Investigators: Heroin deaths linked to "purer" drug

by: Tom Regan Updated:


FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 News has obtained records that show three overdose deaths in Forsyth County are linked to a powerful form of heroin that investigators believe originated in Atlanta.

The youngest death occurred on Aug. 15 and involved a 16-year-old high school student who was found deceased in his Cumming home. The other deaths included a 2-year-old man, and a 27-year-old man.

"It's surprising to me, but it's even more surprising to some of the parents and the public when they hear that this type of drug is here in Forsyth County," said Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper.

Piper said drug dealers from Atlanta are traveling to Forsyth County to sell a stronger, less diluted form of heroin to young users who are reluctant to drive to the inner city to buy drugs.

He said users in Forsyth may be accustomed to taking heroin that has been "stepped on" or cut with filler ingredients.

"So if someone sells them the more pure form of heroin, and they take the same amount, that can cause death. It shuts down the respiratory system," Piper said.

Two weeks ago, drug agents arrested three people at a motel in Cumming on heroin drug charges.

"Drug dealers from Atlanta who have very good heroin will come to the suburbs, such as Forsyth, and set up shop in our motels. Because the heroin is the best, young men and women will flock to them to try to get the best high they can," said Forsyth DFC Doug Rainwater.

Investigators said all those who died were using the drug at their homes.

"They'll drive to the motel, purchase the heroin, take it to their bedrooms away from their parents and that's where they will use the syringe and shoot themselves up," said Rainwater.

Authorities said the three individuals arrested in the motel off Highway 20 have not been linked to the heroin overdose deaths.

The sheriff said he plans to step up enforcement to shut down heroin dealers.

"There are some very diligent officers working narcotics and we are going to make Forsyth County very uncomfortable for anyone who wants to sell narcotics, especially to our children," Piper said.

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