Police on the Lookout for Tainted Narcotics

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HAZLETON -- Police in Hazleton are on the lookout for tainted narcotics they believe resulted in three overdoses--one fatal--in both Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties.

Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea said the overdoses happened on Monday.  A woman died because of tainted heroin in McAdoo and a mother and daughter overdosed on cocaine in a home along Carson Street in Hazelton.  The mother in her fifties and daughter in her thirties survived, but the daughter is in grave condition.

"There are bad illegal drugs," said Chief DeAndrea.  "When I say 'bad' I mean that there is some kind of toxic something, some poison, something in there that is causing people to die."

A drug counselor in Hazleton says he is hopeful the added risk of tainted drugs will push addicts to seek help.

"Their brains and their bodies are craving the drugs," said Ed Pane, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Serento Gardens Alcohol and Drug Services.  "We do have the means to help them get into treatment to detox them and get on with our lives.  Now that we know there's tainted material out there, it's more critical than ever."

Police officers believe the tainted cocaine and heroin may have been intentionally or mistakenly contaminated during the packaging process at the local level.

"There are no safety caps, no seals," explained Chief DeAndrea.  "There isn't an address to write the company if you think something was wrong.  You are at the hands and the mercy of not only the person who sells you it, but anyone else who touched it."