Report: Tainted Heroin Circulating in Connecticut

Health officials say a batch of the narcotic containing a drug normally used in veterinarian medicine has led to an uptick in heart-attack like symptoms.

The apparent circulation of tainted heroin in Connecticut has prompted the state's poison control center to issue a warning to emergency personnel.

Over the past three days, WFSB reports, multiple patients have been treated for heart-attack like symptoms brought on by clenbuterol-adulterated heroin.

The Connecticut Poison Control Center told WFSB that clenbuterol-adulterated heroin "is a long-acting drug that is commonly used in veterinary medicine." 

This isn't the first time health officials have warned of tainted heroin. According a report published by the National Center for Biotechnical Information, the East Coast experienced an outbreak of clenbuterol-adulterated heroin in 2008.

That report documented 34 cases in five states over a six-month period.

A few years earlier, in 2004, the Connecticut General Assembly received a report on the incidence of fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses in the state. Some of the statistics from that report include: 

Drug-Induced Mortality Trends, Connecticut Residents (1992-1998)
  • From 1992 to 1998, drug-induced mortality increased by almost 11% for Connecticut females and 4% for Connecticut males. 
  • Since 1992, drug-induced mortality rates have tended to be higher among Connecticut male residents than among males nationwide. In 1998, the drug-induced mortality rate was higher for Connecticut female residents than the comparable national rate. 
  • There was a small but statistically significant increase in the unintentional opiate overdose crude death rate from 1992 to 1998. 

Drug-Induced Mortality Trends, Connecticut Residents (1999 – 2002)

  • While numbers of drug-induced and unintentional opiate overdose deaths among Connecticut residents increased slightly from 1999 to 2002, there were not statistically significant increases in either the drug-induced or opiate overdose crude death rate from 1999 to 2002. 

Drug-Induced Deaths, Connecticut Resident Subgroup Differences (1996 – 1998) 
  • Males aged 20 to 49 accounted for about 64% of all drug-induced deaths.
  • White Connecticut residents accounted for 88% of all drug-induced deaths. 
  • Hispanic males had the highest age-adjusted drug-induced death and premature mortality rates of all racial and ethnic subgroups followed by black and white males. 
  • Opiates and related narcotics accounted for almost one-fourth of all drug-induced deaths.


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