residents to be safe as the city experiences a rise in heroin and fentanyl overdoses.

The Lawrence Police Department says the city has seen an increase in the number of drug overdoses and unfortunately, some of those have resulted in death.

“We suspect that certain batches of heroin currently circulating in Lawrence have increased and sometimes include deadly amounts of fentanyl,” said LKPD Investigations Lt. Amy Rhoads.

According to LPD, Heroin is an opioid drug that is made from morphine, which is a natural substance extracted from poppy plants grown mostly in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico and Colombia. It said heroin can be a white or brown powder or a sticky black substance known as black tar heroin.

LPD said by itself, heroin can cause overdoses and be fatal in certain amounts. It said the heroin seen predominately in the U.S. contains fentanyl, which is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic like morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent.

According to the Police Department, fentanyl is usually added to heroin along its travels to increase amounts and potency. It said adding fentanyl is not an exact science and the effects on those that use it can be unpredictable.

“The user generally doesn’t know if or how much fentanyl was added to the heroin,” Rhoads said. “Yesterday, your dose may have been fine, but the same amount from a different batch could end up being deadly. You just don’t know, and you’re rolling the dice.”

LPD said fentanyl is lethal in small quantities and when mixed with heroin is difficult to see with the naked eye.

“About three to five grains of table salt, that’s the potential fatal dose for an adult,” said an agent with the DEA.

LPD said it urges those that would use drugs to do so as safely as possible and that they have a support system in place. It said DCCCA has resources available including prevention toolkits, counselors and a free Naloxone program.

“You don’t need us to tell you that drugs like heroin are bad, and we’re not trying to scare people with this information,” said Interim Chief of Police Adam Heffley adding, “and we’re certainly not condoning illegal drug use. What we’re trying to do is save someone’s life.”