Heroin users asked to surrender drug to police

(Update)Potentially fatal drugs are being blamed for a recent increase in drug related overdoses and deaths in Hamilton. And so far, police don’t know what the dangerous substance is — or where it’s from. Tonight, Hamilton Public Health is cautioning intravenous users about the drugs, and is trying to get overdose prevention kits into the hands of those who need them.Today, we spoke with the family of one of three people in Hamilton who have died of a suspected heroin overdose. They say they hope this latest effort by police and public health can help prevent further deaths.Darlene Bearfoot is Pauline Bearfoot’s mother: “There’s a lot of people in the world don’t care. Give drugs to whoever and they don’t care. She was only 23-years old and now I’m never going to be able to hold her.”Just one day after laying her to rest, Darlene Bearfoot clutches a photo of her daughter Pauline. She died August 8th of a possible heroin overdose.Darlene: “I just want people to know how beautiful she was and how happy she made everybody.”While they knew she was a user, Pauline’s death still came as a shock to her aunt and namesake Pauline Bearfoot and Uncle Herb DucePauline: “I heard that they tried to revive her a couple of times and the last time they just couldn’t bring her back. My mom died the same day last year so it was really, really hard.”Herb Duce: “Whoever is out there doing this stuff, selling this stuff to these kids, they should stop. Life’s too short, you know.”It’s a recent spike in overdoses and deaths that has prompted Hamilton police to issue a warning to intravenous drug users about potentially fatal drugs being sold on the street.Hamilton police Deputy Chief Eric Girt: “Both the police and the coroner are unable to determine the exact origin, content and specific mixture of drugs.”While police are asking people with illicit drugs to turn them over for testing, Hamilton Public Health is reminding anyone who uses heroin or other opioids of the ways to reduce risk.Dr Elizabeth Richardson: “Use small amounts first, use test doses and pace yourself. Never use alone. Use with someone you trust and make sure the people you’re with know you’ve been using.”Since May, Hamilton Public Health has distributed 50 free overdose prevention kits in the city, and are urging anyone who uses heroin or other opioids to get one.“This is the first time we’ve have an increase in overdoses too see. So, we’re really hoping this will help get those kits out there.”Pauline Bearfoot’s mother also wants the program to work.Darlene: “I hope so before this happens to another child because that’s the worst thing that can happen. You’re not supposed to lose your children before you.”Police have not confirmed the number of deaths that have occurred over the last month due to drug use. They’re waiting on the office of the coroner’s investigating and toxicology results.Additional video: News Now coverage of the Hamilton Police news conference:

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