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Potent Heroin Batch Sends Dozens To Hospitals

May 10, 1996

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Nearly 100 drug users were hospitalized overnight after ingesting a lethal form of heroin known as ``homicide,″ flooding emergency rooms with thrashing, violent patients, authorities said.

The emergency Thursday night forced Parkview Hospital in north Philadelphia to close its emergency room from for nearly four hours so that doctors could handle the influx, spokesman Ed Leszczynski said.

``They weren’t in pain, but they were thrashing out and becoming violent,″ Dr. Stanley Kolman said. ``It took a minimum of four people to control each one of these patients. That’s from a girl who weighed 115 pounds to someone who weighed up to 200 pounds.″

Eleven of 12 patients at Parkview were in critical condition this morning _ including a woman on a ventilator, Kolman said. At least 13 others were treated at Episcopal Hospital and more than 60 were cared for in at least eight other city hospitals.

``They’re conscious. They’re sick. They are very uncontrollable,″ Denise Robinson, a nursing supervisor at Episcopal Hospital, said Thursday night.

It was the second wave of heroin-related illnesses since February, when more than 40 people in north Philadelphia had adverse reactions to an adulterated form of heroin known as ``Polo″ and ``Death Shot.″

Later that month, four people died of apparent heroin overdoses and another died in a suburban county after using heroin bought in the city. Police said they believed the deaths were unrelated.

The latest batch is known on the street as ``Super Buick″ and ``Homicide.″

The emergency began around 4:30 p.m., when police and fire-rescue crews began taking sickened heroin users off the streets and out of vacant drug houses.

``We don’t know how much is out there,″ Capt. Arthur Woody, of the Police Department’s Narcotics Field Division, said Thursday night.

As many as 50 additional police officers were stationed at the neighborhood where the drug was being sold, and one person was taken into custody, Woody said. No charges had been filed.

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