Pearl River County overdoses linked to heroin laced with Fentanyl

Pearl River County Coroner Derik Turnage said it is uncommon to see three overdoses in two days.
Pearl River County Coroner Derik Turnage said it is uncommon to see three overdoses in two days.(John Fitzhugh)
Updated: Dec. 30, 2019 at 8:06 PM CST
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PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - Three drug overdoses happening in two days in just before Christmas has shocked the Pearl River County community. Preliminary investigation linked the overdoses to heroin that likely contained fentanyl.

The first victim was found in his home by family members on December 21st. The next day, two more men were brought to the emergency room in a private car. Both died at the hospital.

“It’s very uncommon for us to have three overdose deaths within Pearl River County on the same weekend,” said Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage. “So that gives us questions as investigators as to why. What is the most common factor here? With today’s current drugs on the street, what we’re seeing... it’s most likely the heroin, and there’s a good possibility that fentanyl is involved.”

When used correctly, fentanyl is an effective pain management medication, but it can be fatal in very small doses.

“Heroin, a lot of times, we find is laced with Fentanyl, and of course, that combination is very deadly,” Turnage said.

“We’ve investigated cases here in Pearl River County, where a person injected heroin and died in the same position that they were sitting in when they injected it,” Turnage said during an interview. “And in those cases, we found that fentanyl was in the heroin.”

The three victims were all males in their late 20s early 30s. Turnage knew two of the three families involved. He said drug abuse can affect everybody and is not limited by socioeconomic standing.

“Every family knows somebody that suffers from an issue with addiction, and we just need to continue to support and try to help our community and lead people in the right direction,” he said.

In addition to the three overdoses in Pearl River County, another occurred in the same time frame in nearby Walthall County.

On Monday, Sheriff Kyle Breland said, while there is no confirmed link to fentanyl in that case, “any time there is a drug overdose, fentanyl is always mentioned".

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