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Two Drug Addiction Counsellors Die From Opioid Overdose At Halfway House

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Two Drug Addiction Counsellors Die From Opioid Overdose At Halfway House

Two drug counsellors have been found dead after overdosing at a US addiction centre.

Emergency services were called to the Freedom Ridge Recovery Lodge, in Philadelphia, after residents found two counsellors unresponsive, reports the BBC.

A resident tried injecting one of the staff members with naloxone, a medication that blocks the effects of opioids, but it didn't work, and they died at the scene.

One was 33 years old and the other was celebrating his 25th birthday.

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The pair lived and worked on-site with six recovering addicts.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan has released a statement saying: "If anybody is wondering how bad the opioid epidemic has become, this case is a frightening example.

"The staff members in charge of supervising recovering addicts succumbed to their own addiction and died of opioid overdoses. Opioids are a monster that is slowly consuming our population."

Nightstand of counsellors who died
Nightstand of counsellors who died
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Credit: Chester County District Attorney's Office

Vince Brown, Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol, stated: "These deaths are tragic examples of the impact that the heroin and opioid epidemic continues to have on our communities.

"Nobody is immune. But it is important to know that help is available and that recovery, from any addiction, is possible and happens every day."

The counsellors were responsible for organising the daily duties of the residents and keeping medication under tight security.

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It's believed the drugs the two overdosed on were a mix of heroin and fentanyl. The substances were found inside bags marked with a Superman logo and a 'danger' logo.

There have been several warnings issued in North America and more recently, the UK, over the rise of heroin being mixed with fentanyl.

More than 50,000 people in the US died from drug overdoses in 2015. Eighteen percent of those ODs were related to fentanyl - a 73 percent increase on the numbers from 2014. It's also wreaking havoc in Canada - where 16 people died in one night in Vancouver in 2015.

Medical examiners ruled last year that pop icon Prince died from a fatal fentanyl overdose. They said the drug was found along with other pills recovered from his home.

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Mixing heroin
Mixing heroin

Credit: PA

The UK's National Crime Agency's head of Drugs Threat and Intelligence, Tony Saggers, said in a statement: "This class A synthetic drug is upwards of 100 times more potent than street heroin, with some analogues many more times potent again.

"Heroin users need to be aware that the amount of fentanyl in a £10 bag of heroin need only be 1/50th of the total quantity (about 2 milligrams) to be a lethal dose."

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Earlier this month, there was an additional warning from UK police after several overdoses were recorded in South Yorkshire. It's understood the seven people died from taking heroin which was mixed with fentanyl and carfentanil.

Carfentanil is roughly 10,000 times stronger than morphine and is sometimes used as an anaesthetic for large animals such as elephants.

Last year, Canadian authorities intercepted just one kilogram of the substance which was disguised as printer toner cartridges. That would be enough carfentanil to wipe out the entire population of the country.

Source: BBC

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Heroin, Drugs

Stewart Perrie
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