Multiple Drug Overdoses in Vermont

On July 4, 2017 Brattleboro police, fire, and Rescue, Inc responded to seven opiate overdoses. Naloxone was administered to several of the patients, in some cases several doses. The overdoses occurred in a variety of locations around town, including a downtown alley, residences, hotel rooms, and a gas station bathroom. Two subjects remain in critical condition and were flown to other regional hospitals. As of this release there were no fatalities.

Similarities exist between the overdoses, including identifying markers or “stamps” on heroin bags. It is the practice of BPD not to publicly release these identifiers due to the resulting drug-seeking behavior that often occurs with opiate addicts.

In past efforts to publicly identify the particular batch of drugs so that users can avoid it, we have actually found the opposite effect. Users hoping for a particularly effective high will often seek out the particular stamped bag. Therefore, for public health and safety reasons we do not release it. That said, BPD is working aggressively with the Vermont Intelligence Center, forensic lab, and the Drug Task Force to share information and control access to these particular drugs.

Yesterday’s events bring into stark relief the significant opiate epidemic that our community struggles with. While many of us celebrated our nation’s independence with friends, barbecues and fireworks, many addicts and their loved ones continued to struggle with dependence on heroin and other drugs. BPD continues to encourage the community to help us address this public health problem through treatment, dialogue, and community support.

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