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Heroin Scourge

The heroin overdose death of a Fargo musician, Cody Conner last summer came as a shock. This month, charges were levied against a fifth defendant in the case. Four others have already been charged and three of those have pleaded guilty.

The incident made news when it was revealed that heroin users were going to Minneapolis to get and use heroin. While police didn’t specify, the death may have been linked to other heroin overdoses in Minnesota, including five over one weekend in Duluth. In that case, one man also died, a 60 year-old.

One other bit of information leads to a kind of “connect the dots” speculation. A month before the Duluth overdoses, and two months before Conner died, police arrested 22 as part of a heroin distribution ring. The arrests centered on Twin Ports. The type of heroin seized is called “brown” and is less potent than some other types.

Police said, “Unlike prescription drugs, when you buy a gram of heroin or half gram of heroin, you don't know what you are getting. Drugs are cut down with different products to increase the volume so drug dealers make more money, obviously. Today, you might buy heroin that's 5 or 10 percent pure. That same dealer may come to you the next day and have something that is 30 or 40 percent pure. And if your system is used to processing 3 or 4 or 5 percent pure heroin and all of a sudden you throw in 30 or 50 percent, you're going to overdose because your body just can't handle that quantity."

So, the question may be whether a major arrest left addicts to find another supplier of the drug and the new product was of a higher strength, leading to a rash of overdoses and at least two deaths. The time delay can be explained by current supplies of the old type running out.

The idea is possible, but no one in authority has claimed this actually happened. What we can say that experimenting with heroin is very risky and for addicts, switching from one supply to another even more so.

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