BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — With 10 overdoses in just 24 hours, Bloomington police have been busy trying to keep drug users alive.
The first happened in a gas station bathroom Wednesday afternoon; nine others followed early Thursday morning into the evening. Police say six were from spice, and four were from heroin.
Spice was originally created to be a synthetic marijuana with the same effects as cannabis. However, over time, it’s been tweaked and changed. Now, a variety of chemicals have been added, oftentimes unknown chemicals, according to Bloomington Police Captain Steven Kellams. Kellams says rat poison, for example, is a common ingredient in spice. He says there is no telling how users will respond. In these cases, users got more than what they bargained for.
Bloomington is quiet. Students are home for the summer. Friday was a rainy day, but a perfect day for Teresa Johnson to get out with her granddaughter.
“We just came back from Wonder Lab. Now we have to go to Target and do a little shopping. Then, if she’s good, she gets to watch something on TV, or we’ll play a game,” she said.
But not everything is fun and games. Johnson, who is visiting from Illinois, saw something troubling on Kirkwood Avenue, downtown, on Thursday: “Yesterday I was very concerned about the gentleman. I thought possibly that he was on drugs.”
Unfortunately, Johnson could be right. On Thursday, police responded to two spice overdoses on Kirkwood and one other downtown. The rest happened all over Bloomington, involving men and women of all ages; most, however, have a history of drug addiction Kellams said.
“I hate to say they were quite common, but that’s really what they were. In all of them, we dealt with them on the scene, brought the ambulance personnel and transported them,” said Captain Kellams.
One woman wasn’t so fortunate. On Rockport Road, on the city’s south west side, she died of an overdose. Police believe she had taken heroin. Investigators are awaiting toxicology test results. When they arrived on the scene, she was already dead.
“Even though people suffering from addictions, we want to let them know that they need to be very, very careful about these,” Kellams warned. He continued, “Drugs kill. We’ve run into that. We need to try to help curb some of these addiction problems and issues that we’re having.”
But until that happens, Johnson will keep a close eye on her granddaughter, “It’s a huge concern. She’s just 5. So, she’s not going to be left anywhere without grandma or mother or dad picking her up.”
This isn’t the first time Bloomington has seen a rash of overdoses. Earlier this year, Kellams said they responded to nine overdoses in 24 hours.
Kellams says he believes the most recent string of overdose incidents are connected. Investigators believe the same dealer, or group of dealers, is responsible.
Police want to get that person off the street right away, before more overdoses happen.
If you have any information that could help in this investigation, call the Bloomington Police Department at 812-339-4477.