Updated at 10:46 a.m.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
The (Longview) Daily News reports seven people have died from extremely pure heroin in just five days in Cowlitz County.
Two of the deaths occurred Friday in Kelso and Longview, according to news reporter Leslie Slape.
Cowlitz County Coroner Tim Davidson urged people to immediately call 911 for aid if a family member, loved one or friend uses heroin or any drug and becomes unresponsive, according to the Daily News.
Davidson said the overdose deaths have been instantaneous – respiratory failure – with needles found in the arms or in the hands of the victims.
Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod indicated this morning there have been no known heroin overdoses in Lewis County at all this year. The Thurston County coroner said he’s had none there.
According to Davidson, the problem is that for whatever reason the uncut, or undiluted, drug has gotten onto the streets and those using it unknowingly inject a lethal dose.
A 49-year-old man was found in the restroom at Fred Meyer in Longview on Friday night, but his partner, a woman who used the same drug, was taken to the hospital and survived, according to Davidson.
All the deaths have occurred in and around Kelso and Longview, but Davidson is hearing from his pathologist of others in regions to the south of Cowlitz County.
The dead include four men and three women from their early 20s to their late 50s from “all different walks of life,” Davidson said.
“It’s not isolated to one little group,” he said.
And other individuals locally have overdosed and been saved in the past few days, he said.
Yesterday as he was monitoring the radio he was still hearing of more overdose aid calls, he said, although the most recent death was Monday night.
On Tuesday night, the body of a 39-year-old Kelso man was found dumped on the west side of Longview by his buddies who got scared, Davidson said.
Cowlitz County might normally see about two heroin overdose deaths per month, he said.
Law enforcement is investigating to see if they can figure out where it’s coming from, but his biggest concern is public safety, Davidson said.
Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers anonymously, he said.
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