Expert warns of tainted drugs after Litchfield overdoses

Posted: Updated:
LITCHFIELD -

Opioids more potent than heroin may have played a role in four suspected heroin overdose deaths that happened within the last nine days in Litchfield County, an expert says.

State police say they found what appeared to be heroin paraphernalia at the scene of each fatality. 

Amy Sedgwick, the director of clinical operations at Mountainside Treatment Center, says altered, laced or tainted drugs might be to blame.

Although investigators say they have not yet determined whether the drugs were contaminated with other substances, Sedgwick says it's growing more common.

"We're seeing that the composition of heroin today is much different than it was years ago," Sedgwick says. "Heroin today is laced with or replaced with fentanyl or carfentanyl, and they're lethal in minute amounts."

Police are urging residents to look out for and report potential overdose symptoms. They include slow or stopped breathing, pinpoint pupils and blue skin, lips or fingernails.

Maria Coutant-Skinner is the executive director of the McCall Center for Behavioral Health in Torrington. She's also co-chair of the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force, a grassroots group of volunteers aimed at countering the opioid epidemic. 

She says it's important to reach out to addicts to help them because only about one in 10 people who could benefit from treatment actually access it.

  • Connecticut SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Your 2018 Connecticut Halloween Costumes

    Your 2018 Connecticut Halloween Costumes

    Monday, October 22 2018 10:39 AM EDT2018-10-22 14:39:46 GMT

    Will you be spooky or scary? Or maybe playful or funny! Whatever your Halloween costumes are this year, News 12 wants to see them!

    Will you be spooky or scary? Or maybe playful or funny! Whatever your Halloween costumes are this year, News 12 wants to see them!

  • Your 2018 Connecticut Fall Fun Photos

    Your 2018 Connecticut Fall Fun Photos

    Wednesday, September 5 2018 2:08 PM EDT2018-09-05 18:08:16 GMT
    Send us your Fall Fun Pics!Send us your Fall Fun Pics!
    Send us your Fall Fun Pics!Send us your Fall Fun Pics!

    Is fall your favorite season? Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Connecticut want to see your Fall Fun pics! Send them via Twitter or Instagram with the #CTFallFun and they might end up on air or on News12.com.

    Is fall your favorite season? Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Connecticut want to see your Fall Fun pics! Send them via Twitter or Instagram with the #CTFallFun and they might end up on air or on News12.com.

  • Food Truck Friday Photos

    Food Truck Friday Photos

    Get the lowdown on food trucks around Connecticut!Get the lowdown on food trucks around Connecticut!
    Get the lowdown on food trucks around Connecticut!Get the lowdown on food trucks around Connecticut!
    Check out these photos of tasty dishes News 12 tried on Food Truck Friday!
    Check out these photos of tasty dishes News 12 tried on Food Truck Friday!
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."