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3 overdoses in one day spark fears of 'contaminated' heroin in Ramsey Co.

At least two of the victims were saved by Narcan.

Authorities in Ramsey County are alerting the public about a potentially bad batch of heroin following three overdoses in the area on Saturday. 

A press release from the sheriff's office says all three overdoses occurred within "less than six hours" of each other in the northern suburbs. 

Two happened in Shoreview, and the third happened in White Bear Township. 

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office is concerned there may be a batch of heroin which contains even more dangerous substances and chemicals," Jeff Ramacher, Undersheriff of Public Safety Services, said in the release. 

“While all illegal drugs are dangerous and pose the risk of serious injury or death to the user, the fact these many overdoses occurred so close together is especially alarming and a sign that these drugs may be contaminated.”

The sheriff's office says all three victims received Narcan, or naloxone, a nasal spray that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose

Two of the individuals are said to have been "saved" by the treatment, while the third is "currently being evaluated."

Tainted batches of heroin are not unusual; last year in St. Paul, five people suffered overdoses in the space of 36 hours, with police blaming the incidents on heroin laced with other chemicals to make them "even more hazardous and deadly."

According to American Addiction Centers, heroin is often cut with a wide variety of substances, ranging from baking soda and talcum powder to more dangerous ingredients like laundry detergent, crushed over-the-counter painkillers, and rat poison. 

The organization also says that "heroin can be anywhere between 3 and 99 percent pure, making the effects of any batch highly unpredictable."

Another issue is heroin cut with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid said to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. 

According to the CDC, black-market fentanyl "is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects."

Saturday's overdoses in Ramsey County are under investigation. 

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