Our Local Heroin Addiction
- Boalsburg group works to help those battling addiction
- 12 face charges in Blair Co. drug sweep
- 4 charged in alleged bath salts ring in Elk Co.
- 30 charged in Cambria Co. drug sweep
- Several arrested in Huntingdon Co. drug sweep
- Pennsylvania looks to curb painkiller abuse
- Task force to deal with heroin planned in Centre Co.
- Cambria Co. woman pleads guilty to drug possession
- Three people face charges in Cambria Co. drug bust
- Police investigating Blair Co. pharmacy robbery
- Battling prescription drug trafficking an ongoing effort
- AG Kane: Heroin problem in Johnstown is out of control
- Drug-related crimes causing prison population spike
- Jefferson Co. woman arrested, bond set at $5 million
- Officials: Heroin that caused 12 overdoses did not contain fentanyl
- 9 charged in Blair Co. drug sweep
- Authorities warn about batch of heroin linked to 8 overdoses
- Panel held at St. Francis focuses on emerging drug trends
- Heroin mixed with fentanyl is a deadly combination
- 12 heroin overdoses in 72 hours linked to same batch
- Police find large amount of heroin, fentanyl during bust
- Two arrested in Huntingdon heroin bust
- Police searching for man after two homes raided in Johnstown
- 2 arrested, $30K in heroin seized along turnpike in Somerset Co.
- Sage's Army talks heroin addiction to Somerset students
- 22 face charges in Blair Co. drug bust
- St. Francis University to hold panel to continue drug discussion
- Landlords get training to spot drug-dealing tenants
- Argument at Richland Twp. hotel leads police to drug bust
- Heroin: Our Town's Addiction
- 'Heroin: Our Town's Addiction' - A WJAC-TV special
- 'Heroin: Our Town's Addiction' - Part 2
- 7 kilos of raw heroin seized on PA Turnpike
- WEB EXTRA: "Dak's Song"
- Heroin: Our Town's Addiction – Drug Treatment Resources
- Heroin: A story of grief and hope
- 2 arrested for delivering heroin in Altoona
- Two arrested with heroin after Johnstown traffic stop
- Two arrested in State College area burglary spree
Heroin mixed with fentanyl is a deadly combination
by Justin Platek
Heroin users are able to achieve a stronger high when the drug is mixed with fentanyl, a narcotic used mostly to treat people with chronic pain.
Much stronger than morphine, fentanyl-laced heroin can be a deadly concoction.
"They can overdose and die with one bag," said Dr. David Battista, an addiction specialist at Twin Lakes Center in Somerset County.
Battista said it doesn't take much: a dose as small of a grain of salt can be fatal.
Many times, experts say, when addicts know a particular batch of heroin contains fentanyl, they'll seek out the dealer who's selling it.
Heroin is packaged in stamp bags. As the name suggests, they're little bags stamped with names like 7 of Hearts, Red Hot or Eminem.
Bags of heroin that have been known to contain fentanyl were stamped Bud Ice and Theraflu. Those batches killed 22 people in Western Pennsylvania earlier this year.
The problem is getting so bad, so out of control, that doctors are warning addicts to test their drugs. Battista said he suggests users inject themselves with a small amount of heroin to make sure it's not potent enough to kill them.
Battista is not an advocate for heroin, but knows there's a better shot of preventing another senseless death if he has these kinds of frank conversations.
"Overdosing and dying isn't something that's foremost in the mind," he said.