Bad batch of heroin leading to spike in overdoses, Madison police chief says

February 16, 2019

A particularly toxic batch of heroin being used by Madison addicts is believed to be the cause of a recent jump in the number of overdoses, with one week’s calls equaling all of the overdose calls in January.

Police Chief Mike Koval said in his blog Friday the toxic heroin seems to be in circulation now in the greater Madison area.

“This has led to an early month spike,” Koval said.

In the first six days of February, police responded to one heroin overdose in the city. In the eight days from Feb. 7 to Thursday, police responded to 11 overdoses, two of them fatal.

“Loved ones of people suffering from addiction are encouraged to monitor them and assist them in avoiding situations that could result in an overdose,” Koval said.

“In situations when people cannot avoid using, it is encouraged they do not use alone,” the chief said.

The early overdose information for February comes in the monthly report for January, which showed a decrease in the number of overdoses compared to January 2018 but an increase in deaths.

There were 11 known heroin overdoses in January, compared to 16 in January 2018.

Three of the overdoses were fatalities, compared to one in January 2018.

The demographics of the heroin overdoses in January show 82 percent were male, 18 percent female, 73 percent white, 18 percent Hispanic, Asian or Native American, and 9 percent black.

Two overdose deaths were male, two white and one Asian.

Officers referred seven people to the Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative in January.