Powerful painkiller found in heroin linked to overdoses

Written by The Associated Press | Aug 27, 2015 9:15 AM

(Washington) -- Federal authorities have linked a powerful synthetic painkiller to heroin believed to be responsible for four recent overdose deaths in southwestern Pennsylvania. 

Three of the deaths occurred the weekend of August 14-16 in Washington County, and a fourth has since been reported.

More than a dozen other overdose victims have been hospitalized. 

Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone says the drugs sold in bags stamped "made in Colombia'' were found to contain fentanyl. 

The drug is so potent that it can be deadly when mixed with heroin because users don't realize what they've injected. 

Three of the people who survived the overdoses were revived by police who administered naloxone, which can prevent fatalities. 

Monessen, a city in neighboring Westmoreland County, has also been experiencing a rash of overdoses.

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