Pubdate: Thu, 18 Aug 2005
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2005 The New York Times Company
Author: Michael Wilson
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


At least four of the six victims of possible drug overdoses in Lower 
Manhattan appear to have used a combination of heroin and cocaine, 
the police said yesterday.

It remained unclear whether the drugs were tainted with a lethal 
ingredient, or if the potency was high enough to be deadly.

On Tuesday, the police and health department officials announced that 
at least six people had died, possibly from drug overdoses, in Lower 
Manhattan in a five-day period, and that tainted drugs might have 
been involved. There were no new cases added to the list yesterday.

The medical examiner's office is expected to release the results of 
toxicology tests on blood from the six victims as soon as tomorrow, 
the police said.

The six victims were two 18-year-old college students who were found 
unconscious on Friday in an apartment on East Houston Street, a 
24-year old hairdresser in the East Village, and three men who 
appeared to be homeless.

Evidence suggested that the two students, a man found dead in a 
portable toilet near Pier 54 on the West Side, and a man found dead 
at a storage center in SoHo, had all taken a combination of heroin 
and cocaine that is commonly called a speedball, the police said. The 
mixture can be injected, smoked or swallowed.

The evidence included drug residue, paraphernalia and urine taken 
from one of the students, who was at Cabrini Medical Center overnight 
before dying on Saturday.

The man found in the toilet appeared to have used a syringe to take 
the drugs and had a medical history that included one prior overdose, 
the police said.

The two students did not have any needle marks from drug use, the police said.

The police said they had not found any overdoses related to the six 
deaths in the area. 
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