More details about dangerous new heroin reaching the Portland market

Last week, my colleague Ryan McLaughlin wrote about how Portland police are becoming concerned about dangerous new types of heroin hitting the market in Maine’s largest city. The new heroin was being blamed for a string of four non-fatal overdoses in four days, and 11 over the previous two months.

These individually wrapped heroin packets were allegedly confiscated by Saco police last month. (Maine State Police photo)

Two other men are believed to have been killed by the drug over that same two-month span, Assistant Chief Vern Malloch told Ryan, and police are now searching for the source of the new strands.

Today, the city released more details about the troublesome heroin and, I suspect as a last resort, tips for how to use the potentially fatal drug as safely as one can use a potentially fatal drug.

Here’s an excerpt from the city announcement:

The Portland Exchange and The Overdose Prevention Project, programs of the City of Portland’s Health and Human Services Department, Public Health Division, have received numerous tips concerning types of heroin circulating through the Portland area that put the user at a much higher risk of overdose. One is dangerously strong un-cut black tar heroin from New York City that is chunky, sticky and dark brown. Another is an equally strong type of heroin often referred to as “China White.” It appears that this type of heroin has been cut with prescription drugs resulting in a combination that can be deadly.

For those who are inclined to use the drug regardless of the risk, the city added these tips in an effort to minimize the potential damage:

  • Do not use alone
  • Do a tester shot
  • Avoid mixing drugs
  • Always use the recovery position. All forms of the recovery position share basic principles. The mouth is downward so that fluid can drain from the patient’s airway, the chin is up, and arms and legs are locked to stabilize the position of the individual.
  • Dial 911 and save a life
Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.