Jennings County overdoses linked to heroin laced with fentanyl

(WISH Photo)

HAYDEN, Ind (WISH) — A total of ten people overdosed in Jennings County, four were teens and one died all within hours of each other Tuesday night, according to police.

Investigators believe the heroin was mixed with Fentanyl, a narcotic used to treat severe pain. Police said the overdoses likely came from the same batch of highly potent heroin and it could be connected to at least 20 overdoses that happened in Cincinnati, OH.

In the small town of Hayden is where police said half of those overdoses happened.

The Hayden Corner Store is the type of place where regulars come to grab something quick or to stay for awhile.

Shantell Campbell’s uncle owns the store and she is the manager, “We have good food. They like that. A lot of them come in for conversation. They just sit back and tell stories all day.”

And on Wednesday, there was only one story they cared to discuss; a rash of overdoses, “That’s what everyone is talking about today,” said Campbell.

Two of those overdoses happened right in the parking lot, according to police. Campbell had just left work, when she got the call.

“A woman came in and told her that she thought the guy out in the car was dead and to call 911. When I went out there and checked, he had a syringe on his lap and the driver in the vehicle was trying to get a response from him and nothing was happening,” she explained.

Campbell got back to the store just in time to witness deputies administer Narcan, to reverse the effects of heroin.

“He wasn’t moving whenever I got here. He was just laying there on the ground and I thought he was dead,” she said.

In Jackson County, authorities arrested 34-year-old Michael Purvis. He faces multiple charges of dealing a controlled substance.

The first overdose happened around 6:00 Tuesday night and they continued until 12:30 a.m. During that time, police said they had to bring in extra man power. Each person was given at least two doses of Narcan, and some as many as four.

Jennings County Sheriff Gary Driver said. “If normally you can do one or two and that works and this time you had to do two or four, it sounds like there’s a problem.”

It’s a problem locals would like to see go away soon.

“It’s sad that they feel it’s their only option; die or get high,” said Campbell.

From here, authorities said they need to determine what, if any charges, will be filed. Next they will send the heroin to the Indiana State Police. ISP will then test it to determine exactly what is in it.

Police have not identified the woman who died, but did say she was 52-years-old. The remaining nine have been released from the hospital and authorities arrested four.

23-year old Jarvie Williams III of North Vernon faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of a syringe, possession of paraphernalia and a warrant through Jennings County.

Damon Clark, 25, of North Vernon faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia.

18-year old Caleb Barton of North Vernon faces one charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Devin Fear, 21 of North Vernon, faces one charge of  possession of a controlled substance.

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