2 addiction counselors in halfway house die of opioid overdoses

Opioid drug packets, a syringe and other belongings were found by law enforcement personnel in an addiction counselor's bedroom at the Freedom Ridge Recovery Lodge, a suburban Philadelphia halfway house in West Brandywine Township, Pa. Two men working as addiction counselors at the halfway house died of opioid overdoses inside the facility and were found by residents on Sunday, authorities announced May 24, 2017. (Provided Photo/Chester County District Attorney's Office via AP)

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Two addiction counselors at a suburban Philadelphia halfway house died of opioid overdoses inside the facility on the same day, authorities said Wednesday.

“If anybody is wondering how bad the opioid epidemic has become, this case is a frightening example,” said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. “Opioids are a monster that is slowly consuming our population.”

Emergency responders were called to Freedom Ridge Recovery Lodge on Sunday afternoon after residents found the counselors unresponsive in separate bedrooms.

Residents tried to revive one of the counselors with naloxone but were unsuccessful and called 911, police said.

The men lived and worked at the home as on-site counselors with six male residents. The counselors’ duties included organizing daily activities for the residents and keeping medications under lock-and-key.

They died at the scene, and their identities haven’t been released.

A call seeking comment from the owner of the group home, located in a quiet residential area in West Brandywine, weren’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Many addiction counselors are former addicts themselves. It wasn’t immediately clear if that was the case for the two who died.

Baggies stamped with a Superman logo and “danger” logo were found in the counselors’ rooms and tested positive for heroin and fentanyl, officials said.

Hogan warned the public to stay away from baggies with those markings, saying they contain drugs “likely to kill anybody who uses them.”

Law enforcement officers weren’t even allowed to handle the drugs without special precautions “because of the extreme danger of death or injury,” Hogan said.

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