Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams said on Tuesday afternoon that Berks County has experienced more than 100 overdose and one death from a “bad batch of drugs” since Saturday. He said he was not completely sure if it was included.
“These numbers are shocking and astronomical,” Adams said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Obviously, a lot of drugs have landed in our community. We are taking steps to eradicate this problem.”
Adams A public health alert was issued on Monday triggered by the weekend, and about 70 overdose patients were seen. He was treated at a local hospital after taking a powerful drug cocktail containing a tranquilizer used by veterinarians to calm horses. By noon on Tuesday, overdose had increased to 101, according to Adams.
Adams was joined by Dr. William Santoro, Head of Addiction Medicine at Tower Health, and Stanley J. Papademetriou, Executive Secretary of the Berks County Service Center’s Council for Chemical Abuse, recognizing the importance of the crisis.
Authorities now believe that there is another unknown substance in drug cocktails that is causing overdose. They say it is resistant to Nalcan, a drug used to reverse opioid overdose.
“Narukan does not reverse the effects of whatever this toxin is,” Santoro said. “I see this as an addiction rather than an overdose.”
According to Santoro, multiple samples have been sent to specialized laboratories to find out what the drug contains.
People taking medication experience a variety of symptoms.
According to Santoro, patients get tired and fall asleep for long periods of time when they use one bag. When they woke up, he said they were confused, had walking problems, were weak, had a slow heart rate, and had elevated blood pressure.
“This is inconsistent with the symptoms expected of xylazine, a horse tranquilizer,” said Santoro.
He added that some patients complained of hallucinations and shortness of breath. Symptoms last for days, not hours or minutes.
“Some of the patients hospitalized on Saturday are still experiencing symptoms today,” said the doctor.
He added that two-thirds of patients who showed symptoms of overdose had to be hospitalized.
Papademetriou said his organization offered Narcan not to ask questions and encouraged people to arm with it.
“The crisis of overdose in Berks County is intensifying,” he said. “What we saw last weekend, and what we are learning about last weekend, was something no one could have imagined or expected.”
Since Sunday, reading police and district attorney officials have executed three search warrants in the city.
Two of the three attacks recovered 500 blue bags containing heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs, Adams said.
“The blue bag is like a bag that contains all the substances that cause overdose in our community,” Adams said.
Authorities believe that the blue bag found contains heroin, fentanyl, lidocaine, xylazine, and clonidine.
Many of the compounds, according to Adam, are typical of what investigators found on street drugs.
The health crisis began on Saturday at 1:00 pm and the Adams office was informed that there was a large overdose at Tower Health.
Law enforcement agencies took immediate action, and by Sunday afternoon, Reading Police and Berks County Detectives had executed a search warrant at 200 blocks on North Ace Street.
Officers seized 200 suspected heroin / fentanyl bags, 10.5 grams suspected bulk cocaine, 141 suspected cocaine packaged for street sales, and drug packaging materials.
During the search warrant, Jason Cuadrado, 38, and Dimitri Ortega, 28, were detained and charged with felony drugs.
Law enforcement officers attacked a house in 100 blocks of Walnut Street in Reading on Tuesday and arrested three people.
Sixto Cruz, 62; Margos Hernandez, 38; George L. Cruz, 53, was arrested and charged with possession, delivery of heroin and cocaine, and possession for criminal plots.
- Approximately 250 blue glassine packets, each containing suspicious heroin / fentanyl.
- About 100 packets of crack cocaine.
- One fully loaded sword-off shotgun.
- Packaging material.
- Two-way handheld portable radio.
- Over $ 16,000 in cash, believed to be income from previous sales of regulated substances.
“We have shut down some sources of these drugs,” Adams said. “But we believe there are other sources and they may still be active.”
Berks County is working on 101 overdose from a mysterious drug cocktail
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