Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jun 2006
Source: Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Times
Author: Linda Reilly, Times Correspondent
Bookmark: (Heroin)


UPPER DARBY -- The township faces a lethal-heroin epidemic, says the 
superintendent of the Upper Darby police. Heroin mixed with fentanyl 
has taken the life of a young Drexel Hill man and almost killed a 
township woman. The man, 19, was found unconscious in his house on 
Sunday May 28.He had no pulse and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman who overdosed, Virginia C. Blanken, 45, of the 7200 block 
of Merion Terrace, suffered cardiac arrest on May 24 and was revived 
by paramedics and arrested after being discharged from the hospital.

"In both cases the residue substances in packets found field-tested 
positive for cocaine," police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. 
"Both involved heroin packets stamped 'CRAZY' and contained traces of 
fentanyl," a potent synthetic painkiller.

"Drugs continue to be a major problem in the township. In our 
investigation we can't say yet where the source of the heroin is 
coming from but do know it's coming from Philadelphia," noting a 
total of seven heroin-related deaths have occurred in the township 
since March 11 and the overdose involving the woman who was 
resuscitated by paramedics responding to her apartment.

"Police found several blue packs of heroin envelopes with '' 
stamped in red when they responded to the Drexel Hill residence," 
Chitwood said, noting three other envelopes stamped 'CRAZY' 
containing suspected heroin powder were also found near the body. 
"They recovered a spoon," and other evidence indicative of drug use.

In Blanken's case police recovered a quantity of paraphernalia 
including 14 syringes, razor blade, three crack pipes, steel wool and 
numerous empty packets with the word 'CRAZY' stamped on them.

Blanken was arraigned on charges of violation of the Health and 
Safety Act for drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

"The epidemic is continuing," Chitwood said. "We have another dead 
and another who OD'd."

Last week the Delaware County Medical Examiner Dr. Fredric N. Hellman 
declared the drug related deaths in the area from heroin contaminated 
with fentanyl "a significant health issue."

The lethal heroin has been linked to several deaths in Philadelphia 
and South Jersey since mid-April sparking a federal investigation 
into the rash of fatal overdoses in at least seven states.

Chester and Upper Darby police arrested two major heroin-cocaine 
distributors in their communities. They seized quantities of cocaine, 
syringes, drug paraphernalia and packaging materials as evidence.
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